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Assuming Howard pulls the trigger with one of the Grizzlies’ divisional rivals – Houston or Dallas – in the next several hours, Memphis is in for a “treat.”

Already arguably the league’s toughest division, which only three years ago boasted all five teams at .500, the Southwest Division is only gaining in strength.

Through some offseason finesse, the New Orleans Pelicans managed to pull together a starting five of Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon, Tyreke Evans, Ryan Anderson, and Anthony Davis. All five are young, quality all-star caliber players that can play up-tempo and will give teams quite the scare the upcoming season. Some but not enough talk has been attributed to this exciting, new-aged three-guard lineup for this up-and-coming team.

The San Antonio Spurs, a team that defies age and exceeds expectations year after year, upgraded Thursday with the addition of Bellineli. The sharp-shooting forward only adds more depth to the team and is a player with range to offer a club which has punished the Grizz from distance.

The Howard sweepstakes are coming to a close very soon, and it is highly likely that Dwight will take his talents to the Southwest Division as well. It seems as though Houston will snatch him. In my humble opinion, this certainly puts the Rockets as the divisional favorite and as a top-five NBA team.

Of course the Grizzlies did add the goofy-sounding center Kosta Koufos, a slight upgrade over Arthur. However, not many minutes are needed to relieve Gasol in the long run.

It would not surprise me if the Mavericks, to continue the trend, add a quality player with their available cap space before the tip of the 2013-14 season. Dirk, though coming off a rough season, is never one to sleep on, either.

Here’s to the hope the Grizzlies can once again prevail with the identity of grit-and-grind and to the hope that the Allen signing is the most important one in the wild Southwest!

–  Jeremy Cooper

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8 Responses to Guest Post: And the Toughest Division just got that much Tougher

  1. sandstormerNo Gravatar says:

    Wow, Jeremy Cooper! I’m a big Grizzlies fan based in Austin, TX, and I’m proud to say you’ve boosted my spirits about our regional NBA division tenfold. You not only encapsulated the recent offseason big moves real well, but also gave me even more of a reason to be part of Grizznation. Can’t wait to see what comes of the Howard situation, and I’m looking forward to next season with eagerness. Great Guest Post, 3SOB!

    • ccNo Gravatar says:

      A few things…Kostas Koufos is more than a ‘slight’ upgrade over a spent/ailing DA.Sheesh: he started for DEN most of year,has huge rebounding #’s per 48 & actually Bangs inside on O & D.DA had a nice 15′ jumper,was about all in playoffs last 2 years.
      Also: I grow tiresome of writers and fans saying: “So & So team got so & so player”.
      What they neglect to ‘include’ is what “so & so” is giving up.
      Lastly: yeah buddy>D Howard puts HOU over the top.Really? How’d that work out in LALa land? They go from a 7 seed to winning Division. We’ll see. Sounds liek a pipe dream & what most young(er) peeps always seem to think: get a supposed superstar(in thsi case a SuperBabyEgo) & that team is just magically the front-runner/got it locked up.Get real/LOL

      • ccNo Gravatar says:

        I didn’t mean to “reply” here. Sorry
        Meant to post as a seperate comment. Oops

      • jeremypcoopNo Gravatar says:

        Please go on YouTube and watch Koufos’ best highlights. His greatest game ever is just his luck being at the right place at the right time – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=519fNBtNi7Y – can’t see him doing that more than once a season, just like Arthur. Oftentimes per 48 numbers are misleading – I did say a slight upgrade, but I won’t concede a huge one.

        I didn’t include what those teams gave up because they haven’t given up anything! The Rockets are even keeping Asik, the Spurs retained Manu and Splitter, and New Orleans – it’s not even a discussion.

        Not sure if you’ve watched the NBA the past few years, but the majority of teams who make it far in the NBA Playoffs have multiple superstars, excluding the Grizzlies. Remember what Dwight did to propel Orlando to the Finals (2009) with all those wing shooters – he’s got the shooters now (Lin, Parsons…) plus Harden. The Lakers last season had chemistry problems with too many players who wanted to take shots (now the Rockets only have two) and even then were winning at an incredible pace at the end of the season until Kobe got injured.

        Lastly, I didn’t say anything about “got it locked up” – I actually anticipate the Grizzlies will pull ahead this season. I just admitted that the Rockets are the favorite just like any team coming in with superstars (Clippers, Thunder, Heat, Nets, etc.)

      • jeremypcoopNo Gravatar says:

        CC:

        I defend everything i wrote in this column. and with Dallas pulling in Chandler today, the division only gets tougher. No division is close to as loaded; S. Antonio is the best in the league, and Mem/Hou/Dal are all top 8-9 NBA teams (sorry for caps lock, computer isn’t working properly)

  2. JoelNo Gravatar says:

    YEAH!!! A post by one of my best buddies! JCOOP!. Very solid post, and I agree totally with Jeremy on this one, the Southwest is going to be THE division to watch this season. I just hope our Grizz can continue to progress, especially under our new head coach.

  3. ccNo Gravatar says:

    I quote: “Already arguably the league’s toughest division, which only three years ago boasted all five teams at .500″
    Umm: so…all teams went .500 / 41-41 ? Really.

    • jeremypcoopNo Gravatar says:

      My edit must’ve not made it. The sentence should read “Already arguably the league’s toughest division, which only three years ago boasted all five teams at +.500 and this past year provided both Western Conference finalists, the Southwest Division is only gaining in strength.”

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