The best player for each franchise in the Southwest Division

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San Antonio Spurs

For the first time in 19 years, Tim Duncan cannot be considered when asking the question: Who is the San Antonio Spurs' best player?

Nevertheless, the answer is pretty simple and has arguably been the same for the past two years regardless.

Kawhi Leonard - the reigning back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year - has emerged as a quiet, but undeniable superstar. The small forward is also potent from three-point range having knocked down 44.3 percent of his efforts last term.

2016 was a breakout year for the 25-year-old as he made his first All-Star appearance and made the All-NBA First Team, but he hasn't even realised his full potential yet.

If Pau Gasol was five years younger, we would have a discussion on our hands.

Top Three: 1) Kawhi Leonard 2) LaMarcus Aldridge 3) Tony Parker

Houston Rockets

James Harden is the runaway superstar of this franchise, but the question seems to be: Who can play with him?

Dwight Howard and Ty Lawson found out last season that they lie in the 'can't' pile for that conversation.

Harden is a ball dominant guard with extraordinary offensive prowess. The four-time All-Star was only second to Stephen Curry in points last year with a career-high 29 a night, but he also managed career-best averages with 6.1 rebounds and 7.5 assists, too.

The problem is, those stats did not equate to success for the Rockets. They only just scraped into the playoffs before a 4-1 exit at the hands of the Golden State Warriors, so how can Harden bring out the best in those around him?

The best players always do.

Top Three: 1) James Harden 2) Nene 3) Patrick Beverley

Dallas Mavericks

After missing out on DeAndre Jordan last summer, Mark Cuban finally got his hands on some stars this year.

Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut were two starting pieces in the 73-game winning Golden State Warriors team and now they will slot into a Dallas side that are always in the playoff shakeup.

However, Dirk Nowitzki is still the pillar of the franchise. The 38-year-old German is yet to suffer the age-driven decline that got ahold of Kevin Garnett and many others, and his numbers last year were respectable.

18.6 points a night and 6.5 rebounds are only a shade under his career averages and while the young Barnes settles in to a more prominent role on offence, Nowitzki is still the leader of the Dallas ship.

Top Three: 1) Dirk Nowitzki 2) Harrison Barnes 3) Andrew Bogut

Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies might not have many, if any household names, but they have the delightful habit of consistently making the playoffs year in, year out.

Many might feel that Mike Conley Jr. is the best player on the team after he signed a five-year, $153 million deal to stay in Memphis this summer, which was the most lucrative contract in NBA history.

However, Marc Gasol is the heart and soul of the team at the pivot and after the 2013 Defensive Player of the Year had season-ending surgery in February, the Grizzlies were not the same proposition after.

Chandler Parsons is a nice offensive addition and Tony Allen was regarded by Kobe Bryant as the hardest defender he ever faced. But, it is Gasol who is the best all-rounder in Memphis.

Top Three: 1) Marc Gasol 2) Mike Conley Jr 3) Zach Randolph

New Orleans Pelicans

Here's another easy one for you.

Mark our words: Anthony Davis isn't just the best player for the Pelicans now, but he may go on to be the very best player in the NBA.

The power forward was held back by a plague of injuries to his teammates last year, a plague that eventually found the 23-year-old in March and shut his season down.

Before that, he had a 59 point and 20 rebound outing against the Detroit Pistons that should really only be feasible on NBA 2K. On the rookie setting.

Buddy Hield has arrived via the draft to give Davis some much-needed attacking support, but there is no question who the franchise player is.

Top Three: 1) Anthony Davis 2) Jrue Holiday 3) Buddy Hield

San Antonio Spurs
Southwest Division
Western Conference
New Orleans Pelicans
Dallas Mavericks
Houston Rockets
Memphis Grizzlies
James Harden

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