2020-21 Southwest Division Preview

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Welcome to the Ace NBA Preview of the Northwest division for the 2020-21 season. Let’s look at past seasons’ performance, this season’s odds for regular season wins, and offer our thoughts on each team. We’ll breakdown what changed year over year, what to expect for 72 games before the playoffs, and any handicapping angles we like. We’ll be doing one piece for each division, so follow @AceNBAPreviews on Twitter to find other division previews and make sure you get the ones to come as soon as possible.

Notable off-season moves

Out: DeMarre Carroll, Tyson Chandler, Robert Covington, Jeff Green, Austin Rivers, Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha
In: John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Christian Wood, Sterling Brown, Jae’Sean Tate, K.J. Martin Jnr

So much of the success of this team will likely ultimately hinge on whether James Harden remains with the team, which is looking unlikely now. Granted they should get some decent currency in return, there is likely to be an overall drop. John Wall has looked solid in patches during his return to court, however the team looks a little short of guards with Chris Clemons out for the season.

Whilst Covington is an underrated player who has left the team, Wood is just as underrated it seems in walking through the door. We are likely to see a significant increase in output from him this year, and he is a player to watch.

With such uncertainty, it is hard to make a strong call on this team. Happy to rule out winning the whole thing as well as the Western Conference, however their win total looks to be about right given the current state of this team.

Will they make the Playoffs? Play-In candidate

Market of interest: N/A

Notable off-season moves

Out: JJ Barea, Seth Curry, Justin Jackson, Michael-Kidd Gilchrist, Delon Wright
Josh Richardson, James Johnson, Wesley Iwundu

They looked to have become a stronger team on paper year on year. Much of the core has been maintained, and they have been able to add some solid younger players who still have scope to grow and develop their game. Success will hinge on the health of Doncic, who is a genuine MVP candidate this year. They will be one of the more exciting teams to watch, and if they can receive a slightly more consistent output from Porzingis, they will be in this until very late in the piece.

Will they make the Playoffs? Yes

Market of interest: Team Win % over 57.5

Notable off-season moves

Out: Josh Jackson, Anthony Tolliver, Yuta Watanabe, Marko Guduric
In: Desmond Bane, Sean McDermott, Killian Tillie, Xavier Tillman

Will we see enough natural progression in this team to have them in the Playoff picture? Their chemistry at the start of the season should be noticeable, having maintained a very similar overall roster. If they can continue to build, they should be a competitive opponent, however the ceiling of too many other Western Conference teams is higher to consider them for anything more than the Play-In tournament on current rosters. Backing them in to start the season well, and for their Playoff odds to drop, looks to be a decent approach.

Will they make the Playoffs? Play-In Candidate

Market of interest: Memphis to make the Playoffs ‘Yes’ as a starting point for the season ($2.80 / +180)

Notable off-season moves

Out: Marco Belinelli, Bryn Forbes, Chimezie Metu, Tyler Zeller
In: Keita Bates-Diop, Tre Jones, Devin Vassell

It is difficult to get too excited about this roster compared to many of the Spurs’ rosters over the last two decades. Aldridge is coming off a shoulder reconstruction, and by the looks of the pre-season has developed a love for the three-point shot. Expecting a solid output from DeRozan in what is a contract year, so it may be worth keeping an eye on his player markets for the year as well. If things start poorly, do the Spurs blow up the roster, trade DeRozan and potentially Gay/Aldridge and build around their younger core of Murray, White, Johnson and Walker?

Will they make the Playoffs? No

Market of interest: DeMar DeRozan average points per game over 22.5 / Team Win % under 42.5

Notable off-season moves

Out: Jrue Holiday, Derrick Favors, Frank Jackson, Darius Miller, Jahlil Okafor, Kenrich Williams
In: Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe, Wenyen Gabriel, Willy Hernangomez

Another team that we will see show patches of brilliance over the course of the upcoming season. They have lost a big piece of their puzzle in Holiday and look to cover that with Bledsoe and Adams to the best of their ability. The key improvements in this team will be because of the growth and development of Williamson, Ingram, and Ball. Is it enough in a stacked Western Conference? Williamson will need to be fit for most of the season to be a chance of clearly making the 1-6 seed in the playoffs. When you consider 10th gets you into a play-in tournament at least in this very different season, taking them at plus money to make the Playoffs may not be the worst selection for the course of the season. Personally, I am keen to take a step back and observe how they start, as I think the Holiday departure will hurt them more than they realise.

Will they make the Playoffs? Play-in candidate

Market of interest: N/A

*Pythagorean refers to the Pythagorean Expectation based on points scored and points allowed

Thanks for reading! You can reach us on Twitter at @AceNBAPreviews with any thoughts, questions, or general comments on this or anything NBA related. Be sure to follow us there and check back here for more NBA content throughout the season. Best of luck to us!

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Categories: NBA