Texas Title Contenders Define Life in Southwest

Say what you want about which city produces the best basketball talent, but there’s no denying that Texas is the most powerful state. In addition to the reigning champion San Antonio Spurs, the Lone Star state serves as home to three of the seven top teams on the NBA Championship futures. Not surprisingly, the Spurs lead the Southwest Division; they’re -140 to finish first of the five southwest teams. San Antonio is 4/1 to win the NBA championship outright. We’ve talked at length about the Spurs’ chances of defending their title before, so now let’s focus on the Dwight Howard in Houston experiment. He and James Harden make up one of the most devastating duos in professional sports, but Harden’s 25.4 PPG and Howard’s 12.2 RPG won’t translate into success if they’re not careful against their rivals. The Houston Rockets are 16/1 to win the title. The Mavericks won the title in 2011 and will welcome Tyson Chandler back to their veteran mix. He, plus former Rocket Chandler Parsons will look to partner with veteran Dirk Nowitzki for one last legitimate push. The Dallas Mavericks are 18/1 to win the championship. We don’t envy teams as they hit the road for their trips to Texas. Imagine how exhausting the 2014-2015 campaign will be for Southwest Division rivals New Orleans and Memphis.