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Western Conference Preview


Western Conference Preview

"I can see the future"

It's offseason, what you going to do?   Now seems as good a time as any to put on the Amazing Kreskin hat and make some predictions.   I'll start with the Western Conference where our beloved Suns play.  This offseason has seen significant changes throught the Western Conference.   A recent poll of NBA GMs picked the Lakers to repeat this coming year as NBA Champions.

I think the final standings will be something like this:

Lakers
Spurs
Mavericks
Blazers
Nuggets
Hornets
Thunder
Clippers
Jazz
Suns
Warriors
Rockets
Kings
Grizzlies
Timberwolves

Let me explain why I made these choices.

Nothing needs to be said about the Lakers.   They are the Champs and they turned Trevor Ariza in Ron Artest.   They figure to have a strong season.  

The Spurs got Richard Jefferson for pennies on the dollar and figure to be contenders again. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Ginobli and Jefferson.  And a decent looking rookie named Dejuan Blair.

I am expecting the Mavericks to have a resurgent year with Shawn Marion added to a very decent core with the support of an owner who isn't afraid to spend what it takes to be contend.  Dallas will probably have 15 guys on their roster all year.

The Blazers should be a tough team with the great play of Brandon RoyGreg Oden has looked good so far in preseason and is a big fricking dude who will really make a difference.   Also Andre Miller could be a big piece.

The Hornets got Emeka Okafor for Tyson Chandler.   The Hornets really underperformed last year.  This year I look for them to turn it around.   Any team with Chris Paul is going to be a good team.

The Thunder, while still very young, should probably start putting it together this year.   This will be Durant's third year as a pro, he's got some nice young teammates in Westbrook, Green and Harden.   They do have a hole in the middle with no quality center.    As I said a young team but one solidly built.

 Clippers yes they are perenial losers.  I look for them to pull their heads out of the sand a bit this year with the attention garnered by #1 pick Blake Griffin causing them to raise their games a bit.  I look for Baron Davis to regain some of his old mojo.  I'm calling it now, the Suns will lose the Season opener to the Clippers.  (Hey 50/50 shot of being right ha)

Jazz.   They are very well coached and that discipline results in quality products on the court.    Unfortunately, the team they have isn't spectacular as far as talent but the solid foundations they have there should result in something halfway decent.   Boozer, expiring, will be playing for next season's contract .

And then we come to the Suns.  Suns draft picks that have been frittered away such as Nate Robinson, Rudy Fernandez, Rajon Rondo and Macin Gortat and Dejuan Blair really will make a difference out on the court this year.   The good news is that the Suns made maybe 1 million or so dollars from selling those picks, woo-hoo.  What else can I say about the Suns that hasn't been said here before?   They are really short with only one 7 footer on the roster as of now and who is currently out due to injury.   They are either really old or really young with Barbosa and Stoudemire being the only guys in their prime.  I suppose Richardson is also in his prime, he's a newcomer who is something of an X factor.  There has been coaching, front office and ownership turmoil.

The Warriors are also used to controversy the latest being the Stephen Jackson soap opera.  Meddling ownership and front office shenanigans and trying to load up on every 6 foot 3ish scorer they can hasn't helped.    A repuation for dishonesty is also something they have earned as a result of the renegging of a trade for Stoudemire that went something like this fictional conversation between Larry Riley and Steve Kerr: "Steve you've got a deal." pause until their draft pick comes up  then "Wait I changed my mind Stephen Curry is available."  Despite all that nonsense the team has talent and a resourceful and inventive coach who is pretty darn long in the tooth who seems a bit jaded after his 30+ years in the game.

As for the Rockets, no Yao so don't expect a whole lot from them.  Trevor Ariza is there as a replacement for Ron Artest, I wonder how that will go.   Should be okayish I guess but there is no Yao so don't expect a whole lot other than McGrady to play maybe 10 games and get hurt or be traded as an expiring contract.

The Kings have a very young team.  I like their "rookie" coach Paul Westphal who famously guided the Suns to the Finals in the Barkley era to lose to a team that everyone was losing to those days - Da Bulls with Jordan.  I recall him (Westphal not Jordan) as having a great knack for drawing up plays that would result in easy baskets for game winning buckets.

Grizzlies.   Meh.   Iverson is there and who knows what that means.   There probably aren't enough shots to go around for everyone on that team who likes to jack up shots.

Timberwolves are in rebuilding mode and are trying to find their post-McHale identity.  They've got big Al.  He's a great player to have.

 

So that's what I think about all the Western Conference teams.  Thanks for reading my season preview.  Go Suns!

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