The Southwest Division put five teams in the playoffs this past season and may well do so again in 2015/16, but it doesn’t receive much love from the ESPN Insider 5-on-5 crew, none of whom rank the Spurs or another Southwest team as the NBA’s best heading into the coming season. The Spurs and Rockets get one nomination each for No. 2, and while San Antonio gets plenty of support for No. 3, Bradford Doolittle and Ethan Sherwood Strauss both cite marquee free agent signing LaMarcus Aldridge‘s need for an adjustment period as one reason why they don’t rank the Spurs more highly. While we wait to see if the Spurs indeed encounter a measure of adversity, see more from around the Southwest here:
- The Rockets understand the risk involved in having traded for Ty Lawson, GM Daryl Morey tells Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com, who details Lawson’s string of alcohol-related brushes with the law and his potential path to recovery. “We take those very seriously,” Morey said of Lawson’s issues. “He’s had some very serious incidents in his past and in his recent past. We feel like he’s part of the Rockets family now and through our conversations with him we feel confident he’s getting the help he needs and he’s taken that step to say this is something he needs to do is improve on those areas.”
- The agent for Boban Marjanovic disputes the Spurs‘ claims that he’s not healthy enough to play for his national team this summer, as Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News details. The Serbian Basketball Federation is also fighting the decision that the Spurs made over concerns about ankle and foot problems for the center whom they signed last month. “After the game, he didn’t play basketball for 5 weeks,” agent Misko Raznatovic wrote on Twitter, referring to a June 28th contest (Twitter links). “Absolutely out of physical activity. And now is badly injured and can’t play! NO WAY!”
- The subtraction of Monta Ellis, the additions of Wesley Matthews, Deron Williams, John Jenkins and first-round pick Justin Anderson, and the retention of Charlie Villanueva set the Mavericks up to become more of an outside shooting team this coming season, as Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com examines.