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With Aldridge on board, Spurs the team to beat in Southwest

Southwest Division 2015-16 Preview

POSTED: Oct 13, 2015 10:52 AM ET

By Fran Blinebury

BY Fran Blinebury

NBA.com

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SOUTHWEST DIVISION

There are some neighborhoods that it's wise to go out of your way to avoid. The Southwest Division is one where trouble lurks around every corner and that thing that goes bump in the night could be deadly. It will be tough to match last season when all five teams made the playoffs, but top to bottom it remains the league's best division.

DIVISION PREDICTION

1) Spurs*
2) Rockets*
3) Grizzlies*
4) Pelicans*
5) Mavericks

* Playoff teams

SUPERLATIVES

Team On Rise: San Antonio Spurs -- With LaMarcus Aldridge, Spurs are back as one of the championship favorites.

Team On Decline: Dallas Mavericks -- The Mavericks lost out on DeAndre Jordan and their status as a playoff team.

Top Player: James Harden -- James Harden will be right back in the MVP race to lead Rockets.

Top Coach: Gregg Popovich -- The Spurs' longtime leader is simply the best in the game today.

Coach On Hot Seat: Alvin Gentry -- New Orleans' new man has set the bar high for himself and the Pelicans with bold talk.

Top Rookie: Sam Dekker, Houston Rockets -- The streak-shooting former star at Wisconsin could be a perfect fit in shot-happy Houston.

— Fran Blinebury