The West is absolutely loaded next year. Right now there is realistically going to be 12 teams fighting for only 8 spots in the west. That number could even jump to 13 depending on what Houston does. Right now I believe the top 4 in the west are the Lakers, Thunder, Spurs, and Clippers in no specific order. That is 4 teams that will definitely make it leaving 8 teams fighting for the last 4 spots.
5. Grizzlies had a winning percentage of .621 last year and have really stayed the same. They swapped Mayo for Bayless, but both will play very similar roles for them.
6. The Jazz played very solid basketball last year and only got better since adding Mo Williams and Marvin Williams so they should get in at least 6 or 7 and I would not be surprised if they grabbed the 5 seed either.
7. Dallas has too much talent to not make the playoffs after adding Kaman, Brand, Mayo, and Collison to help Dirk out.
8. Obviously 8 is the last spot and there are a few deserving teams.
Nuggets are a very deep team with a fantastic head coach. I feel very silly not having them as a guaranteed spot, but the West is just too deep this year.
Portland will be much better, but we have a rookie starting at the point.. Having said that Lilliard is coming to come in and make an immediate impact and they will be right in the hunt.
The Suns lost Steve Nash and Grant hill, but got some very solid players in Dragic, Scola, and Beasley. Beasley should have a career year and since the Suns are going to get out and run he should be just fine. Also don't forget that the Suns will run a lot which usually leads to a better regular season record.
Golden State if healthy could make a playoff run, but they just never seem to be healthy.
The Wolves made some great additions this year and should claim their spot in the playoffs if they can stay healthy, but if they make it then that means Suns, GS, Blazers, and maybe the Nuggets will be on the outside looking in.
Summary? I believe their are 9 teams that deserve a playoff spot this year in the Lakers, Spurs, Thunder, Clippers, Grizzlies, Mavs, Jazz, Nuggets, and Wolves and teams like Suns, Warriors, Blazers could all make runs too, but like many other years there is simply too much talent in the West this year. I think this could very well be a year in which you have two or maybe even three teams OVER .500 that fail to make the playoffs which is just crazy since that basically guarantees you a spot in the east.
In: Oklahoma City, Lakers, Clippers, Spurs, Minnesota, Golden State, Denver, Utah
Out: Memphis, Portland, Dallas, Phoenix, Houston, New Orleans
@andrew you have Golden State over Memphis and Dallas? Memphis was the 4 seed last year and will be much better than the Warriors. Dallas has changed a lot, but will also be better.
Like said previously, there will be a couple teams with a +.500 record that don't make the playoffs. Dallas is really good and you can always count on Dirk in the playoffs but I bet they start slow again and develop chemistry later on but JUST miss the playoffs by like a single win. Memphis is good and consistent but they lost their best 6th man and a great rebounder and hustle player (Cunningham) and they only really got Wayne Ellington back. Their depth took a hit this offseason.
With that said, GState is a VERY talented team. If they stay healthy, they have an unreal starting unit. Curry, Thompson, and Barnes are lights out shooters. Barnes is best with a good PG, Curry is a great playmaker even if he doesn't get that much credit for it. David Lee has been consistent and a great inside presence for them since he's got there and don't forget about Bogut who is one of the best interior defenders in the league. They may live and die by the 3 this year but I wouldn't be surprised if they were the 8th seed with a record of like 46-36.
So you're basing next year on last year? I'm pretty sure only their record for the current year counts.
Every year there are teams that were good one year but bad the next year. I don't see Dallas pulling it together.
Dirk struggles with conditioning and he's a year older, Kidd, one of their "glue" guys is gone, VC and Marion are in their mid 30s, Collison is a below average NBA point guard (count them up and you'll find 15 better than him), Kaman is old and the Clippers gave him away to DeAndre Jordan (who can't score at all) on the floor instead of him, and Brand is also old.
I like Mayo, but he's nothin' special. I could be wrong and their experience could allow them to win a ton of games, but I personally don't see it happening. Too many new pieces, no chemistry, very little youth.
Kngojc, you say Barnes is a "lights out shooter". Do you mean he shoots like someone in the dark? The guy shot 44% last year in college. Now against pros as a rookie, do you think that is going down or up? So if it goes down, we are talking about a guy who is going to shoot 40% or so this year.
No GS is not getting into the playoffs unless Curry can return to form and play the entire year. Sadly he and Bogut probably can't. And you will be back here in February saying, "What happened to GS?"
I think the Clippers are also going to disappoint a few people this season coming up.
Wolves are basically a lock to make the playoffs, squeeking in at the back, yes, but they should be in. People will give credit to Love like he has suddenly found a way to win. But most likely it is just they no longer are posting up Darko. I als see the Nuggets getting a little better with a full season of McGee and Faried getting more and more playing time. So I think they are in.
Phoenix is going to fall off a cliff without Nash. It is going to get ugly out there. Lakers, if they put the ball in Nash's hands, will be much improved and should challenge for top seed in the West. OKC will, of course, be right there with them.
You cant never count The mavs out and they will at least be a 8th seed come on now
COLLINSON is a upgrade from KIDD in this point of their career. Remeber Collinson was great for the Hornets but he just never Flourished under the Pacers. But i think hes gonna take full advantage of the Opportunity in dallas. He's Just as Skilled as Ty Lawson if not better Just hasnt proved it. But he should have a great year
The same is with OJ MAYO and JASON TERRY. at this point in each career i would give the Edge to Mayo. Jason terry aint gettin no Younger and its not like Mayo has been playin bad his first few years. MAYO can still be a TOP 5 sg when it comes to scoring. Hes gonna be starting next to a Guy like Dirk so he will get plenty looks. I wouldnt be suprised if he avg 20+
and then look at who they gained CHIRS KAMEN is a top 10 center easily. ELTON BRAND is A real solid backup to Kamen and DIRK and JARED CUNNINGHAM was a Beast back in college.
Starting Pg-Collinson or WEST
Starting Pf- Dirk
Starting C- Kamen
bench- Brand,Carter,Jones, Beaubois... Easily one of the top benches
1.)thunder 2.)lakers 3.)Spurs 4.)clippers 5.) T-Wolves 6.)Mavs 7.) Grizzles 8.) Nuggets
I like your list, but I don't see Portland having a shot at the playoffs this year. Lillard is obviously a great prospect, but there's now way he carries them to an 8th seed in the west. Maybe in a couple years.
Golden State is a team that should make the playoffs in a world without injuries. Unfortunately this is not the case... Bogut will most likely get injured. Especially if GState continues to play speed ball.
The Wolves have a shot in theory, but there are a lot of ifs with that team. And like Golden State, it centers around injuries. Rubio will be out for maybe half the season...Roy's durability coming out of retirement is a quesiton no one knows the answer to. I'm rooting for the guy, and hopefully his knees will work..... Kirilenko was once one of the top players in the league, but he's been hampered with nagging injuries on a regular basis. It's great to hear about his revitalization, but I'm skeptical about him holding up for 82 games..... Pekovic also had players with his back last season. If all of these guys miss 10-20 games, they won't be able to keep up in the West
My predicition for the west:
1.Thunder 2. Lakers 3. Clippers 4. Spurs 5. Memphis 6. Dallas 7. Minnesota 8. Denver
9. Warrriors 10. Utah 11. Portland 12. Phoenix 13. Houston
My prediction is
1.Thunder 2.Lakers 3.Spurs 4.Clippers 5.Mavs 6.Grizzlies 7.Nuggets 8.T-Wolves
Didnt make it
9.Jazz 10.Warriors 11.Rockets