Southwest Division Roundup: Lebron Not My MVP

San Antonio 41 12 .774 22-2 19-10 11-2 22-8 104.3 95.8 +8.5 Won 2 9-1
Memphis 33 18 .647 7 21-8 12-10 4-5 19-13 93.7 90.2 +3.5 Won 3 6-4
Houston 29 25 .537 12 ½ 18-8 11-17 4-7 12-19 106.3 103.2 +3.1 Won 1 7-3
Dallas 22 29 .431 18 14-10 8-19 3-5 13-19 100.9 102.8 -1.9 Lost 1 5-5
New Orleans 18 34 .346 22 ½ 8-15 10-19 4-7 9-23 94.0 97.7 -3.7 Won 1 4-6

Well it’s been quite awhile since I wrote an ole fashioned roundup, but I figured heading into the All-Star break is as good a time as any.  This division has been broken wide open by the NBA best Spurs, but both the Grizzlies and Rockets remain dangerous playoff teams.  We’ve seen a veteran club in Dallas try to climb it’s way out of the lottery and into the playoffs and we’ve seen the lowly Hornets show flashes of what could be a bright future.  Let’s take a look around this division and zero in on a top candidate for league MVP.


San Antonio:
Winners of a whopping 14 of their last 16, the seemingly perpetually red-hot Spurs have now widened their division lead to 7 games and their conference lead to 1.5.  This team just has a calm about them; they never rush plays and always seem to make the appropriate extra pass.  Every player has a defined role, leaving nothing to question.  While Tim Duncan was playing as well as pretty much any power forward before his recent injury (which is minor) and the supporting cast has been operating at a high level, the real super star on this team is Tony Parker.  Parker has continued to elevate his game, averaging nearly 21 points and 8 assists on the season, however in the 4 games in February since his fellow franchise stars (Duncan and Gino) went down with injuries, he has bumped those averages to 28 and 10 on 56% shooting.  I think he has to be looked at as true MVP candidate.  While Lebron has been doing amazing things and Durant continues to shine, Parker is having the best year of any guard all while leading his team to the NBA’s best record.  Right now, I would choose him over Lebron. While I’ll discuss in later pieces and in the Three Man Weave podcast, I think the bias major news networks show, such as ESPN, make it difficult for the casual fan to see past anyone but Lebron since he takes up nearly 1/3 of sportscenter. 

and yes, I’d vote for Tony despite this unfortunate rap video: 

BTW, San Antonio beat Chicago Monday by 14 points without Duncan (Knee), Ginobli (Hammy) or Tony Parker (also Knee).  While Chitown was short handed as well, the reserves on this team are very solid. Danny Green is a terrific young shooter and defender.

The Grizzlies are the type of team you want to root for.  They are gritty offensively, clawing inside for much of their scoring and they are as aggressive and physical as anyone on the defensive end.  Their leader is not their best player as Tony Allen is their defensive captain and energy guy.  They play hard and fight till the end.  The problem with Memphis is that while they are scrappy and can score in the interior, they struggle to shoot the ball with any consistency.They are 25th in the league in three point shooting percentage according to hoopdata at a lowly 34.3%.  This team desperately needs to add a perimeter shooter to balance out it’s interior presence.  They also have need at the backup center position.  All in all, while I like this team, I don’t see them making much noise in the postseason.  I think it would be a good time for them to try and see what they can acquire for Zach Randolph or at the very least either Arthur or the newly acquired Davis so that they can add the necessary pieces around the starting unit to give them a chance in the postseason.

Houston now has two nice wins against Golden State after beating them again last night, showing that this team can not only outscore teams in a shootout but can get some stops when they need to as well.  James Harden has skyrocketed to super-stardom this season as we all know, but the young role players on this team have played quite well.  Chandler Parsons does a little of everything and has been the second best offensive player for them this year, Omer Asik cleans up the glass and clogs the middle defensively, while the power forward rotation of Patterson and Morris can stretch the floor and get out on the fast break.  The big question for me is whether Lin can find consistency before the playoffs.  If he plays well, this team is dangerous, if he doesn’t I don’t see them even challenging a team in the first round. Regardless of where they end this season, the future remains bright in Houston and they are one of the most entertaining teams to watch.

After a tough start to the year without Dirk, they have not been able to climb out of the lottery now that he is healthy.  While I understand Cuban wants to go out and get a star like Brandon Jennings, I think any move needs to look past this season.  They are currently 5.5 games out of the 8th seed with some hungry teams in front of them.  Even if they were to sneak in they just don’t have the athletes to match up with the elite of the West.  I think Vince Carter has a solid season on a cheap contract, while Brand and Marion have also played reasonably well.  Obviously OJ Mayo has given the team hope for the future, but they definitely need another piece for the future.  While I’d love to see Big D go get Jennings and make a nice run, I think this season is all but over for them.  I hope I’m wrong.

“Don’t break us up, pretty please don’t. If you do, I won’t even show for the other team” -Me as Marion

New Orleans:
Well the rebuilding Hornets, err. Pelicans are doing just that.  Anthony Davis has disappointed me, looking not quite as ready as I thought he would be.  Still, he has shown flashes of what I still believe is a franchise player.  His averages of a little over 12 points and 7 boards does not scream franchise player, but when you watch him play you see the skill set.  He needs to be much more assertive offensively and command the ball on the post.  They have some other nice pieces in Ryan Anderson, Aminu, Lopez, Vasquez, but they need to figure out what to do with Eric Gordon.  He and Austin Rivers are way too similar in playing style (although Gordon is much better at this point) as isolation perimeter guys.  I think adding a quality point guard or elite athlete on the wing would be huge for them in this draft. Cough Michael Carter Williams or Ben McLemore Cough.

Well that is all, as always sound off in the comments.  Who is your MVP?


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