My Predictions for Final Western Conference Standings (Positions 10th-6th)

  1. Golden State Warriors
  2. Houston Rockets
  3. Los Angeles Clippers
  4. Portland Trail Blazers
  5. Memphis Grizzlies
  6. San Antonio Spurs
  7. Dallas Mavericks
  8. New Orleans Pelicans
  9. Oklahoma City Thunder
  10. Phoenix Suns
  11. Utah Jazz
  12. Denver Nuggets
  13. Sacramento Kings
  14. Los Angeles Lakers
  15. Minnesota Timberwolves

I have already made my predictions for who I think will finish 15th-11th in the Western Conference and you can find that here: https://thethreepointer.wordpress.com/2015/10/24/my-predictions-for-final-western-conference-standings-positions-15-11/

Now it is time to make my predictions for who will finish 10th and 9th right out side the playoffs and give my predictions of who are going to make the playoffs at 8th-6th. Let’s get started.

#10 Phoenix Suns (#10 Last Year): The Phoenix Suns will stay pat in my predictions. I like this squad even with Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas on new teams. The Suns are still running a two point guard lineup with Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe as the starters. Bledsoe averaged 17.0ppg, 5.2rpg, and 6.1apg last season. Knight averaged 17.0ppg, 3.9rpg, and 5.2apg in mixed time with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns. The Suns traded away one of the Morris’ brothers thinking they were going to be able to sign top free agent forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Obviously, Aldridge signed with the Spurs and now the other twin still left on their team will probably force his way out. Tyson Chandler did sign with the Suns. I question the contract but I like the signing. I do not see the Suns improving at all or becoming completely rock bottom in the West. That is why I have them finishing 10th once again.

#9 Utah Jazz (#11 Last Year): 

One man made this team great after the All-Star Break. That man is Enes Kanter. No, the Jazz did not trade for him. They traded him away to the Oklahoma City Thunder. After that, the Jazz became an elite defense with Rudy Gobert becoming their starting center. The Jazz went 19-10 after the All-Star Break. They look to carry that momentum into this new season. A lot of people have high hopes for this team. A lot of experts have them finishing 8th or 7th. I have them sitting right outside the playoffs. I think they will be good led by Gordon Hayward, Rudy Gobert, Alec Burks, Derrick Favors, Trevor Booker, and Trey Burke. Dante Exum, the supposed starting point guard, is out for the year and Trey Burke will have a make or break year for his career. To be honest, I would not be surprised if the Jazz do make the playoffs and beat my prediction. They played 29 games to get that 19-10 record. I do not know if they can sustain it for 82 games. That is why I do not have them in the playoffs.

#8 Dallas Mavericks (#7 last year): The whole Rajon Rondo experiment was absolutely horrible. He’s now gone. They replaced him in the starting lineup with Deron Williams, previously with the Brooklyn Nets. He did not pan out at all in Brooklyn, which is why they agreed to a contract buyout. Monta Ellis, the starting shooting guard, is now in Indiana playing for the Pacers. They replaced him with Wesley Matthews, who last played for the Portland Trail Blazers. Matthews is recovering from a ruptured achiles so no one knows how he will play coming off a serious injury like that. Dirk Nowitzki is 37 years old. Father Time is coming. His steps are slowed so he can be a liability on defense. He can still score. The outcome of this season is blurry. I would not be surprised if the Jazz fill in the playoffs for the Dallas Mavericks. Why did I not put the Jazz in the 8th seed instead of the Dallas Mavericks? The Mavericks have proven that they can make the playoffs recently, the Jazz have not. The Mavericks offense was elite with a starting lineup of Jameer Nelson, Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons, Dirk Nowitzki, and Tyson Chandler. Defense is going to be hurt with Tyson gone but the offense won’t take a big drop like everyone thinks. Yes, they will fall off, but not completely off. I think the Mavericks will be just good enough to barely make the playoffs.

#7 New Orleans Pelicans (#8 last year): One name; Anthony Davis. He is a monster already. He is one of the best players in the NBA right now and he is only 22. He still has room to grow and areas in his game to build on. Davis averaged 24.4ppg, 10.2rpg, 2.9bpg, and 1.5spg while shooting .535% from the field in the regular season and then went on to average 31.5ppg, 11.0rpg, 3.0bpg, and 1.3spg while shooting .540% from the field. Those are MVP type of numbers and if the Pelicans were towards the top fo the Western Conference, he would win MVP. Health is going to be the biggest issue for the Pelicans this season. Jrue Holiday missed 42 games last season. Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson also missed 21 games. The injury bug is already biting the Pelicans as Tyreke Evans will miss 6-8 weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. The biggest key to their success as a team is health. The injury bug is already biting. Will it continue to the rest of the team?

#6 San Antonio Spurs (#6 Last Year): The Spurs improved greatly by signing LaMarcus Aldridge and David West this offseason. A lot of experts are picking the Spurs to come out of the Western Conference. Why do I have them at 6th then? Well, Tony Parker is 33, Manu Ginobili is 38, Tim Duncan is 39, and David West is 35. They are going to need rest to keep them well rested for the playoffs. They’re going to need games where they play very little minutes or do not play at all. With Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Danny Green in the starting lineup, they can still win a lot of games which they will. They just will not win enough to be a top seed. Playoffs is the big goal for this team. Coach Popovich loves to rest his guys, which he will probably do with Leonard and Aldridge some nights too, so they won’t be a top seed because of that. When the playoffs come though, the rest of the league needs to watch out.

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