My Predictions for Final Western Conference Standings (positions 5th-1st)

  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 predicted who I have finishing 15th-6th. Now it is time to see who will finish, in my opinion, in the upper echelon of the Western Conference. Let’s get down to business to see my predictions.

#5 Memphis Grizzlies (#5 Last Season): The Grizzlies are good. The Big Three is still in place. Marc Gasol stayed in town by signing an extension. Zach Randolph is still on the team as well as Mike Conley. That automatically makes them dangerous. The Grizzlies have depth with players like Courtney Lee, Tony Allen, Jeff Green, Matt Barnes (acquired this offseason), and Brandan Wright (acquired this offseason).  Gasol is starting to get older. He is still only 30 though. Zach Randolph may miss games due to rest if Joerger decides that is best for Randolph since he is 34. Mike Conley is the youngest of the three at age 28. The Grizzlies are going to be a solid team once again. They will be a dangerous team once again when the playoffs start.

#4 Houston Rockets (#2 Last Season): Dwight Howard missed a lot of games and, no offense to Patrick Beverley, he is not a starting point guard but the Houston Rockets still got the 2nd seed last season. It’s amazing how James Harden carried that team last season and I can see why he is still angry about not winning MVP last season. Now the Rockets have Ty Lawson as their starting point guard and if he can get his life and career back together, then the Houston Rockets will be quite dangerous. The Rockets still have all their key pieces from last season minus Josh Smith so they should be good once again. I do not think they’ll be back to the level that they were last season, but good enough to make the 4th seed.

#3 Oklahoma City Thunder (#9 Last Season): Injuries absolutely decimated the Thunder last season. Durant missed 55 games last season. Serge Ibaka missed 18 games last season. Russell Westbrook missed 15 games of his own. All of these injuries to these three main guys created a recipe for disaster which caused them the miss the playoffs on the last night of the year. Russell Westbrook did throw himself in the MVP conversation by averaging 28.1ppg, 7.3rpg, 8.6apg, and 2.1spg. This whole team had a whole offseason to rest and get better for this coming season. Durant is going to come back for vengeance next season I believe. Russell and Durant will lead the Thunder all the way to the 3rd seed in the Western Conference. If healthy, watch out for the Thunder this season. This season is a critical one since Kevin Durant becomes a free agent after this season.

#2 Los Angeles Clippers (#3 Last Season): The Clippers have had one of the best starting lineups in the league. DeAndre Jordan left the Clippers for the Mavericks and then left the Mavericks for the Clippers. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are still on the team. That makes this team already dangerous. The rest of the team in past years, not so much. Depth has always been a key issue for the Clippers and is why they haven’t been able to get far in the playoffs. Matt Barnes is gone and they will likely replace him with Wesley Johnson to keep Paul Pierce well rested for the playoffs, where he shined for the Wizards last season. They’re taking a risky chance on Lance Stephenson. Lance may or may not pan out for them. They were able to sign Josh Smith, who rejuvenated his career with the Houston Rockets last season after being waived by the Pistons. They added a veteran backup in Pablo Prigioni as well as swingman, Luc Richard Mbah Moute. The team still has a potential Sixth Man of the Year winner in Jamal Crawford. Depth is not an issue right now for the Clippers, making them more dangerous this coming season. The starters should be more rested for the playoffs.

#1 Golden State Warriors (#1 Last Season): Why not pick the Warriors to be number one once again? Stephen Curry was still doing Stephen Curry type things in the preseason. Klay Thompson is still here in Golden State. The only loss the Golden State Warriors had was ill used David Lee, whom the traded away to the Boston Celtics for Gerald Wallace. They then traded away Gerald Wallace for Jason Thompson. Thompson has averaged 9.4ppg and 6.9rpg in his career. Steve Kerr still does not have a return date after undergoing offseason back surgery. Luke Walton is the interim head coach until he gets back. The West is probably too difficult for them to repeat as the team that comes out of the West but I do not see a reason why they shouldn’t repeat as the number one seed in the Western Conference.     

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