Welcome back to my NBA preview series guys. Yesterday I previewed the East and today we will be focusing on the West. So you know the drill, I’ll be ranking teams from worst to best with a projected record. Let’s begin.
15 Sacramento Kings: In their first full year without DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings will be nothing but a dumpster fire this year (24—58).
14 Los Angeles Lakers: Adding Brook Lopez was a nice move but the Lakers are still not close to competing for a playoff spot; even with Lonzo Ball (29—53).
13 Phoenix Suns: The Suns have talent with Devin Booker and Eric Bledsoe. But with no major veteran leadership; the Suns are at least a year away (30—52).
12 Dallas Mavericks: The Mavs are in a tough spot. They’re in a middle of a rebuild but aren’t bad enough to get a top pick. Harrison Barnes and Nerlens Noel are at least a nice start in the rebuild (32—50).
11 Utah Jazz: With the loss of Gordon Hayward, the Jazz are going to take a major step back this year. With the team now building around Rudy Gobert, they’re going to need time get back to the playoffs. They just don’t have the firepower (34—48).
10 Memphis Grizzlies: Memphis is an old school team that may be past their prime. Marc Gasol and Mike Conley Jr. are still very good players but the supporting players around them aren’t as good in years past. If Chandler Parsons and Tyreke Evans can get back to their form, then maybe the Grizzlies can get back to the playoffs. But I doubt it. (38—44).
9 Los Angeles Clippers: Losing Chris Paul is a big blow for the Clippers but it’s not a total disaster. They were able to resign Blake Griffin and add a lot of depth to the team. But considering how deep the West is, they just don’t have the star power (41—41).
8 Portland Trailblazers: Portland spent a ton of money last offseason and it didn’t pay off. This offseason, the only thing they did was shed money which was the right move. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are still there and that alone will still get Portland back to the playoffs (43—39).
7 New Orleans Pelicans: There’s a new twin tower duo in the NBA and its Anthony Davis—DeMarcus Cousins. The rest of the supporting cast isn’t that good, but those two alone will get New Orleans to the playoffs; even in today’s guard heavy NBA (44—38).
6 Denver Nuggets: There aren’t many teams that can go 10 deep into a rotation and the Nuggets are clearly one of them. Not only are they extremely deep, but they already have a young superstar in Nikola Jokic. Now they’ve brought in Paul Millsap to bring leadership to this young core. Denver may not be a title contender, but they’re going to be a fun team to watch for this year and many years to come (47—35).
5 Minnesota Timberwolves: With Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns already on the team, the Wolves were a team that everyone had an eye on now. When they acquired Jimmy Butler, then people realized they weren’t fucking around. With that big 3, coach Tom Thibodeau has a crazy amount of talent of his hands and that’s a bad sign for the West for years to come (50—32).
4 Oklahoma City Thunder: Last year, the Thunder were the little engine that could after Kevin Durant left. But now, they’re back to being the big bad Thunder. Not only did they pull off a heist in acquiring Paul George, but they also added Carmelo Anthony. With that talent around Russell Westbrook, the Thunder will be back to being a title contender (54—28).
3 San Antonio Spurs: Everything says that the Spurs should take a step back. They’re a year older and they’re already dealing with injuries. But they’re the goddamn Spurs. They haven’t won less than 50 games in 20 years. So unless I see it, I can’t bet against the Spurs. Plus, Greg Popovich and Kawhi Leonard are still there (56—26).
2 Houston Rockets: James Harden made a serious case for MVP last year as he led the explosive Rockets to 55 wins. Now they have added Chris Paul to that lineup and didn’t lose that much in the process. If they’ve able to jell well, then the Rockets offense could be on the level of Golden State. But for Houston to catch the Warriors, they need their supporting cast to step up around Paul and Harden. Clint Capella is the likely player to become the 3 option (58—24).
1 Golden State Warriors: Was there really any doubt? The Warriors are returning their entire team from last year add they also added Nick Young. They’re loaded with star talent with league MVP’s Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry and they have a deep bench led by Andre Iguodala and Shawn Livingston. The Warriors are on top and everyone else is playing catch up (70—12).
Written By: Steven Santoro (SVS_1993)