November 17, 2012

Battle For Supremacy: State of Texas

By - Jaquan Murphy

They say everything is always bigger in Texas, so it's only fitting that the third and final installment of our 'Battle For Supremacy' series has three teams fighting for control of the state -- with the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs all vying for position as the dominant team.

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For the last couple of years, the Houston Rockets have been average at best. However, they made several moves in the offseason that should have them heading in the right direction.

With the acquisitions of Omer Asik, Jeremy Lin, and dynamic scorer James Harden, the Rockets tried to gain pieces to close the gap between themselves and the other two Texas powerhouses. They team up the new guys with young forwards Patrick Patterson and Chandler Parsons. With this core group, the Rockets hope to make a run at the playoffs.

Houston's big flaw is their bench. With a variety of unknowns and career backups, questions will be raised about their ability to generate points consistently and play solid defense against elite second units in the NBA.

Toney Douglas and Daequan Cook man the backcourt of the second team. Cole Aldrich is the big man of the group, and he is joined by Terrence Jones and Carlos Delfino at the forwards. With no one who can consistently do for themselves, the Rockets second unit is going to have to rely on solid teamwork and a little luck to keep the team in games when their better scorers are not on the floor.

Not too far away are the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs will rely on a group of scrappy veterans that will not back down from anything.

They feature a fast, unrelenting backcourt of Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo, who both show they are capable of lighting it up on any given night. Their frontcourt will consist of Elton Brand and Chris Kaman. Both have proved to be serviceable big men in the NBA, and are capable of doing more good than bad for the team. Jae Crowder rounds out the starting five. The best thing about the Mavs' starting lineup is that it will only get better once all-star forward Dirk Nowitzki returns from injury.

Their bench does not disappoint either. Led by veteran Vince Carter, they are more than capable of keeping the game under control while the starters regroup. Although up there in age, Carter is still able to put a team on his back for spans if needed. Journeyman Troy Murphy can also come off the bench and throw in a few points of his own and control the boards. Dahntay Jones, Rodrigue Beaubois and Brandan Wright round out the second squad.

The team that has had a stranglehold on the state of Texas for the better part of the last decade, the San Antonio Spurs, look to maintain their top spot.

The all-star duo of Tony Parker and Tim Duncan lead a balanced group of crafty veterans. Kawhi Leonard, Boris Diaw and Gerald Green round out a balanced starting lineup that looks to keep the Spurs in the ranks of the other Western Conference powerhouses.

San Antonio's bench is strong as well. They can call on players such as Manu Ginobili and Stephen Jackson, who are both capable of taking over a game at any given moment. Undersized DeJuan Blair and scrappy Tiago Splitter man the front lines, and Gary Neal runs the point for the second unit.

Now the question is -- of this Texas team trio, who is king, and who are the ones competing for second place?

With Houston's acquisition of James Harden and Jeremy Lin, it put major expectations on a team that isn't quite ready for them yet. With a guy as dynamic as Harden and one as popular as Lin, the Rockets are now expected to make the playoffs at minimum.

The pressure will eventually be too much for the younger players.

Dallas poses a serious threat to take the top spot. However, as solid as their team is, they still have a few looming questions that may keep them from achieving ultimate supremacy.

That leaves the team that has held, and will continue to hold, the title of 'Best in Texas' -- the San Antonio Spurs.

Of the three teams, they are the ones that have the least questions and the most consistency. Not to mention, they have one of the most cerebral coaches in the league in Gregg Popovich.

With a balanced lineup of crafty vets mixed with a few young legs, the Spurs are not only poised to be the best in the state, but they have a chance to be the best in the entire Western Conference.


  1. You could argue that since the Mavs were the last team on the state to win a title, they still own it. Even Spur fans think the Spurs are boring. Lol

  2. Dallas and Houston can't hang with San Anton. They are one of the best teams in the league.