NBA 2021-22 Southwest Division Season Preview

NBA 2021-22 Southwest Division Season Preview

There is one more division to preview in the NBA at TheSportsGeek. We’ve covered five divisions up to this point and only have the Southwest Division in the West to get to. If you are looking for our other previews in the NBA then check out our list below. The Southwest Division may not be the most exciting in basketball, but there is obviously talent to be had at the top.

NBA Previews:

The Dallas Mavericks are going in as hefty favorites to win the Southwest. This was to be expected. There are no surprises in this division. It looks like a one-team race with the Mavericks leading the field. Are the Memphis Grizzlies or New Orleans Pelicans going to give the Mavericks any problems? I doubt it. But the Mavericks are heavily dependent on one player.

It’s critical that Luka Doncic stays healthy. That’s what it comes down to for the Mavericks. He’s a special player that could get a big look for the MVP award in 2021-22. Dallas won by four games over the Grizzlies last year with a record of 42-30. 42 wins only would have been good for a tie in 3rd in the Pacific and Northwest. Doncic will need help to get this team above and beyond. Head below for our free NBA Southwest Division preview for the 2021-22 season.

Dallas Mavericks

Notable Additions:

  • Reggie Bullock
  • Moses Brown
  • Sterling Brown

Notable Departures:

  • J.J. Reddick
  • Josh Richardson

The Dallas Mavericks are always going to have a chance of going far with Luka Doncic on their roster. The Mavericks are a signing away from being a really good team. They’re good with Doncic, but the Mavs are going to need a star to pair with him.

As good as Doncic is, he’s not going to carry the entire team on his back. Kristaps Porzingis was supposed to be his Robin, but he’s a good player, not on the same level of stardom like Doncic. If the Mavericks find a way to attract a star, then they’re going to be in business.

Until then, though, the Mavericks are going to be a good, not a great team. The Team Slovenia basketball team in the Olympics was good because of Doncic. He carried them as far as possible, but when it came down to it, there wasn’t anybody to help get over the bump.

Doncic averaged 27.7 points per game on 47.9% completions. He also had 8 rebounds and 8.6 assists per game. There’s no doubt that he can easily win the MVP award this season, and would make that bet if there’s good odds.

Still, I don’t know if Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. are enough of a supporting cast in the West. As far as the Southwest is concerned, the Mavericks shouldn’t be threatened by their opponents in this division. Of course, if Doncic gets injured then the race is going to open up, otherwise look for the Mavs to pull away and stay ahead.

The following odds are courtesy of BetOnline:

Dallas Mavericks Southwest Division Odds
DALLAS MAVERICKS

Memphis Grizzlies

Notable Additions:

  • Steven Adams

Notable Departures:

  • Grayson Allen
  • Jonas Valanciunas
  • Justise Winslow

The Memphis Grizzlies were mediocre last season with a record of 38-34. That was good for second in the Southwest. There were only two teams with a record better than .500 in the division, with Grizzlies one of them at four games above that mark.

That just goes to show how weak the Southwest Division is compared to the rest of the Western Conference. The Mavericks get attention because of Luka, but there isn’t much else going on that’s exciting in the Southwest. Dare I say the Southwest is the most boring division in the NBA.

You watch the Grizzlies to see Ja Morant play basketball. There isn’t much else going on in Memphis besides Morant. That’s not to say Dillon Brooks isn’t an underappreciated player. Brooks is a valuable contributor for the Grizzlies, and has shown a lot of growth since coming into the league.

Brooks is going into his fifth season in the NBA after a career-high 17.2 points per game. He’s a scorer and doesn’t do much on the boards or dish out assists. Brooks is a fine supporting player, but the Grizzlies are going to need more than him to get this team over the top. It’s not happening in 2021-22 that’s for certain, though.

The Grizzlies are going to look good at times this season, but they’re not going to have the firepower to keep pace with Luka and the Mavs. There are just too many holes for them to be better than decent. It’s also worth noting that they lost Jonas Valanciunas in the offseason. That’s a big body in the paint that they will miss.

The following odds are courtesy of BetOnline:

Memphis Grizzlies Southwest Division Odds
MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES

New Orleans Pelicans

Notable Additions:

  • Jonas Valanciunas
  • Devonte’ Graham

Notable Departures:

  • Steven Adams
  • Lonzo Ball
  • Eric Bledsoe
  • James Johnson

The New Orleans Pelicans are transitioning out of the Lonzo Ball era. It was an alright experiment while it lasted, but clear that the Pelicans were not going to be going deep in the playoffs with Ball on the roster.

They aren’t going to be winning a championship with him on the roster either, at least with this current group of talent. Zion Williamson is a terrific talent, but it’s also a guy that needs some help if they’re going to have success.

The Pelicans brought in Devonte’ Graham to replace Ball at the point. Graham impressed as a sophomore with the Hornets in 2019. He averaged 18.2 points and 7.5 assists, up from 4.7 points and 2.6 assists per game in his rookie campaign.

While Graham wasn’t bad, he regressed with 14.8 points on 37.7% shooting. His assists were down as well, with 5.4 assists per game. If Graham can get back to 2019 form, then the Pelicans are going to be in decent shape this season.

Along with Graham, the Pels swapped Steven Adams for Jonas Valanciunas. Both are on new teams, but staying in the same division. That gives the Pelicans another big body to join Zion. However, Zion had offseason foot surgery and may not be ready for opening night.

It’s important that the Pelicans don’t rush him back onto the floor. They are a better team with him playing, clearly, but this isn’t a team going far in their current form. It could have been a lot worse, though, and he’s been feeling better recently.

This is still a long process for the Pelicans, and they have to keep Zion healthy for the future. With Zion, I like the Pelicans over the Grizzlies, but the Mavericks may need an injury to Luka. Brandon Ingram playing up to his full potential wouldn’t hurt either For +475, they might be worth a sprinkle to win the Southwest.

The following odds are courtesy of BetOnline:

New Orleans Pelicans Southwest Division Odds
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS

San Antonio Spurs

Notable Additions:

  • Zach Collins
  • Bryn Forbes
  • Thaddeus Young

Notable Departures:

  • DeMar Derozan
  • Rudy Gay
  • Patty Mills

This might be the least excited I’ve been about the San Antonio Spurs in a long time. Gregg Popovich is coming off an exciting summer in Tokyo.

He spearheaded the Gold Medal run for Team USA. While that was a bumpy road to the gold, the main goal was accomplished in Japan at the Olympic Games.

Popovich can’t expect to celebrate much this season in the NBA. It’s good that he had a chance to win something in the Olympics as he enters the twilight of his career.

He’s in the home stretch as a 72-year-old head coach. Unfortunately for Popovich, he isn’t dealing with the best team in 2021-22. This looks like a rebuilding job for Popovich. There are some pieces to like, though.

In a league that requires a star to win, the Spurs are going into this season without a go-to player to lean on. DeMar Derozan is gone to Chicago, and while he isn’t a superstar, he was a reliable guard for the Spurs.

Derozan was the leading scorer on the Spurs with 21.6 points a game last season. Dejounte Murray and Derrick White, who averaged 15.4 and 15.7 points per game, are expected to take on a bigger role this season.

It’s time for somebody to shine. This is a great opportunity for the younger guys to step up and impress Popovich. If I’m betting on a breakout campaign, no doubt Murray must be in the discussion. He could be a star waiting to shine.

The 25-year-old has been growing through his first five years and could be ready for the next step of his career. We could see some good from the Spurs this season, but they are going to come up just short often this season.

Not to say they aren’t going to get value in spots because the Spurs could be a good bet as an undervalued team. I really like what Murray is capable of doing while everyone ignores his ability. He should make the Spurs a good bet as an underdog in spots.

The following odds are courtesy of BetOnline:

San Antonio Spurs Southwest Division Odds
SAN ANTONIO SPURS

Houston Rockets

Notable Additions:

  • Jalen Green

Notable Departures:

  • Avery Bradley
  • Cameron Oliver
  • Sterling Brown
  • Kelly Olynyk

The James Harden saga came to an end early last season, as he finally got his wish and received a ticket out of Houston. He went to one of the best possible scenarios in Brooklyn and left the sinking ship on the Rockets.

The Harden era is done in Houston, and the organization is moving onto what is hopefully a long and successful relationship with Jalen Green. Green was one of the top prospects of the most recent draft. The Rockets selected him with the second pick, and with that comes high expectations.

He’s a dynamic guard that should jump in and find success right away in the NBA. There will be some growing pains, but the potential is going to be there for Green. He should give Rockets’ fans a reason to get excited, and a reason to forget about Harden.

That being said, this entire team is going to be very raw. A rookie is going to be the focal point of this offense. Besides Green, I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do with Kevin Porter Jr. Porter Jr. came on nicely last season with 16.6 points and 6.3 assists per game after a year in Cleveland as a rookie.

He didn’t look too great with the Cavaliers, but a trade to Houston helped immensely. Expect Porter Jr. to be a sleeper candidate and continue to build on what he did last year. Depending on how quickly Green comes along, those two could be a tough 1-2 combo for opponents. The Rockets aren’t winning anything in 2021-22, but they are in a much better position than they were a year ago at this time.

The following odds are courtesy of BetOnline:

Houston Rockets Southwest Division Odds
HOUSTON ROCKETS
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Kyle E / Author

Kyle is a veteran of TheSportsGeek and has spent nearly a decade providing accurate sports picks and writeups here. He has been a sports handicapper for 10+ years and started sharing his picks and thoughts in 2011 at TheSportsGeek. His expertise spans across multiple sports, including the NFL, NCAAF, MLB, NHL, and horse racing. Prior to writing for TheSportsGeek, Kyle was a fantasy football expert, who ultimately parlayed it into a successful sports betting career. You can find his picks daily only at TheSportsGeek.

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