2018-2019 NBA Preview: The Western Conference

15 Sacramento Kings: (20–62) While the Kings have a nice core in De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, and Marvin Bagley III, they have too much youth and not enough talent to compete.

14 Memphis Grizzlies: (27–55) With two aging stars (Mike Conley/Marc Gasol) and not enough of young talent, the Grizzlies don’t have a good mix of players. They’ll probably go into full rebuild mode this year.

13 Los Angeles Clippers: (28–54) The Clippers do have a lot of depth on their team and some young pieces. But with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan all gone; they have no star power.

12 Phoenix Suns: (34–48) Devin Booker and  DeAndre Ayton have the potential to form a deadly duo for many years to come. But similar to the Kings, they’re too young to compete for the playoffs. Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson hope to add a bit of veteran leadership this year.

Dirk Nowitzki has a new prodisay in Luka Doncic.

11 Dallas Mavericks: (35–47) In what could be Dirk Nowitzki’s final season, there’s a lot of things to look forward to in Dallas. Dennis Smith Jr. and Luka Doncic look like the real deal and DeAndre Jordan will add a lot of rebounding. They won’t make the playoffs but they’re getting close.

10 Los Angeles Lakers: (44–38) Call it a hot take if you want but the Lakers will not make the playoffs. Yes, they have LeBron James and they do have some nice young players in Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma. But the pieces don’t fit. They have no bigs and really no shooting. Remember, you heard it here first.

9 Portland Trailblazers: (45–37) After being swept out of the playoffs, Portland is going to be taking a step back this year. They have a good team led by Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum but they made no improvements in the off-season. They would make the playoffs in the East but not in the West.

8 New Orleans Pelicans: (48–34) Despite losing DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo, the Pelicans will still make the playoffs. Julius Randle and Elfrid Payton are good replacements and the Pelicans have a lot of depth to go around superstar Anthony Davis.

Can Anthony Davis get the Pelicans back to the playoffs?

7 Minnesota Timberwolves: (49–33) Well, Jimmy Butler is still on the Timberwolves. We don’t know how long he’ll be there but we have to expect that he’ll be on the team at this point. The talent is there in Minnesota, but can the chemistry come together as well?

6 San Antonio Spurs: (50–32) The Spurs won 47 games last year and Kawhi Leonard only played 9 games. Now they have DeMar DeRozan for a full season. So on paper, they are a better team then they were last year and Coach Popovich is still there. But how much of the air will be taken out of the balloon now that Kawhi is gone?

5 Denver Nuggets: (51–31) There may not be a deeper team in the West than the Nuggets. They have the best 10 man rotation in the conference and have a superstar in the making in Nikola Jokic. If Jamal Murray and Gary Harris can continue to improve, then Denver could do some damage going forward.

4 Oklahoma City Thunder: (53–29) Trading Carmelo Anthony is the definition of addition by subtraction. With Anthony gone, the Thunder’s offense should be a lot more fluent led by Russell Westbrook and Paul George. Dennis Schroder adds a lot of depth to the bench as the Thunder try to get back to the West Finals.

Russell Westbrook and Paul George hope to improve off their 1st season together.

3 Utah Jazz: (54–28) The Jazz were one of the biggest surprises last year and it looks like they’re going to be building off of that this year. They have the best defense in the NBA led by Rudy Gobert, Jae Crowder, and Joe Ingles. Donovan Mitchell and Ricky Rubio are expected to build off their impressive seasons last year as the Jazz try to advance to the West Finals.

2 Houston Rockets: (60–22) Coming within one game of advancing to the NBA Finals, the Rockets will be back this year. One concern you should have as a Rockets fan though was losing defensive studs Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute in the off-season. With Carmelo Anthony coming in, the Rockets hope he can add another dimension to their already loaded offense.

1 Golden State Warriors: (64–18) Well, here’s a big surprise to no one. The Warriors are newest NBA dynasty as they have won 3 of the past 4 championships. They also signed All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins so yeah, they’re pretty loaded. Cousins isn’t expected to be back until January and even then won’t be 100% himself. But considering they already have Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, they’ll probably be OK.

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Steve Santoro (SVS_1993)

Steven Santoro

I love sports and movies. Be on the lookout for articles about both. I also made a video that got 24,000 Retweets. (The views expressed on this website are mine alone and are not intended in any way to reflect the views of my employer)

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