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NBA Training Camp Watch: Southwest Division

NBA Training Camp Watch: Southwest Division
Oct 09, 2006, 12:39 am
A look at the training camp rosters of all five Southwest Division teams, with an eye on open spots on each roster, and the potential favorites we might see emerge.

Dallas Mavericks

Guaranteed Contracts:

Maurice Ager
Greg Buckner
Austin Croshere
Erick Dampier
DeSagana Diop
Devean George
Devin Harris
Josh Howard
Anthony Johnson
DJ Mbenga
Pops Mensah-Bonsu
Dirk Nowitzki
Jerry Stackhouse
Jason Terry

Partially Guaranteed:

Jose Juan Barea ($25,000)
Pat Carroll ($110,000)
Ndudi Ebi ($90,000)

Non-Guaranteed:

Darius Washington Jr.

Analysis: The Mavericks brought four players into training camp to battle for the 15th and final spot, after giving Pops Mensah-Bonsu a fully guaranteed contract. Unlike some owners out there, Mark Cuban doesn’t have a problem doling out some cash to ensure that his team’s training camp gets their pick of the free agent crop; to the tune of $225,000. Jose Juan Barea got $25,000, Pat Carroll got $110,000, and Ndudi Ebi got $90,000. Darius Washington Jr. didn’t get anything. Despite the proportion of money the players got, its tough to declare a favorite early on, as the Mavs are basically stacked at every position that their training camp invites play. As you may have figured out by now, we like Barea, but being behind three excellent point guards in Jason Terry, Devin Harris and Anthony Johnson isn’t easy.




Houston Rockets

Guaranteed Contracts:

Rafer Alston
Shane Battier
Ryan Bowen
Chuck Hayes
Luther Head
Juwan Howard
John Lucas
Tracy McGrady
Yao Ming
Dikembe Mutombo
Steve Novak
Kirk Snyder
Vassilis Spanoulis
Bonzi Wells
Bob Sura

Partially Guaranteed:

Kelenna Azubuike ($50,000)

Non-Guaranteed:

Matt Haryasz
Casey Jacobsen
Scott Padgett

Analysis: On paper the Rockets have 15 fully guaranteed contracts, but Bob Sura is still in rehab and might be forced to hang them up, which would clear up one spot. He did not make it to the beginning of training camp, but will wait a few weeks to test out his knee one last time and make a final decision. If he does, that still leaves three players that need to be cut amongst Azubuike ($50,000 guaranteed), Haryasz, Padgett and Jacobsen. The Rockets like Haryasz in particular, and considering that he plays their shallowest position at the 4/5 puts him in possibly the best shape of the four. The uncertainty revolving around Tracy McGrady’s back might mean that the team opts to keep a perimeter player (Jacobsen would then be the favorite), but Bonzi Wells’ signing gives them some flexibility there.



Memphis Grizzlies

Guaranteed Contracts:

Chucky Atkins
Brian Cardinal
Pau Gasol
Rudy Gay
Alexander Johnson
Dahntay Jones
Eddie Jones
Kyle Lowry
Mike Miller
Lawrence Roberts
Damon Stoudamire
Stromile Swift
Jake Tsakalidis
Hakim Warrick

Non-Guaranteed:

Kimani Ffriend
Junior Harrington
Tarence Kinsey
Laron Profit

Analysis: The Grizzlies also have 14 guaranteed contracts on their roster, and might be looking for some temporary help in the post while Pau Gasol gets healthy. Kimani Ffriend certainly flashes signs of NBA talent on occasion, but there are major question marks about his mental approach to the game. Junior Harrington has a good chance considering that the Grizzlies have a 20-year old rookie and two undersized veterans that haven’t been completely healthy over the past few years at this position. Tarence Kinsey broke a bone in his face and will be out all of training camp, which puts him at a serious disadvantage and means the coaching staff will have to go strictly off of what they saw from him in summer league. This battle will likely go down to the last week of camp to decide who gets the final spot.




New Orleans Hornets

Guaranteed Contracts:

Hilton Armstrong
Brandon Bass
Rasual Butler
Tyson Chandler
Bobby Jackson
Marc Jackson
Linton Johnson
Desmond Mason
Jannero Pargo
Chris Paul
Cedric Simmons
Peja Stojakovic
Marcus Vinicius
David West

Non-Guaranteed:

Luis Flores
Scooter McFadgon

Analysis: 14 guaranteed contracts here too if you include Marquinhos, and the Hornets brought in two players to compete for a spot at the position they are weakest at, the combo/shooting guard spot. Both Flores and McFadgon are lethal scorers with questionable attitudes who seemingly bring little else in terms of what they offer in their time on the floor, but McFadgon at least drew solid reviews for the way he played at the Summer Pro League in Long Beach this past July. The Hornets could keep one of them around for the sake of having insurance, or they could just as well stay at 14 contracts in anticipation of someone more attractive becoming available.




San Antonio Spurs

Guaranteed Contracts:

Brent Barry
Matt Bonner
Bruce Bowen
Jackie Butler
Tim Duncan
Francisco Elson
Michael Finley
Manu Ginobili
Robert Horry
Fabricio Oberto
Tony Parker
Beno Udrih
Jacque Vaughn
Eric Williams

Partially Guaranteed:

Rich Melzer ($20,000)
Jamar Smith ($20,000)

Non-Guaranteed:

Olu Famutimi
Charles Lee
Jared Reiner
Melvin Sanders

Analysis: The Spurs brought in 6 players to fight for their 15th and final spot, but we’re talking about a team that is usually known for going into the season with 14 players. Gregg Popovich’s tirade in the media about Beno Udrih’s injury history makes things a little more interesting though. Jamar Smith has shown some improvement in his two years since graduating from college, particularly with the way he played in the Rocky Mountain Revue this summer. He received 20K upfront to attend camp. Rich Melzer is a long and versatile combo forward who fills a need the Spurs. He also took 20K to come in. Melvin Sanders also has to get a long look as the incumbent, but Charles Lee has been pointed out as possibly being the most impressive in early practices so far. Again, the Spurs could decide to cut all six players, but they have an interesting crop who will at least make that difficult on the coaching staff.

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