New Orleans Pelicans: Biggest questions for teams in the Southwest

Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies reacts during the game against the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies reacts during the game against the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Pelicans, Brandon Ingram
Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) dribbles against New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports /

New Orleans Pelicans: Questions for the Southwest Division

Are the San Antonio Spurs….gulp… tanking?

I don’t think a team led by Gregg Popovich, who in my opinion is the greatest coach in NBA history, is ever going to fully tank, but they may not have a choice.

The Spurs made the play-in tournament last season and looked like they were on the come up, as they had an All-Star in Dejounte Murray and a whole bunch of good young players around him.

But they traded Murray away and went VERY young. Their two best players next season might be teenagers, and while I know Pop will instill good fundamentals and have them playing hard, it’s difficult to see this team really being competitive next season.

The Spurs would love to add a guy like Victor Wembanyama to this group, so one year of tanking to add to their stockpile of young talent might be just what they need. I would hate to see Pop’s last season be a losing one, so I hope he sticks around for a few more years to see this through, but all signs point towards the Spurs tanking for the first time since the year before they drafted Tim Duncan.

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Did the Dallas Mavericks do enough to improve around Luka Doncic?

The Mavericks have one of the best players in the league in Luka Doncic, but his supporting cast leaves a lot to be desired.

Doncic carried the Mavs to the 4th seed last season and probably should have gotten more MVP votes for it, because the team around him wasn’t that great.

They let their second-best player (Jalen Brunson) go to the Knicks and picked up Christian Wood in a trade and JaVale McGee in free agency. I am not super high on Wood to be honest, as he has mostly been a stat stuffer on bad teams and never really contributed to winning.

McGee is a solid veteran still, but hardly a guy that is going to push them over the top. A full season of Spencer Dinwiddie should help cover the loss of Brunson, but again, he’s hardly a star at this point in his career.

It’s going to be the Luka show once again, and there is a good chance the Mavericks will drop in the standings, especially if Luka suffers an injury and has to miss time, as without him, this is a lottery team.