NBA Season Preview For Southwest Division, 2022-23

NBA Season Preview For Southwest Division, 2022-23
Tue 11th October 2022

We simply cannot wait for the new NBA season to start, and we are counting down the days until the very first tip off. If you are like us and love the NBA, then you definitely need to have a read on below, as we take a look at each and every team from the Southwest Division and analyze their chances for success in this brand new season.

Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks opened the 2021-22 season slowly with a 17-18 card after 35 games. But the Mavericks caught fire in the second half of the season and won 35 of their final 47 games to finish second in the Southwest Division with a 52-30 record. Dallas weren’t able to make the NBA Finals, as they lost in the Western Conference Finals to the Golden State Warriors in five games.

The 10-time All-Star, Jason Kidd returns for his second season at the helm of the Mavericks. Dallas lost Jalen Brunson in free agency but added JaVale McGee and Christian Wood. The Mavericks will win 50-plus games again, but a lack of depth will lead to a second-round playoff exit.

Luca Doncic enjoyed another stellar season in 2021-22 and shot 45 percent from the field while averaging 28 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists. The three-time All-Star is one of the top players in the NBA despite being just 23-years-old.

Spencer Dinwiddie and Tim Hardaway will join Doncic in the backcourt. Dinwiddie averaged 15 points, three boards, and a trio of dimes in 23 games with Dallas. Hardaway missed 40 games due to a fractured foot but tallied 14 points and three rebounds.

The Mavericks’ frontcourt will feature Dorian Finney-Smith, JaVale McGee, and Reggie Bullock. Finney-Smith shot 47 percent from the field and posted 11 points and four rebounds. McGee averaged nine points and six boards with the Phoenix Suns last season, while Bullock tallied eight points and three rebounds in 68 games.

Wood will be a key contributor off the bench and averaged 17 points and 10 boards last season with the Houston Rockets. Dallas remains a top 5 Western Conference squad but needs another elite scorer to become a legitimate NBA title contender.

Houston Rockets

The 2021-22 Houston Rockets stumbled out of the gate with 16 losses in their first 20 games. The Rockets struggled at home and on the road before finishing fifth in the Southwest Division with a 20-62 record. Houston failed to make the playoffs for a second straight season.

Stephen Silas enters his third season as head coach of the Rockets. Houston added rookies Jabari Smith, Tari Eason, and TyTy Washington. The Rockets are rebuilding and will miss the playoffs for a third consecutive season.

The second overall pick in last year’s draft, Jalen Green averaged 17 points and three rebounds during his rookie campaign. In the season finale, the 20-year-old dropped 40 points against the Atlanta Hawks and was selected for the All-Rookie First Team.

Auburn forward Jabari Smith was selected with the third overall pick in this year’s draft. The 19-year-old scored 21 points and pulled down eight rebounds in his NBA preseason debut on October 2 against the San Antonio Spurs. The 6-foot-11 rookie averaged 16 points and seven boards during his lone collegiate season.

The 6-foot-10 Turkish center, Alperen Sengun tallied nine points and five boards during his rookie season. However, the 20-year-old averaged 14 points, nine rebounds, and four dimes in games that he logged 30 or more minutes.

Houston has assembled a talented core of young prospects but will not be a playoff contender for the next 2-3 years. Kevin Porter and Jae’Sean Tate will also be key contributors. Porter posted 15 points, four rebounds, and six assists last season, and Tate added 11 points, five boards, and two assists.

Memphis Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies started the 2021-22 season with an 11-10 mark before getting red-hot and winning 45 of their final 61 games. The Grizzlies won the Southwest Division with a 56-26 record. Memphis lost in the second round of the playoffs to the Golden State Warriors in six games.

Taylor Jenkins enters his fourth season at the helm of the Grizzlies. Memphis added rookies Jake LaRavia and David Roddy to a solid core of talented players. The Grizzlies will be in the hunt for another 50-win season but will struggle to make it past the first round of the playoffs.

The reigning Most Improved Player, Ja Morant, posted a career-high 27 points in his third season with five rebounds and six assists. The 23-year-old playmaker shot 49 percent from the field and earned his first All-Star nod. Desmond Bane will join Morant in the backcourt. The third-year guard averaged 18 points a game while shooting 43 percent from behind the three-point line. 

The frontcourt will consist of Dillon Brooks, Brandon Clarke, and Steven Adams. Brooks tallied 18 points while connecting on 43 percent of his shots from the field. Clarke shot 64 percent from the field and averaged 10 points and five rebounds last season, and Adams added six points, 10 boards, and three assists during his first season with the Grizzlies. 

Memphis has a talented squad but lacks quality depth to make a deep playoff run. Forward Jaren Jackson will miss the start of the season after having foot surgery. The fourth overall pick in 2018 averaged 16 points and five rebounds in 78 games last season.

New Orleans Pelicans

The New Orleans Pelicans dropped 17 of their first 23 games to start the 2021-22 season. The Pelicans regrouped to win 30 of their final 59 to finish third in the Southwest Division with a 36-46 record. New Orleans lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Phoenix Suns in six games.

The Pelicans will be a much-improved squad this season and should make it to the second round of the playoffs if Zion Williamson can stay healthy. Willie Green returns for his second season as head coach of the Pelicans. New Orleans drafted G League Ignite guard Dyson Daniels with the eighth overall pick.

Williamson missed the entire 2021-22 season with a foot injury after shooting 61 percent from the field and posting 27 points, seven rebounds, and three assists in 2020-21. The 22-year-old is one of the NBA’s top young players and will play a massive role in the success of the Pelicans this season.

Brandon Ingram shot 46 percent from the field last season while averaging 22 points and five dimes. The 25-year-old turned it up a notch in the playoffs with 27 points, six rebounds, and six assists.

Veteran guard CJ McCollum connected on 49 percent of his shots from the field and posted 24 points and five assists in 26 games with New Orleans last season. The 31-year-old shot 39 percent from three-point range after being traded to the Pelicans.

The Pelicans could be the NBA’s Cinderella team this season and have all the ingredients to make some noise in the playoffs. Jonas Valanciunas and Herbert Jones will join Williamson in the frontcourt. Valanciunas tallied 17 points and 11 rebounds during his first season with New Orleans, and Jones averaged nine points and three boards.

San Antonio Spurs

The San Antonio Spurs opened the 2021-22 season with 13 losses in their first 19 games. The Spurs’ fortunes improved slightly, and the team won 28 of their final 63 games to finish fourth in the Southwest Division with a 34-48 record. San Antonio lost to the New Orleans Pelicans in the play-in tournament.

Three-time Coach of the Year Gregg Popovich returns for his 27th season at the helm of the Spurs. San Antonio drafted Baylor forward Jeremy Sochan with the ninth pick in this year’s draft. The Spurs are in rebuilding mode and will be one of the league’s worst squads this season. 

Former Kentucky standout Keldon Johnson shot 39 percent from behind the arc and averaged a career-high 17 points and six rebounds in his third NBA campaign. The 22-year-old inked a four-year, $80 million rookie contract extension in July and will be the Spurs’ number 1 scoring option this season.

San Antonio’s frontcourt will also include Doug McDermott and Jakob Poeltl. McDermott averaged 11 points and connected on 42 percent of his shots from three-point range in his first season with the Spurs. Poeltl shot 61 percent from the field and tallied 13 points and nine boards.

Tre Jones and Devin Vassell will form the backcourt. Jones posted six points and three assists in his second season, while Vassell averaged 12 points and four boards. The 11th overall pick in 2020 and former Florida State product shot 36 percent from behind the arc.

Sochan posted nine points and six rebounds while shooting 47 percent from the field during his lone collegiate season. San Antonio will be in the hunt for the top overall pick in next year’s draft and will focus on developing players instead of winning games.

When the 2022 NBA season does eventually begin, make sure SportsTips is your go-to destination for NBA picks. We will provide NBA picks for each and every game of the season from our experts, so you can place your bets with more confidence!

Marvin is a self-confessed sports fanatic who is addicted to the NFL, MLB and CFB. He has a passion for Daily Fantasy Sports and absolutely loves gambling and making money on his favorite sports. He has been an avid Dallas Cowboys fan since the 1970s and has been writing about sports for more than three decades. Whether he is making prop bets or choosing which teams will cover spreads, he is thrilled to provide relevant information for all of our readers.