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NLL Insider - What's Next? Southwest Division

by jmac, updated on Thursday, June 29 2017, 07:05 pm EST

Red = Team option

Blue = Possible trade / Free agency candidates



Dallas Mavericks

Approx Cap Situation: $93 million

GM Points: 91

Record: 29-53 (-27 wins from last season)

Picks: Lonzo Ball (#2), Jonathan Isaac (#8), Edrice Adebayo (#12)

Key Players Returning: Ivaca Zubac, Emannuel Muiday, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Tyler Johnson, Allen Crabbe

Unrestricted Free Agents: JR Smith

Restricted Free Agents: Nerlens Noel, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Rumours: After grabbing Caldwell-Pope, there are whispers that he is looking to sign with another team for a max deal, forcing the Mavs to match or watch him leave.

Targets: With most of the Mavericks roster spots taken, they will turn their eye to making sure restricted free agents, Noel and KCP, return to Dallas. They will fill the rest of their roster with whomever they can grab in free agency and grow from within.

Overview: After experiencing a cleaning of house, draft pick acquisition and adding of some really young, talented pieces, Dallas Mavericks are a team that value winning culture and is looking to speed up the rebuild. The acquisitions of KCP and Tyler Johnson will help to boost scoring, Lonzo Ball and Jonathan Isaac will be given every chance to play and both have huge ceilings. The Mavericks did a fantastic job of speeding up the rebuild cycle and are every bit a chance to compete for the eighth seed.

Possible Line-up

PG: Lonzo Ball
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Jonathan Isaac/Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
Nerlens Noel
Ivica Zubac

San Antonio Spurs 

Approx Cap Situation: $108 million

GM Points: 80

Record: 62-20 (+15 wins from last season)

Picks: Jordan Bell (#30), Semi Ojeleye (#36)

Key Players Returning: Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid, Mike ConleyWill Barton, Patrick Beverley, Moe Harkless, Courtney Lee

Unrestricted Free Agents: David West, CJ Miles, Andrew Bogut

Restricted Free Agents: -

Rumours: What need is there for rumours when you just won the title and have all your core players on multi-year contracts? The Spurs will ride the championship euphoria all summer and deservedly so. Due to cap constraints, it is rumoured Will Barton won’t be willing to take a pay cut on his next deal, so he may be the odd man out and out of town before next season begins.

Targets: Some more David West-like types that are more than happy to jump on board the bandwagon in pursuit of a title. The great thing about winning is that you get more than just the trophy – your team now has the allure that draws talented players towards it. They will get 2-3 guys that can still play, for small salary, who want to play a role for a title.

Overview: The future is so bright you better wear shades! Somehow, in the space of what seems only just a year, the Spurs were good, then totally cleaned house and rebuilt, then built back up again and won a title. It is truly one of the more remarkable changes of momentum I can remember. The Spurs will once again be a powerhouse and look to try to build a dynasty. Pencil them in for 55-60 wins now. Davis, Embiid = unfair.


When you take the league by storm and win the title, there really isn’t much need for change. On top of that, most players on this team are locked into multi-year deals. Good times in San An-tone. Congratulations to leeroy on such a masterful 18 months of team building.

Possible Line-up

PG: Mike Conley

SG: Courtney Lee
Moe Harkless
Anthony Davis
Joel Embiid

Houston Rockets

Approx Cap Situation: $95 million

GM Points: 94

Record: 38-44 (-8 wins from last season)

Picks: -

Key Players Returning: Isaiah Thomas, Hassan Whiteside, Al Jefferson, Tim Frazier, Mindaugus Kuzminskas, Yogi FerrellArron Afflalo

Unrestricted Free Agents: Gordon HaywardDion Waiters, Jonas Jerebko, Dante Cunningham, DeAndre Liggins, Quinn Cook

Restricted Free Agents: -

Rumours: Gordon Hayward, an unrestricted free agent, is apparently scheduling meetings with opposition teams around the league to hear their pitches. He is apparently seriously entertaining leaving the Rockets.

Targets: If Hayward and/or Waiters leave, they will be pretty thin on the wing and will need to address that. Their weakest position is the PF spot, so that will also be high on their list to address.

Overview: Vitticus seemed absent for a lot of the season but that was just because he was locked in his basement cracking the 2k formula. The Rockets were one of the hottest teams for the final month of the season and flew up the standings. The Rockets have quite a powerful line up if they all return, and after the late season surge at the end of last season, they will surely be aiming for a playoff spot and to be competitive in the post-season.

Possible Line-up
PG: Isaiah Thomas
Dion Waiters
Gordon Hayward
Mindaugus Kuzminskas
Hassan Whiteside


New Orleans Pelicans

Approx Cap Situation: $99 million

GM Points: 50

Record: 34-48 (+13 wins from last season)

Picks: Dwayne Bacon (#40), Tyler Dorsey (#43), Jaron Blossomgame (#45), Thomas Bryant (#47)

Key Players Returning: Chandler Parsons, Jahlil OkaforMarcus MorrisBrandon Knight

Unrestricted Free Agents: Tony Allen, Jeremy Lin, Vince Carter, Rakeem Christmas, Isaiah Canaan

Restricted Free Agents: Alex Len

Rumours: Marcus Morris was apparently on the trade block and had a suitor, only for him to still be a Pelican. The Morris twins are notorious pouters, and rumour has it he may pout his way through all of the off-season to force a trade to Denver, where he brother plays.

Targets: Fairly well rounded team with starting calibre players at all of the starting positions, but not a lot of star power or depth. They are going to hope they can get some solid players with their MLE in free agency. Their poor record will almost certainly take them out of the running for the sought after free agents.

Overview: Not many teams have been as consistent as the Pelicans have been for the past few seasons. Unfortunately for Pelicans fans, they have been consistently really mediocre. Can the Pelicans remove themselves from the mire of mediocrity that they have stumbled through the last few seasons? Or will they continue to unsuccessfully fight against the competitive current? Chandler Parsons, the 200 GM man, needs to repay the faith in a big way, and a healthy Lin makes a difference.

Possible Line-up
PG: Jeremy Lin
Brandon Knight
Chandler Parsons
Jahlil Okafor
Alex Len

Memphis Grizzlies

Approx Cap Situation: $94.5 million (70 million sans Bosh)

GM Points: 60

Record: 23-59 (+9 wins from last season)

Picks: DeAaron Fox (Now Jayson Tatum, #5), Frank Ntilikina (#11), Terrance Ferguson (#21), Isaiah Hartenstein (#33)

Key Players Returning: Dante Exum, Marquese Chriss, Georgios Papagiannis

Unrestricted Free Agents: -

Restricted Free Agents: -

Rumours: Chris Bosh, who has been out for over a year because of a blood condition, is rumoured to be considering retirement. This would aid the Grizzlies in making free agent signings if his massive contract is voided.

Targets: This team is so young and there is a need for some knowledgeable veterans to come in and help guide these youngsters to greatness, with their mindset, work habits and basketball smarts. Look for Memphis to use their cap space to sign as much talent as they can (that other teams either can’t afford or don’t want).

Overview: The Grizzlies have finally held the white flag up for enough seasons to complete a starting five of drafted rookies. Dante has the size to slide across to the 2 and this is the season where we really get to see the future of Memphis in action. The tank has been rolling for three seasons now and the Grizzlies finally need to start trying to get some wins on the board and turning their culture back to a winning one.

Possible Line-up

PG: Frank Ntilikina
SG: Dante Exum
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Marquese Chriss
C: Georgios Papagiannis

Ladder Predictor 2017

Although a lot can change from now to the end of next season, here is my ‘quick glance’ take on where I think the teams will finish at the end of the 17-18 season:

1.      San Antonio Spurs

2.      Houston Rockets

3.      Dallas Mavericks

4.      New Orleans Pelicans

5.      Memphis Grizzlies


  Comments (3) 
06/30 10:50 am
Yeah good call!!
06/30 10:30 am
No way, south east has them well covered:
06/30 09:18 am
Thank God for the spurs. Must be the worst division in terms of win/loss in the entire league.


· What's Next? Central Division

· What's Next? Northwest Division

· What's Next? Southeast Division

· What's Next? Southwest Division

· What's Next? Atlantic Division

· GM of the Year!

· Merencio's Draft Grades

· Nenjabin's (too nice) Draft Grades

· Smokey's Draft Grades





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