This is the lowest division of the Western Conference. One team is clearly better than the others. We talk about the Dallas Mavericks, who are led by one of the best players in the league, PG Luka Doncic.
The Mavs are a playoff team that has endured tough series in the last couple of years. They are a piece away from being NBA contenders. The question is: what are they going to do to get that missing star?
The Memphis Grizzlies and the New Orleans Pelicans are two franchises that have young stars and are building up an exciting future. They may not be ready to compete for a chip just yet, but they will be in a few years.
The last two teams in this division are in a lose-now mode. Both the San Antonio Spurs and the Houston Texans are trying to develop young players. It’s the only thing they can do, considering their rosters are super limited.
Well, let’s dive into what the Southwest division is all about.
It is no surprise that the season ended with the Mavs earning the divisional title. A 42-30 record ensured Dallas another banner to hang on the American Airlines Center roof.
Luka was an MVP candidate, and it’s undeniable that his output took the Mavs to another level. He averaged 27.7 points, 8 rebounds, and 8.6 assists. At 21 years old, he has established himself as a top star in this league.
The PF Kristaps Porzingis averaged 20.1 points but his level is nowhere near the heights expected. He needs to do more. Once again, he struggled with injuries, playing only 43 games, meaning he missed a whopping 29 in the regular season. The best ability is availability, and Porzingis is not one to have it.
The Grizzlies got into the play-in tournament and defeated the Warriors to qualify for the playoffs. PG Ja Morant had a superb sophomore year.
He led the Grizzlies in points (19.1) and assists (7.4) per game. His fast-paced, athletic style is box office, but also effective. Morant’s ceiling is absurdly high.
They missed their second-best prospect in PF Jaren Jackson Jr., who got injured early in the season. That forced the Grizzlies to find new ways to score, and SG Dillon Brooks took the baton.
With 17 points a night, the Canadian enjoyed his more productive season. They had a first-round exit in the NBA playoffs, but even reaching them was an overachievement.
San Antonio had a 33-39 record. The Spurs did it under the scoring ability of SF DeMar DeRozan. His midrange was a thing of beauty in 2020 once again.
However, the Spurs weren’t good enough to get to a .500 mark. In all fairness, it was HC Gregg Popovich’s magic that this team even was close to a 50% win rate.
The last team in the standings were the Rockets, who were all along with the worst team in basketball. They shipped out SG James Harden and SG Victor Oladipo, and PG John Wall was injured for 32 games. That’s how you have three All-Stars and manage to screw it up.
Houston only won 17 games. Their franchise is an absolute mess. Among all the madness, PF Christian Wood emerged as a 20+ point scorer. Wood is a 25-year-old player ready, willing, and able to go the extra mile.
It didn’t help that the rest of the roster was nearly anemic. The Rockets are in full rebuild mode now.
Dallas is the one team in this division that has some real respect around the league. The reason is clear, Luka Doncic. With new HC Jason Kidd, Luka is expected to make a new leap in quality—which is as insane as it sounds. Doncic is favored to win the MVP in many sportsbooks.
The real question is whether Porzingis can stay healthy. Rumors have it that Porzingis is quite a diva, and his relationship with Doncic is not the best.
Therefore, he needs to either get in line or be traded for new and more assets. SG Tim Hardaway is a reliable scorer, but he is not good enough to be the number two guy in a championship team.
Nevertheless, either if Porzingis stays or not, Dallas should be winning the NBA Southwest once again.
The battle for second place will be between the Grizzlies and Pelicans. Memphis’ roster is very similar to what they had last year.
Although, they did an impressive move to acquire C Steven Adams. The former Thunder big man is a machine grabbing offensive rebounds and creating second chances. This is big for the Grizzlies. Morant will guide the show, Adams will dominate the low post, Brooks will shoot open looks and Jaren Jackson Jr. will come back.
Memphis is aiming for another playoff appearance. There’s no doubt about it. The question is, can they handle the pressure?
New Orleans will be one of those franchises putting pressure. Their roster changed a bit from their 2020 season, but it’s for the better. Their starting five will have Devonte Graham as the new PG. At SG, Josh Hart will provide a three-and-D player.
Brandon Ingram will continue his progression into an offensive beast on the SF position. Ingram averaged 23.8 points while dishing 4.9 assists. He is living up to his potential.
Oh, and if you’re looking for a future star, how about PF Zion Williamson posting a 27/7/4 stat line in his SOPHOMORE year. Williamson came as one of the best prospects this league has seen.
At the moment, he is as good as advertised. A dominant, strong, rim crusher. Defenses can’t contain him.
It appears that Dallas is the only thing going well for the Lone Star State in the NBA. San Antonio and Houston, who have been playoff regulars in the last few years, are now at the bottom of the talent department.
San Antonio still has one of the best coaches ever in Pop. But not even he can make as many miracles. The Spurs roster might be one of the worst in the league.
Their best player, DeMar DeRozan, parted ways with the team, and so did PG Patty Mills. Without a clear no.1 option, it’s time to start from scratch.
Much of this can be used for Houston. Their talent is now gone. Except for John Wall, there are no big names in Houston. Oh, and by the way, Wall’s injuries have seriously drowned his stock as a top player in the league.
They drafted SG Jalen Green as the second overall pick in the draft. He and Wood are the ones to guide the franchise through this new era.
Let’s address the most important thing to do first. Check different sportsbooks, shop lines, and make sure you get the best NBA odds before betting.
The odds table shows you which team is the favorite according to Vegas. Favored teams will have lower odds.
By looking at those lines, you know how much profit you’re going to get if you win the bet. For example, a $149 bet on Dallas (-149) would give you $100 in winnings and a total payout of $249.
The next step is checking the handle. A handle shows you the percentage of total wagers on a team winning the NBA Southwest Division. Let’s say the Pelicans have a 10% handle, which means 10% of all money bets on the winner of the NBA Southwest is coming New Orleans’ way.
Another number to look at is the percentage of bets. This is the number of wagers (excluding dollar amounts) directed to an NBA franchise.
For example, the Mavs have 92% of all bets. This doesn’t reflect the money wagered on them, but the volume.
They can have 92% of the wagers, but 55% of the handle, meaning smaller bets are coming in for them.
1. Enter your favorite sportsbook and log into your account.
2. Click on the NBA odds tab.
3. Pick the ‘Team Futures’ options, and select the division’s tab from the drop-down menu.
4. Select the odds and team you want to bet on.
5. Place your bet from the bet slip window that typically pops up on the right part of the screen.