Apr 14, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots during the fourth quarter against the San Antonio Spurs at Toyota Center. The Rockets defeated the Spurs 104-98. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
The Southwest Division features the returning champion San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs won their fourth title under Gregg Popovich, and even with Tim Duncan in his twilight years, the engine is well-oiled and efficient. It was enough to overpower one of the best trios in recent history in Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James in Miami.
The Grizzlies have been a playoff staple for a half decade now, and the Houston Rockets re-emerged following the 2012 acquisition of James Harden. The Dallas Mavericks are not going quietly, and retooled by signing away Chandler Parsons from the Rockets this offseason. The New Orleans
Pelicans cannot be written off, either, and snagged the 8th spot in the power rankings here yesterday. Indeed, it is a division which could feature five of the eight playoff teams in the West.