TEM’s 2010-2011 NBA Western Conference Preview
The West is where the defending champion LA Lakers are. This year, the conference looks to be more even than it has ever been, making for more competition. Without further adieu, here is TEM’s Western Conference Review.
Predicted Final Standings For The Year
1) Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe and crew are still the champs and adding veteran pieces like PG Steve Blake and SF Matt Barnes should make the Lakers even more dangerous.
2) Oklahoma City Thunder
This team is easily the most athletic team in the NBA. With Kevin Durant leading the way, this season should be a breakout one for this franchise.
3) Dallas Mavericks
This veteran-laden team should benefit from having F Caron Butler and C Brendan Haywood for an entire season. Adding C Tyson Chandler to their frontline adds more depth and a shot-blocker they didn’t have.
4) Utah Jazz
They lost F Carlos Boozer but replaced him with F Al Jefferson. The beat will go on in Utah as long as Jerry Sloan is still the coach.
5) Portland Trailblazers
The return of their big guys, C Greg Oden and C Joel Pryzbilla, should help this team continue to grow and take it to the next level. SG Brandon Roy hopefully will play better with PG Andre Miller this year.
6) Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns will be a softer team this year without Amar’e. With that being said, they still have a lot of skill, shooting and athleticism.
7) San Antonio Spurs
Veteran leadership will help them make the playoffs. They must have their young guys and SF Richard Jefferson step up to help Duncan, Parker and Ginobilli.
8) Houston Rockets
The return of Yao to go along with all the pieces around him should be enough to get the Rockets back into the playoffs.
9) Denver Nuggets
Injuries to PF Kenyon Martin and C Chris Anderson to go along with an aging Chauncey Billups and an inconsistent second scorer means no playoffs for the Nuggets.
10) Sacramento Kings
The Sacramento Kings could finish higher than this because of the young talent. They could be this year’s Oklahoma City Thunder.
11) New Orleans Hornets
The Hornets have PG Chris Paul and PF David West. Other than that, there really isn’t much this team has that scares you.
12) Memphis Grizzlies
Memphis can score the ball with SF Rudy Gay, PF Zach Randolph and SG OJ Mayo, but can they stop anyone on defense? They also will not go very far with Mike Conley as their starting point guard.
13) Golden State Warriors
The Warriors are exciting at times, but they still don’t play defense and their backcourt combination of Stephon Curry and Monta Ellis are incredibly small and will get taken advantage of throughout the season.
14) Los Angeles Clippers
Even with the addition of F Blake Griffin, I still don’t see this team being any different than the same old Clippers we are used to seeing.
15) Minnesota Timberwolves
This is a young team still growing. Give them a couple of years and they will be ready for playoff contention.
Western Conference Champion: Los Angeles Lakers
Western Conference MVP: Kevin Durant, F, Oklahoma City Thunder
Sleeper: Portland Trailblazers
Top Rookie: Blake Griffin, F, LA Clippers
Best Bench: Sacramento Kings
There is my preview of the Western Conference. If you have any disagreements, questions of comments, feel free to leave a comment so we can discuss.