• Derek Steiner

Quick Hits: Southwest Division

Quick Hits: - Predictions for each division’s best rookie, biggest bust, breakout player and MVP.

Breakout Player: Jordan Adams, Memphis Grizzlies

*Photo via Fox Sports

It’s well known that coach Dave Joerger doesn’t like playing rookies, but fortunately for Jordan Adams, he’s made it to his second season in Memphis and ready for his closeup. Why didn’t Memphis go out and get a sharpshooter when shooting is clearly their biggest weakness? The answer may just be sitting on their bench, itching for the call. In his limited playing time, Adams still managed to shoot a solid 40 percent from three and 41 percent from the field. Those stats will improve with consistent playing time and experience. Though Tony Allen and Courtney Lee will be the starters, I expect Adams to get the majority of the back-up minutes that Vince Carter and his 29 percent from three just hasn't earned.

Rookie: Justin Anderson, Dallas Mavericks

*Photo via Mavs.com

It’s hard for rookies to find playing time on winning teams and the Southwest Division is chock-full with them. All five teams in the division finished above .500 and made the playoffs. So in a division lacking in quality rookies, Dallas’ Justin Anderson stands out. He scored 17.5 points per game starting for Dallas’ summer league team. The 6’6 swingman is looking to crack the rotation and find meaningful minutes. The University of Virginia product also boasts a 7 foot wingspan which should make him valuable to defensive minded coach Rick Carlisle.

MVP: Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

*Photo Via Play in NBA

A no brainer here. He’s already a freak of an athlete but insert new coach Alvin Gentry, a playoff experienced roster, and 13 nationally televised games, Davis has more meaningful games to showcase his abilities. It’s also important to note that Gentry was an assistant on the Phoenix Suns during their dominant Nash/Stoudemire era. A strong pick and roll game pairing Davis with Holiday and/or Evans will be dangerous. Davis is already an All-Star, but the upgrades in his surroundings will boost him into MVP consideration.

Biggest Bust: Deron Williams, Dallas Mavericks

*Photo via Getty Images

A recent Salt City Hoops article quoted a Jazz physician as saying Deron Williams “decided he didn’t need coaching”. Ask Rajon Rondo or OJ Mayo about Rick Carlisle’s disposition. Throw in last seasons reports of Williams having to be physically restrained from going after former coach Lionel Hollins, and man, this feels doomed from the start. Let’s forget the personality conflicts for a moment. From a pure basketball perspective, Williams will be joining a teeming point guard position that already includes Devin Harris, JJ Barea, and Raymond Felton. This situation is messy.

Southwest Division

San Antonio (61-21)

Memphis (58-24)

Houston (56-26)

New Orleans (50-32)

Dallas (46-36)

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