What We Can Expect From the Southwest Division
*Photo via USA Today
I think we can finally take deep breath. Hopefully, the rollercoaster is over. What rollercoaster? The Southwest Division’s (SWD) shark like acquisition of talent. For years the West has been the premier NBA conference. Now, the SWD is the premier division in the premier conference. In case you have already forgotten, every team from the SWD made the playoffs last year! Since then, the division has added the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge, David West, Wes Matthews, Ty Lawson, Deron Williams, and DeAndre Jordan….what’s that? Oh…..Sorry, looks like DeAndre will not be joining the SWD, sorry Mavs fans. With all of this talent in one place, it should make for an exciting 2015-2016 season!
Here are the 3 things to look for this season:
1.Winning on the road:
Good teams win at home, great teams win on the road. Last year all of the SWD had winning road records except for the Pels. With all of the additions to the division, teams will be looking, and struggling, to gel early. The team(s) that can pick up key road wins early, and often, will have a shot at staying in front of the pack. Look for the veteran teams to steal some early road wins while their aging roster still has fresh legs.
2.Average 103 points, or more, per game:
The line in the sand is around 103 points. What line? The line between contenders and pretenders. Only one team that averaged over 103 PTS/G* last year didn’t make the playoffs, the Thunder. While you need to be able to play some defense to win it all, teams can begin to tighten that up later in the year. Don’t be surprised when we see teams trying to put up big numbers every night, especially after watching it work so well for Golden State.
If there is a maestro to this orchestra, it is Gregg Popovich. Over the years Pop has mastered the art of throwing in the towel early and giving his guys a much needed rest. Pop knows when a game is within reach, whether he is ahead or behind, and finely walks the tight-rope of pulling his starters. As always, there will be amply number of blowouts during the season. Coaches need to be ready to pull the plug and rest their guys when the opportunity arises. After going through this grueling division, and conference, it might just be the most rested team, not the best, that arises from the West.
*Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference
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