Early Season Review: Western Conference

Now a little further along in the 2015-16 NBA season, lets delve into the battle between 15 teams in the competitive Western Conference.

Golden State Warriors: Golden State is the best team in the league. Curry looks unstoppable, and Luke Walton might win Coach of The Year. Ok the first two things I said were true, and hoWestern_Conference_(NBA)_logonestly, I don’t see any reason to say anymore. The 7-0 Warriors simply look great, and I honestly believe that they will not lose until they play the Raptors, in nine days.

Portland Trailblazers: All of you Blazers fans are probably on cloud nine after Damian and his Rip-City squad have fired out to a 4-3 start. Though this may not seem like a great record, it is rather impressive considering how different Portland looks after losing four starters over the offseason. Damian has been elite, Aminu looks solid, and as predicted by yours truly C.J. McCollum has been of great assistance as well. I do believe that this hot start will slow down, but I also have faith that the Blazers will win around 34-40 wins.

Houston Rockets: Houston has turned their embarrassing 0-3 start into something respectable, a four game win streak behind the filthy play of superstar James Harden. The beard and his team have pushed back against the leaning league and improved to 4-3 after a nice win on Saturday night. Now this might be bold, but if Harden keeps up his play and the team wins a very possible 54 games, I can see Harden taking home the MVP trophy come spring.

Utah Jazz: The Jazz are looking like the team everyone expected to see for the past few years. With their underrated lineup of skilled specialists, Utah has pulled off a nice 4-2 start to the season. If they can keep up their play, and Gordon Hayward finds his game, I have faith that they will make a playoff push or at least win 39-41 games.

Phoenix Suns: At 3-4, the Suns honestly look better than I was expecting. I expected the team to regress after the loss of some critical guys, but it seems that they have actually found their identity. Coach Hornacek has allowed Bledsoe to take the reigns of the team, and I have to say that with time, the young backcourt tandem of Knight and E-Bled will one day be frightening. Tyson Chandler is looking in good form, and if the team can figure out the SF spot, I can see them making the playoffs with a respectable seeding.

Memphis Grizzlies: The Grindhouse Grizzlies are possibly the most worrisome team in the entire league. At 3-4, their starting record is one of the most disappointing they’ve had in years. With an out of tune Gasol, a slow stating Conley, and a fading Zach Randolph, the upside of the team seems to have disappeared completely since last season. If the Grizz don’t pick it up soon, I can see them falling to the sixth seed in the West with an underwhelming season of no more than 48 wins.

Los Angeles Clippers: The Clips are looking pretty good so far, and with a team like this, you have to wonder if not now than when? The roster is the best its been in years, as LA’s bench has finally become respectable all around. Blake Griffin is looking like an early MVP candidate, and it seems as if coach Rivers finally understands its not or never. At 4-2, I am nowhere close to worried about the team and I believe the new look team will reach at least 56 wins this year.

Minnesota Timberwolves: The Timberwolves have started off the 2015-16 season with a nice little spurt of energy. Though they are only 3-2, the team looks efficient and united, and the fact that their youngsters have been their best players doesn’t hurt either. If Rubio can keep up his nice shooting, Wiggins gets consistent, and Towns can stay effective on both sides of the ball, I can honestly see the Wolves reaching 32-36 wins in this rebuild year.

Sacramento Kings: Sac-Town is a bit worrisome. After Boogie Cousins briefly went down with an Achilles strain, I was excited to see how the team could fare without the exceptional center. Its fair to say that the squad disappointed on many levels, as they have gone on to lose five straight games in a disheartening 1-6 start to the season. With that said, I do see the Kings winning at least 34 games this year, and Cousins finalizing his place in the league as the best center around. Shoutout to Rajon Rondo on his triple-double, it won’t be his last.

New Orleans Pelicans: Despite their extremely rough start, I can genuinely say that I’m not too worried about the Pelicans. The team is making do with a less than 100 percent Jrue Holiday, a new head coach, and what seems to be a star feeling the pressure in Anthony Davis. I have faith that as the team gets healthy with the return of Tyreke Evans and guard Norris Cole, they will win some games and improve on their 0-6 start. I also believe that Davis will get out of his own head, and start helping his teams win more with increased all around play.

Denver Nuggets: Denver has proven to be a bit of a strange team thus far. They only have two wins throughout six games, but they have also gotten great play from a league ready Mudiay, and the Italian sniper Danilo Gallinari. I like the fact that the Nuggets organization is allowing their young guys a chance to find their games, before pressuring them into winning immediately. And believe me, with a talented young roster and an underrated coach in Mike Malone, the Nuggets will be winning some games in the near future.

Oklahoma City Thunder: The Thunder came into the season red hot, but have since really been cooled down by some strong teams. The Russell-KD tandem has been exquisite as they are averaging a combined 56 points per game, but despite their great play, the team hasn’t been able to close out games. Sitting on a 4-3 record the team has not been spectacular, but I still see them reaching a very nice 54-58 wins this season. I’d also like to note Durant’s exceptional play, the guy is making everyone remember who the MVP was only a season ago.

Dallas Mavericks: Dallas has really just been a mediocre team as of today. They seem as if they are still bitter about the entire DeAndre Jordan fiasco, and not focused enough on winning games. Granted, the Mavs have lost to some respectable teams and I do think they’ll be able to recover from a slow 3-3 start. If this Texas team can get their center position figured out and effectively integrate Wesley Matthews and Deron Williams, I peg them winning around 45-51 games.

Los Angeles Lakers: A lot of people have looked at the Lakers as a disappointment this year, but I think the team is right on pace to where they’ll end come April. Kobe is a shell of his former self, stud rookie D’Angelo Russell has not lived up to the hype, and Roy Hibbert is simply Roy Hibbert. The team looks out of sorts and uncomfortable, and until a change is made, I don’t see the team reaching even 27 wins. If this is the Mamba’s last year, and I’m not saying it is, I hope he finds a way to motivate his team and leave the game on a high note.

San Antonio Spurs: Since I can remember the Spurs have been a phenomenal team that does one thing, win basketball games. The acquisition of star forward LaMarcus Aldridge shouldn’t, and has not stopped this truth yet. Sitting at third place in the West, with a 4-2 record, the Spurs look like a solid team that will only get better as they get more acquainted with one another throughout the season.


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