My Western Conference Draft Review continues with the Southwest Division. If you missed the Northwest Division, click here.
Key Additions: Shane Larkin
The Mavericks traded back in the draft, which was what they wanted to do. They even managed to pick up Shane Larkin, an underrated point guard out of Miami. Larkin is one of my favorite prospects in the draft. Although there is nothing flashy about his game, he is a solid, all-around point guard that can shoot, pass, and run the pick-and-roll.
Rumor has it that Larkin is the only player Boston wants from the Mavs in the case of a trade involving Rondo. If Larkin turns out to be the main piece that lands Rondo in Dallas, this will be considered a very successful draft.
Key Additions: Isaiah Canaan
Isaiah Canaan is a back-up point guard and nothing more. Canaan gives Houston flexibility at the point guard position. If they manage to sign Dwight Howard, they can package Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik in a trade and Canaan will be a solid back-up for Patrick Beverley, as both are much better shooters than Lin. Good value pick for the Rockets.
The Grizzlies got the steal of the draft in Jamaal Franklin at 41. The athletic swingman out of San Diego State was projected to go in the late-teens to early-twenties, but fell down the board on draft night, perhaps due to his inability to shoot the ball.
Franklin does have tremendous potential, however, on the defensive end of the floor. He is aggressive, rebounds exceptionally well, and plays the passing lanes. The Grizzlies are hoping that he can be Tony Allen 2.0 for them, and there is a good chance he could become a Tony Allen-type player.
Koufos is a capable big man that will likely back up Marc Gasol. A solid pick-up that only cost the Grizz Darrell Arthur and the rights to Joffrey Lauvergne.
New Orleans Pelicans
Key Additions: Jrue Holiday
The Pelicans did well for a team that wants to win now. Jrue Holiday will contribute much more this year than Noel will, and whenever you can get a young all-star point guard, you go for it.
The core of Holiday, Anthony Davis, and Eric Gordon(or perhaps Tyreke Evans), surrounded by players such as Greivis Vasquez, Ryan Andersen, and Brook Lopez should put up a good fight for the 8th seed in a competitive West. The challenge is to keep both Davis and Gordon healthy and happy, which New Orleans just can't seem to do.
San Antonio Spurs
Key Additions: Livio Jean-Charles, Deshaun Thomas
The San Antonio Spurs picked Jean-Charles and Thomas, so they must be good, right?
Or at least that seems to be the thought-process for many NBA fans, and most of the time they are right.
Jean-Charles is a draft-and-stash pick that won't play in the NBA for a few years. But who knows, maybe when he does come over, he will turn out to be a key part of a championship team. It's the Spurs, after all.
Thomas is the type of player that could thrive in the Spurs' system. A great scorer and shooter, he won't be asked to do too much, and can focus on spotting up in the corner and playing good defense. Thomas has a good chance, just like everyone else the Spurs draft, to develop into a solid role player.