NBA Western Conference Playoff Predictions

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The storyline across the conference is aggressive, off-season improvements, especially by the Thunder, Rockets, Timberwolves, Blazers, Nuggets, and Grizzlies.


1. Golden State WARRIORS

Courtesy: ABC7.com

Best Lineup

1. Stephen Curry
2. Klay Thompson
3. Kevin Durant
4. Draymond Green
5. Zaza Pachulia

The Warriors are still the team to beat. They are even more dangerous offensively with the addition of Nick Young and Omri Casspi, both of whom can shoot from deep. But with all the upgrades done by other teams in the West, the road to repeat won’t be easy.

Notable Players: Nick Young and Omri Casspi – a boost to their outside shooting. Swaggy P will provide some entertainment to Warriors fans (Added shaqtin’ a fool candidate. Lol)

2. San Antonio SPURS

Best Lineup

1. Tony Parker
2. Danny Green
3. Kawhi Leonard
4. Rudy Gay
5. LaMarcus Aldridge

The Spurs didn’t make a lot of moves this summer except for signing free agent Rudy Gay and retaining Manu Ginobili and Pau Gasol. This team is in transition mode, a little rebuilding in the post-Duncan era. But it’s amazing that they still manage to compete at the top of the Western Conference. With the coaching brilliance of Gregg Popovich, this team will always challenge teams in the West.

Notable Players: Bryn Forbes – All around guard who can provide consistent bench scoring. Dejounte Murray – same

3. Oklahoma City THUNDER

Courtesy: SI.com

Best Lineup

1. Russell Westbrook
2. Paul George
3. Carmelo Anthony
4. Patrick Patterson
5. Steven Adams

With the addition of Paul George, Patrick Patterson, and Carmelo Anthony this team got a huge upgrade offensively and defensively. It’s just a matter of execution and chemistry playing alongside Russell Westbrook. OKC is a young team with players still improving (the GM is young, too). With consistent bench contribution, this team will definitely be a contender.

Notable Players: Jerami Grant – elite speed and quickness with his 6’9″ frame. Can defend the perimeter and also inside the paint.

4. Houston ROCKETS

Best Lineup

1. Chris Paul
2. James Harden
3. Trevor Ariza
4. Ryan Anderson
5. Clint Capela

Rockets gave a bunch of players to land Chris Paul in H-Town. That’s ok because the Rockets still managed to sign a lot of great free agents this summer. The question here is how will Harden and Paul co-insist under Mike D’Antoni’s high-octane offense. It’s complicated because James Harden is coming off a historic season running the point in H-Town (MVP Runner-up). Then, suddenly, the team added a premier point guard to the mix. It’s hard to imagine how all of this will work out, but Rockets fans will know the outcome soon enough.

Notable Players: Eric Gordon – No explanation needed, his shooting says it all. PJ Tucker and Mbah Moute – elite defenders.

5. Minnesota TIMBERWOLVES

Courtesy: YouTube

Best Lineup

1. Jeff Teague
2. Jimmy Butler
3. Andrew Wiggins
4. Tag Gibson
5. Karl Anthony Towns

The Wolves main highlight this summer was a trade that brought Jimmy Butler in Minneapolis. But they made other improvements, too, including new uniforms and a rebranded logo. Minnesota strengthened its bench by adding Jamal Crawford and retaining Shabazz Muhammad. But this team needs to improve its outside shooting.

Notable Players: Tyus Jones – consistent backup guard for Teague. He’s a Duke standout and has potential. Justin Patton is another big off the bench and Aldrich might play fewer minutes this season. Patton averaged 20.5, 9.8, 2.3 (blocks) in his stint at Creighton.

6. Portland TRAIL BLAZERS

Best Lineup

1. Damian Lillard
2. CJ McCollum
3. Moe Harkless
4. Alfarouq Aminu
5. Jusuf Nurkic

The Blazers are still one of the most exciting teams to watch, especially when the offense is setting the pace. The concern is defense. Portland has neither a defensive anchor to protect the rim nor a perimeter defender to shut down opponents’ backcourt. But the addition of rookies Zach Collins and Caleb Swanigan gives the Blazers size to challenge/alter shots. It’s up to wingmen to work defensively, and that means contributions by Harkless and Connaughton.

Notable Players: Jake Layman – Added shooter off the bench. Noah Vonleh – does all the dirty work underneath, rebounding, assists, defense….

7. Memphis GRIZZLIES

Courtesy: Bleacher Report

Best Lineup

1. Mike Conley
2. Tyreke Evans
3. Chandler Parsons
4. JaMychal Green
5. Marc Gasol

The departure of Zach Randolph and Vince Carter gives young guys a great opportunity to showcase their talent. Conley and Gasol are still the centerpieces of this franchise and they’re capable of leading this team. Memphis should be fine with a great chance to make the playoffs–great young talent and a great coaching staff.

Notable Players: Dillon Brooks – Brooks averaged 16.1 pts. for the Oregon Ducks, and his skill-set fits perfectly with the Grizzlies–a team that prefers playing a balanced game, defensively and offensively. He should get minutes and be a consistent contributor off the bench.

8. Denver NUGGETS

Best Lineup

1. Emmanuel Mudiay
2. Gary Harris
3. Wilson Chandler
4. Paul Millsap
5. Nikola Jokic

It’s hard to just put this team at the 8th spot knowing that Denver has Paul Millsap cracking the lineup and an improving Harris and Jokic. But, let’s face it: other teams in the West made upgrades, too. What this team lacks is experience–not only from the players but from the coaches, too. Acquiring Millsap, who has playoff experience, will help the kids in the lineup. Remember, this team beat the Warriors by 20+ points. The Nuggets have potential.

Notable Players: Jammal Murray – Murray has tremendous range and consistency, but he needs to improve his defense, especially against elite guards.

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