New Faces In New Places: Southwest Division
A look at some of the new additions to teams in the NBA’s Southwest Division.
After taking a look at the Southeast, Central, Northwest, Pacific, Atlantic Divisions, Basketball Insiders continues its New Faces in New Places series with a look at the Southwest Division.
Chandler Parsons: The biggest move in a busy offseason for Dallas was prying Chandler Parsons away from, their rival, the Houston Rockets. Parsons put together three very solid seasons with the Rockets, on his way to a big pay day this summer signing a deal with Mavericks worth $46.1 million. With the Mavericks making such a big investment in Parsons, expectations will be high. Parsons has the ability to do a little bit of everything. Last season with the Rockets, he averaged 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. What may be most encouraging is the growth Parsons has shown in his three years in the NBA, steadily improving his numbers throughout his career. He will play a vital role this season with the veteran group in place and will be an important player going forward, as many of the team’s older players finish their careers.
Tyson Chandler: Tyson Chandler technically isn’t a new face in a new place as he returns to Dallas for his second stint with the team, but we’ll allow it. Chandler will step right in and be the Mavs’ starting center from day one. He will be counted on for his interior defense, which has been a staple of his game throughout his career. This season will be Chandler’s 14th in the NBA and throughout his career he has never averaged less than 1.1 blocks per game. He will fit right in with the veteran culture in Dallas and will offer a fiery presence in the paint.
Jameer Nelson: After spending the first 10 years of his career in Orlando with the Magic, the two decided to part ways this summer. Nelson joins Dallas and will likely be the team’s starting point guard. He is another one of the Mavericks’ veteran additions that will be counted on to guide the team back to the postseason. Nelson brings a wealth of experience; he has played in 44 playoff games, averaging 15 points per game during those contests. Nelson is still a more than capable shooter from three, despite having a bit of a down year last season, shooting 34.8 percent. He is a career 37.4 percent shooter from deep. He won’t have to be spectacular, just steady, to give the Mavericks what they need from the point guard position.
Raymond Felton: Felton, like Chandler, comes to Dallas from the New York Knicks. He spent last year as the Knicks’ starting point guard but figures to come off the bench behind Jameer Nelson for the Mavs. While Nelson is the likely starter, Felton will still be counted on to play valuable minutes off the bench. Felton struggled mightily last season shooting the ball, as he shot just 39.5 percent from the field and was even worse from three, shooting 31.8 percent. Having a reduced a role will take some of the pressure off Felton to be a scorer, which should help him become more efficient. However, it may take Felton some time to adjust to his new role; over his NBA career he has played in 667 games, starting in 612 of those. If Felton can make the adjustment, his experience should help stabilize the team’s second unit.
Trevor Ariza: When the Rockets decided not to match Chandler Parsons’ offer from the Mavericks, it left them with a huge hole to fill. Parsons had been one of the team’s most productive players over the last three years, doing a little bit of everything. The Rockets understood just how important it was to replace that production, signing veteran forward Trevor Ariza. Ariza played great last season with the Wizards, finishing the season as the team’s third leading scorer and second leading rebounder. James Harden and Dwight Howard will still be expected to carry the load, but Ariza will fit in nicely as a complementary piece. He doesn’t have the same long-term potential as Parsons, however, in the short term the team shouldn’t lose too much.
Jason Terry: The Rockets acquired Terry in an early September trade with the Sacramento Kings. The 37-year-old played in just 35 games in his first and only season with Nets this past year, missing significant time with an injury. Terry isn’t the same player he once was, but he still has the ability to knock down big shots under pressure. He won’t be expected to play heavy minutes with the Rockets, as he just isn’t capable of such a role this late in his career. However, he should fit in well with the Rockets’ up-tempo style and will be able to offer a perimeter threat off the bench.
New Orleans Pelicans
Omer Asik: The biggest offseason addition for the Pelicans was Omer Asik. Asik, who was frustrated with his role in Houston, will almost certainly get the chance to be a starter in New Orleans. He is one of the best rebounders in the game and will give the Pelicans a physical presence alongside Anthony Davis. The duo figures to be one of the better defensive pairs in the West. When Asik has been given the opportunity to start he has been extremely productive; during the 2012-13 season, he started every game for the Rockets, averaging 10.1 points and 11.7 rebounds. The Pelicans will hope to get similar results from their new big man. The addition of Asik gives the Pelicans another talented piece to a core that already includes Jrue Holiday, Anthony Davis and Tyreke Evans among others. The Pelicans have a chance to be one of the more surprising teams in the NBA this coming season.
John Salmons: The Pelicans added the veteran Salmons this summer, signing him to a reasonable one-year, $2 million deal. Salmons gives the Pelicans experience wing off the bench with his ability to get hot and go on scoring runs. He can be a streaky, but he has proven throughout his career that he can score in a variety of ways. He will be part of the Pelicans’ second unit and his experience should help stabilize the group. If he can consistently score the ball off bench, he may prove to be one of the better value signings of this offseason.
San Antonio Spurs
Kyle Anderson: To no one’s surprise, the Spurs were very quiet during free agency. They instead opted to spend their money to re-sign and extend many of their own players. Boris Diaw, Patty Mills, Matt Bonner and Aron Baynes all agreed to new deals and Tony Parker was signed to a contract extension. However, they did land one of the more intriguing prospects in this past draft in Kyle Anderson. Anderson, who stands at 6’9, is an excellent passer who does a great job finding cutters. He has been compared to Diaw, with his ability to handle and operate with the ball despite his size as well as play multiple positions. Anderson will likely be groomed to play a role similar to what Diaw currently plays. He won’t be counted on immediately, but has the chance to be an impact player down the road.
Vince Carter: One of the more surprising moves of the summer was Vince Carter signing with the Grizzlies. Carter, who played the last three seasons with Dallas, signed a three-year deal with Memphis worth $12.3 million. The team has relied on Tony Allen to handle a good chunk of the shooting guard minutes over the last few years. Allen is clearly an elite defender, one of the best at his position in the NBA today, but isn’t much of a threat on offense. The addition of Carter will give the Grizzlies a great alternative to Allen (as well as Courtney Lee) when they are looking to put out a more offensive-minded lineup. He has developed a very good three-point shot late in his career, shooting 40.6 percent in 2012-13 and 39.4 percent this past season. His ability to score from the perimeter should prove valuable and help the Grizzlies space the floor, giving their two big men room to operate. In addition to Carter, Memphis added two rookies who could have an impact this season in Jordan Adams and Jarnell Stokes.
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