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NBA Preview Pt 6: Southwest
<p>Our six-part special ends as the NBA Season begins!</p>
| Oct 28, 2009
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The Grizzlies, while not currently a serious threat, are building momentum for the years to come. They have the youth and the talent to become a force to contend with, two to three years down the road. [firstpara] Rookie Hasheem Thabeet, has the potential to grow into becoming a Dikembe-Mutombo-like center and will definitely see ample playing time to showcase his defensive  skills. Rudy Gay will need to assert himself more on offense and take a more involved leadership as his team blossoms with every developmental stride he takes.

Coach: Bryon Scott
Projected Starting Five:
PG: Chris Paul
SG: Morris Peterson
SF: Julian Wright
PF: David West
Emeka Okafor

Key Additions: Emeka Okafor, Ike Diogu, Marcus Thornton (R)
Key Losses: Tyson Chandler, Rasal Butler, Jannero Pargo 

The New Orleans Hornets got lucky when they were able to trade oft-injured center Tyson Chandler for the younger and more defensive-minded Emeka Okafor. In spite of the team being ravaged by injuries to many of its players last season, All-Star point guard Chris Paul deftly carried the team on his shoulders.

With majority of the team entering the regular season relatively healthy and with the prospects of development in young players like Ike Diogu and Julian Wright, the Hornets should be able to improve on their 2008-2009 campaign this year. Julian Wright is expected to start at a small forward over Peja Stojakovic in order to preserve Peja's durability as he has a history of chronic back problems. Wright brings more defense and versatility to the team's starting lineup.

Coach: Gregg Popovich
Projected Starting Five:
PG: Tony Parker
SG: Roger Mason
SF: Richard Jefferson
PF: Tim Duncan
Antonio McDyess

Key Additions: Richard Jefferson, Antonio McDYess, Theo Ratliff, DeJuan Blair (R)
Key Losses:
Drew Gooden, BRuce Bowen, Fabricio Oberto

The window of opportunity for Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs to win another NBA title is quickly coming to a close. The Spurs have decided to go for their "last hurrah" this season by adding scoring swingman Richard Jefferson into the fold, perhaps to ease the pressure on both Tony Parker and Tim Duncan.

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They have the coach, the system, and the talent to make a solid championship run. Their success will be predicated on how well Manu Ginobili and Tim "The Big Fundamental" Duncan can remain healthy throughout this season. Veteran big man, Antonio McDyess and rookie power forward, DeJuan Blair add depth to the team's front court. The Spurs and its lock-down defense will be a headache of a matchup for many teams this season. They are going to be a force to be reckoned with once they reach the NBA Playoffs.  

Click here to read part 5 of the NBA preview special


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