Project Shanks NBA Preview: Southwest Division

By Matthew Carpenter
PSDC Writer

NBA SOUTHWEST DIVISION PREVIEW

tim-duncan

Since the NBA realigned to six divisions in 2004, this might be the best division ever assembled. All five teams have the ability to make the playoffs. It will be fun to watch and is really difficult to project.

Projected Order of Finish

1. Spurs. The coolest thing about the Spurs’ 2013-14 regular season run is that they won 62 games and had no player average more than 30 minutes-per-game. (Tom Thibodeau please take note.) I won’t hide my bias. Gregg Popovich is my favorite coach in any professional sport in my lifetime. If you’re into stats, check out just how valuable Pop has been to his team relative to win expectancy.

Say ‘Hello’ to: (assistant coach) Becky Hammon. This is only a cool story because it’s not a gimmick. I know very little about Hammon but I know GM R.C. Buford and Pop wouldn’t hire her if it didn’t help the team.

Outlook: No one manages a roster better than Pop, but he can’t control Father Time. In the playoffs, will San Antonio have 2012 Manu Ginobli or 2013 Manu? Sure the emergence of Kawhi Leonard and Patty Mills helps age-related concerns, but each year the core gets older, the tighter the fingers are crossed. They’re a team capable of another title run, but matching last season’s greatness will be a tall order. [Read more…]

Mavericks Make Statement Then Hang On to Sweep Pelicans

By Darreck Kirby
PSDC Dallas Mavericks Beat Writer

While the New Orleans Pelicans might not be one of the league’s best and brightest franchises, they are a youthful squad with an up and coming superstar named Anthony Davis. And did I mention the kid is only 19? Be sure to keep that in mind when you hear his numbers here in a bit.

First Dallas went into New Orleans and drilled 14 3-pointers (out of 28 attempts) to run the home team out of their own gym 107-90. Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavs to 62 first half points Friday night, giving the big German something to smile about as his offense begins to shape up on its way into the heart of the NBA season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

“That’s when we’re our best, when we attack and get some good shots out of it,” said Nowitzki, who led the Mavs with 24 points in just 28 minutes. “When we lose some games it’s usually on the defensive side and on the rebounding side, so if we defend and rebound, I like our offense.” [Read more…]

Mavericks Fend Off Pelicans, Win Second in a Row

By Darreck Kirby
PSDC Dallas Mavericks Beat Writer

It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but then trips to New Orleans rarely are for the Mavericks. Though Dallas has now won three of its past four in the Big Easy, they’d loss their last 11 before that. And while Chris Paul may have been the most notable cause for that unwanted streak, New Orleans has remained a difficult place for Mark Cuban’s Mavericks.

Dirk-Nowitzki-Shooting

Dirk Nowitzki scored just 21 points but it was his clutch plays late, with the exception of a missed free throw that nearly came back to haunt the Mavs, that sealed the victory. To put it simply, Dirk was Dirk, though not just in the way we’ve come to use that phrase. Nowitzki came up with two huge blocks late under the basket that changed the game’s momentum and allowed Dallas to steal one against the feisty Pelicans on the road. [Read more…]

NBA Draft Winners and Losers

By Ryan Haidinger
PSDC Writer

The 2013 NBA Draft was supposed to be one of the worst ever. While the players it produced may not become hall of famers, the draft itself provided compelling TV and plenty of trade chaos. Here are three teams I feel had good draft nights and three teams that left me scratching my head.

WINNERS:

New Orleans Pelicans- The Pelicans kicked off the trading frenzy of the 2013 draft landing all-star point guard Jrue Holliday in a trade with the 76ers. New Orleans traded the sixth overall pick, Nerlens Noel, and next year’s first-round pick for Holliday, instantly improving their roster. Holliday will slide in next to Eric Gordon to form a very talented backcourt. Paired with last year’s top pick Anthony Davis, the Pelicans have three very good, young players to build around.

Cleveland Cavaliers- The Cavs shocked most people by selecting Anthony Bennett, who was projected to go somewhere between 5-10, No. 1 overall. Cleveland has been criticized by some for reaching to take Bennett over higher rated players. In my mind, there was no sure thing in this draft and if you can’t trade down, which Cleveland tried to do, you should take the player you like. I give the Cavs front office credit for going after the player they wanted and not giving in to the pressure to take Noel. With their second pick, Cleveland got one of the best shooters in the draft in Sergey Karasev, a 6’7 sharpshooter from Russia. Cleveland now has a freak athlete and a great shooter to surround elite point guard Kyrie Irving.

[Read more…]

2013 NBA Draft Lottery: Team-by-Team Needs

By Robbie Marbury
PSDC Big Man

Tonight, the NBA announced the winners of the 2013 NBA Draft Lottery. It goes without saying, if you are in the lottery you need a lot of help, but each team has a different need. This is how the lottery shook out and what needs each team needs to address in the draft this season.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers- SF, PF, C, SG

Cleveland is the only really bad team that already has a superstar, Kyrie Irving, now they need to get him some help. The really need an outside shooter at the two-guard or small forward position. Also, finding a replacement for Anderson Varejao needs to be addressed.

2. Orlando Magic- PG, PF, C, SG

Orlando only has one point-guard under contract and that is overpaid, under-talented, 31-year-old Jameer Nelson. Orlando has several young pieces from the Dwight Howard trade, but they don’t have a go-to scorer or a player that can get in the lane and make plays for others.

3. Washington Wizards- SF, PF, C

With John Wall and Bradley Beal, the Wizards are set in the backcourt. Washington needs to add more rebounding and better interior defense. A small forward that can shoot will help space the floor and open up the lane for Wall and Beal.  [Read more…]