NBA Offseason Grades Roundtable: Southwest Division

Houston Rockets, James Harden
Photo: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Another year, another NBA offseason dwindling down. Before we know it, media days and camp will be here, and the preseason will be tipping off. However, for now, the hottest topics are how all of the teams did this offseason in order to prepare themselves for this year. So, we will be breaking down each division in roundtable fashion, and we started with the Northwest Division last week. 

This week we will be assessing the Southwest Division which is composed of the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies. Our participants are…

DJ Allen: @DJAllen23

Alfonso De Falco: @FonzyDeFalco

Alec Walt: @AlecWalt

B.J. Boyer: @wcboyer24

Cyril Mpacko: @Cee_Armel

General Consensus

San Antonio Spurs, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge
Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

San Antonio Spurs: B-

Analysis from DJ Allen: Losing Tim Duncan hurts but we all knew it was about that time. However, they got a talented big in Pau Gasol who has a lot of game left and they also signed David Lee who’s a walking double-double. According to the NBA rookies, the Spurs got the steal of the draft in Dejounte Murray who people are saying has a lot of promise in this league.

Highest grade: A- from Alec Walt: The Spurs watched Tim Duncan say his farewells, but managed to prevent a sizable drop-off in front court talent by nabbing Pau Gasol in free agency. There are questions about their interior defense and the two aging vets in Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, but San Antonio still remains one of the most best coached and most well-rounded teams in the Association and possibly the Golden State Warriors’ stiffest competition out West.

Dallas Mavericks, Harrison Barnes
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Mavericks: C

Analysis from Alfonzo De Falco: The Dallas Mavericks made a couple moves this offseason. They signed Harrison Barnes to replace Chandler Parsons, which I think is an upgrade. Dallas also acquired Andrew Bogut to help out their center needs and signed Seth Curry to bring energy in their older point guard depth. The Mavs have always missed out on big name targets and it looks the same again. I can see them making a playoff run, but it won’t be a deep one.

Lowest grade: C- from B.J. Boyer: Over the last several seasons the Mavericks have flanked Dirk Nowitzki with placeholder players in hopes of keeping Dallas’ championship window slightly ajar, but this summer they went a route that has been atypical for them in recent years by signing former Warriors forward Harrison Barnes to a max, long-term deal. They also added Andrew Bogut to beef up their defense in the paint and got a draft steal in A.J. Hammons, but none of their acquisitions move the ledger enough for me to consider them contenders in the West. (PS: Watch out for Dwight Powell and Justin Anderson.)

Houston Rockets: C-

Houston Rockets, Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson
Photo: Karen Warren, Houston Chronicle

Analysis from DJ Allen: Nothing that the Houston Rockets did jumps out at me on paper. They got Ryan Anderson who can stretch the floor and an aging Nene to fill the center position. Championship ready? No, but they can make the playoffs off the strength of James Harden.

Highest grade: B- from Alfonzo De Falco: The top move I think Houston did was hiring Mike D’Antoni as the head coach. This is a perfect guy to help out James Harden run a fast paced offense. Signing Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson shows that they want to change more to a fast-paced shooting team. Losing Dwight Howard hurts, but the Rockets have a couple of nice young centers that may need time to develop.

New Orleans Pelicans, Buddy Hield
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Pelicans: B

Analysis from Cyril Mpacko: Buddy Hield in time should be able to replace what was lost in Eric Gordon’s departure. Jordan Hamilton, Solomon Hill and Terrence Jones are proven guys who’ve shown they can contribute. They’ll also benefit from “greener pastures” in New Orleans. I like Langston Galloway a lot and he should be a valued piece off the bench. Key word for this team is health.

Lowest grade: C from B.J. Boyer: New Orleans drafted Buddy Hield and added some quality pieces in Solomon Hill and Terrence Jones, but I’m not sure exactly how they’ll all fit. One move that went under the radar was the re-singing of reserve point guard Tim Frazier, who had a strong end to the season for the Pelicans last year.

Memphis Grizzlies, Chandler Parsons
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Memphis Grizzlies: B+

Analysis from Alec Walt: Memphis signed Mike Conley to the largest contract in NBA history, and added Chandler Parsons. They still lack consistent range shooting and health is always a concern, but in terms of talent this is one of the most compelling teams in the league. 

Lowest grade: C+ from Cyril Mpacko: Memphis re-signed Conley (overpaid) signed Chandler Parsons, James Ennis & drafted defensive stud Wade Baldwin. Memphis has always been able to defend and play gritty, yet they’ve once again failed to address their biggest flaw: scoring.



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