Southwest Division Loaded With Young Talented Teams

Grizzlies the favorite, but Mavs and Pelicans ready for jumps this season

The Southwest division is loaded with young, talented teams.

From the faster-than-expected rise of the Grizzlies (favorites at +105 on FanDuel), to the surprise Western Conference Finals birth for the Mavericks (+145), or even the complete 180 done by the Pelicans (+350) after their 1-12 start, last season showed us there's a bright future in the NBA coming from this division.

The question of course now rests on whether the Grizzlies can repeat as champs, or one of these other teams can overtake them.

Memphis and their 56 wins last year propeled them to the top of the odds here, and it's no surprise. Ja Morant was in the MVP conversation then, and will be again with the sixth-best odds to win it (+1300), after having a breakout season last year.

This guarantees nothing though with MVP Luka Doncic (+450) and the Mavs looking to build off of last year's playoff success, and the Pelicans clearly on the rise, and welcoming back what looks to be a healthy and lighter Zion Williamson.

Let's start with the Pels, where it's safe to say they'll enter this season with higher expectations, but those results rest mostly on the still broad, but possibly skinnier shoulders of Zion.

With a win total of 44.5 after winning 36 last year, adding Williamson back to an already young and talented team makes the over there seem more than reasonable, with a big rise possibly on the horizon.

Then there's the Mavs, who depend even more on Doncic's success than the Pels even do with Zion. Does adding Christian Wood while losing Jalen Brunson put this team in a better position than their 52 wins and second-place finish in the division last year?

The Grizzlies showed their talent pool is far deeper than just Morant, going 20-5 with the former No. 2 overall pick out of the lineup during the regular season. That being said, they'll still be missing Jaren Jackson Jr. for at least the first month of the season, a situation they're barely over .500 in, which could have an effect early in the season.

Dallas showed huge growth under head coach Jason Kidd, but they're not as deep or as talented as Memphis with their current roster, being so heavily dependent on Doncic.

As for the Pelicans, well, they're certainly a playoff team, but we need to know whether they get Zion for at least a reasonable amount of games for a season before we start talking about them winning a division.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, the Rockets and Spurs are both +24000, so this is the only mention they'll get.

In the end, Memphis is still the best bet here, with the Mavs as a potential sleeper should injuries cause bigger problems than expected for the Grizzlies. Both can win over 50 games again, but you have to lean towards the most talented team here, and that title still sits with Memphis heading into the season.

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