The Houston Rockets dominated the NBA Southwest with three-straight division titles, but there’s a new sheriff in town. The Dallas Mavericks, led by Slovenian wunderkind Luka Doncic, are -225 odds favorites to win the Southwest division according to a recent update by DraftKings.
Doncic, 21, is about to start his third season in the NBA. Doncic missed the playoffs as a rookie when the Mavs were in rebuilding mode and went 33-49.
Last season, the Mavs went 43-32 and secured a playoff spot with a #7 seed in the Western Conference. Doncic got his first taste of the postseason, but played with a tremendous amount of pain while nursing a sore ankle. The LA Clippers knocked out the Mavs in six games in the opening round of the playoffs.
|NBA SOUTHWEST DIVISION ODDS|
- Dallas Mavericks -225
- Houston Rockets -500
- New Orleans Pelicans +500
- Memphis Grizzlies +1200
- San Antonio Spurs +3300
Each division in the NBA has its ebbs and flows. Heading into the 2020-21 season, the Southwest is a division in flux. Over the last decade, either the San Antonio Spurs or Houston Rockets won the Southwest, with the Spurs winning the division six times and the Rockets topping the division four times since 2010.
With the Spurs’ glory years in the dust and the Rockets hitting CTRL-ALT-DELETE, the Mavericks find themselves in an advantageous spot to win their first division crown in a decade.
Beginning of the Doncic Domination?
The Southwest originated in 2004-05 during the NBA’s realignment. During the early days of the Southwest, the Mavericks won the newly-minted division twice in the first six years.
The Mavericks won the NBA title only once, back in 2011, when they defeated LeBron James and the Miami Heat. Dirk Nowitzki was a one-man wrecking crew in the 2011 NBA Finals, averaging 26 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.
The Mavs hope that Doncic can lead them to their second NBA crown. He proved to the doubters and haters that his rookie season (21.2 ppg, 7.8 rebounds, 6.1 assists) wasn’t a fluke. In his second season, Doncic was a triple-double machine. He averaged 28.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 8.8 assists.
Coming into his third season, Doncic is one of the favorites to win the MVP. The Mavs are 22/1 odds to win the NBA championship, according to the Mirage Sports Book in Las Vegas.
Fade the Rockets, Zion Effect
The Houston Rockets are in rebuilding mode, having recently hired a new head coach and general manager. They also traded Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards in exchange for John Wall and a draft pick. Harden and Wall, on paper, seems like a dangerous duo. But there’s only one ball, which could be problematic for Harden and his ball-hog mentality.
Harden, the disgruntled voluminous scorer and strip club aficionado, finally showed up to training camp after a pitstop in Las Vegas. Harden demanded a trade, but the Rockets are in no rush to trade him to the Brooklyn Nets or ship him to the Philadelphia 76ers. Despite the uncertainty, the Rockets are -500 to secure a four-peat in the Southwest.
The New Orleans Pelicans are a popular pick at +500 odds to win the Southwest thanks to the popularity of Zion Williamson. Stan Van Gundy takes over as head coach, but the Pels no longer have Jrue Holiday, who carried the team last season. The Pelicans traded Holiday, the top two-way guard in the league, to the Milwaukee Bucks.
We love Ja Morant, and the Memphis Grizzlies could sneak into the playoffs as a #8 seed. However, the Griz are still a couple of players away from becoming a legit threat to take the Southwest crown.