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