As always it seems the Western Conference is loaded. Dwight and Nash have joined the Lakers. The Thunder are young and salivating for another chance at the title. Denver seems loaded like the late 90's Trailblazers. San Antonio is still strong.
Here are the playoff teams an contenders:
1. OKC: Durant will lead the league in scoring. Westbrook is unguardable. Harden's contract will be resolved soon. All the pieces of a title contender.
2. Lakers: LA certainly has the talent to make the Finals. Dwight has alot to prove. Nash and Pau should be a delight to watch. How will Kobe co-exist with all the talent around him? Is the bench good enough?
3. Denver: Iggy is a great addition to this team. His defense is stellar and he should thrive in the Nuggets transition game. Lawson is blossoming. Galinari is a shooter. The Manimal! Deep squad too many to name. Wouldn't surprise me if they got the #2 seed.
4. San Antonio: All the same pieces. A full year of Diaw and Jackson will help. No big man to play alongside Duncan. Leonard is key. Popovich will figure it out again and make us all look stupid.
5. Clippers: Chris Paul is amazing. Griffin is a highlight machine but he game is unpolished and I view him as overrated. Still the roster is deep, Crawford, Hill, Billups, Odom, Bledsoe, and Jordan. The vets will provide a good regular season record.
6. Utah: Love the frontcourt of Milsap, Favors, and Jefferson. Hayward is solid and developing. Mo and Marvin Williams should have "I'm pissed at my old team" seasons. A surprise team?
7. Memphis: Z Bo and Gasol are solid. Rudy Gay is soft as proved by last years playoffs. I think the Grizzlies start to slide.
8. New Orleans: The shocker! Monty Willliams is a great coach. Eric Gordon returns and is elite. Davis wins rookie of the year. Miracles do happen. Hey David Stern got them a great trade for Chris Paul and the #1 overall pick.
Timberwolves: Very fortunate Rubio and Love are injured to begin the season. Will be interesting to see how the once retired Roy performs. The Russian wings? Peckovic might have some skills.
Golden State: Bogut is always injured, as is Curry Klay Thompson scored alot of points when the team was tanking.
Dallas: So long Dirk. This team sucks. Cuban really screwed up the last two summers in breaking up his championship team and accomplishing nothing is free agency. Collison, Brand, Kaman, and Mayo are solid pros but nothing to get excited about.
The playoffs in the Western Conference should be very exciting. Barring injury I look for the Lakers to figure out how to use all their new found wealth late and dominate. I think its a draw between them and the Thunder for conference title. Lakers in seven games.
A Lakers/Heat finals! Wow, should be awesome!