NBA Southwest Division Odds: Can Anyone Challenge the Mavericks?
The start of the NBA regular season is right around the corner, and FanDuel Sportsbook has posted odds for which team will win each division. That includes the Southwest Division, which features a clear favorite and four challengers:
- Dallas Mavericks -195
- Houston Rockets +480
- New Orleans Pelicans +500
- Memphis Grizzlies +950
- San Antonio Spurs +2800
The Mavericks are led by Luka Doncic, who is coming off one of the best seasons in NBA history for a player at just 21 years old. He averaged 28.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game, and he’s currently the betting favorite to win the MVP award in 2021. Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis propelled the Mavericks to the best offensive rating in the league last year, averaging 117.5 points per 100 possessions.
The big question is just how much better the Mavericks will be in 2021. Doncic and Porzingis should continue to improve, but their supporting cast is virtually unchanged from last year’s squad. Their one big addition was Josh Richardson, who disappointed last year with the 76ers but was a solid player with the Heat in 2018-19.
The Rockets and Pelicans stand out as the two most likely challengers to the division crown. The Rockets have won the division in each of the past three seasons, but they are undergoing a bit of turmoil at the moment. James Harden reportedly does not want to be there anymore, and the Rockets need him in the lineup and motivated if they want to compete with the Mavericks. If they can convince Harden to come back, he’ll join John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins to form an interesting trio. Wall and Cousins have both been superstars in the past, but both players are coming off serious injuries that forced them to miss all of last season.
The Pelicans are a team on the rise but asking them to contend in 2021 feels a bit premature. Zion Williamson certainly has the look of a future superstar, but he still has some holes in his game. His fitness was an issue all last season, and his offensive game remains a work in progress outside of the paint. The Pelicans also traded Jrue Holiday to the Bucks during the offseason, which is a massive loss for this team.
The Grizzlies are another team that could contend for the division crown in the future, but they’re even further away than the Pelicans. They have a solid core in Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr., but the cupboard is otherwise pretty bare.
Finally, 2021 appears to be a rebuilding year for the Spurs. They still have DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge, but their focus will be on the continued development of young guards Derrick White, Dejounte Murray, and Lonnie Walker. All three players showed their potential while the team was playing without Aldridge in the bubble.