Barring minor tweaks (or by some miracle the Dwight Howard saga finally playing out), the team rosters seem pretty much set for the coming season.
So, I'm interested to see how people foresee the West playing out? Whereabouts do you place our (very) young but exciting team in among the combatants?
The playoff teams in the West last season were as follows:
1) San Antonio
3) LA Lakers
5) LA Clippers
My honest opinion is that it's hard to see many of those teams dropping out- the top 5 will almost certainly be contending again.
Denver looks likely to be exciting again, although they can't afford too many injuries. Dallas seemed likely candidates to drop out at one point, but managed to salvage their off-season with some smart veteran signings. Utah is actually a reasonably young team still, have managed to make some decent additions and have young players who should develop.
Golden State is the team I see as most likely to jump up into the playoffs. Most teams in the West should actually be pretty competitive next season- on paper there looks to be only one probable straggler.
So, how do you predict teams will finish, 1-15 in the West this season?
"I'd like to send this letter to the Prussian consulate in Siam by aeromail. Am I too late for the 4:30 auto-gyro?"
2. San Antonio
6. Golden State
Just barely missing out are Utah and Dallas. So, after the top 8 I'd say the remaining teams are:
12. New Orleans
Honestly, the last 4 are interchangeable in my view. I don't see us breaking the top 10 this season.
"Davis is gonna be the best Basketball Player Ever. ......Please quote me." -Silverfoxx
I can see the Hornets finishing in the 10-12 range. Maybe they get the 8th seed with lights out/flawless play, no injuries, and injuries to other teams.
"Hornets means nothing." - Tom Benson
Why are both Louisiana sports teams in the hardest conferences?
"It’s important to us to bring in good people, people who can fit in the locker room and people you want to root and cheer for. People that want to win. We’re trying to build for the long haul.” -Dell Demps
My own prediction..
1-5 San Antonio, OKC, Lakers, Clippers and Memphis- all teams with high pay-rolls who are built to contend now. None have lost any players of real significance, Memphis did pretty well to replace Mayo with Bayless for cheap.
6) Denver I think they're building a team that suits their unique home advantage and George Karl's style- McGee and Faried over the course of a full season will be an interesting combination. They have some depth too (Miller, Chandler, Harrington, Brewer).
7) Utah Adding Mo Williams, Foye and Marvin Williams were underrated moves in my eyes- they needed better perimeter players and 3Pt-shooting badly. Favors, Kanter, Hayward and Burks should develop further, and they still have Jefferson and Millsap- giving them strong frontcourt depth. I really can't envision them missing the playoffs.
8-9) Dallas and Golden State A bit of unknown with both these teams- their rosters have changed a lot in the last 18 months. Dallas managed to get Collison, Mayo, Brand and Kaman for cheap (without hurting their budget next year), so with Nowitzki, Marion, West and Wright still around, they probably won't fall far. The Warriors actually have scary depth now- their 'second 5' now goes Jack-Rush-Jefferson-Landry-Tyler, plus they drafted Harrison Barnes and may (finally) have a decent center. I think they can win 45 games..
10-14) Minnesota, Portland, New Orleans, Phoenix and Sacramento Out of this group, I think Minnesota is most likely to challenge for a playoff spot- it will depend on how their new pieces (Kirilenko, Roy, Budinger, Shved) fit. If Rubio plays a significant amount of games, if Derrick Williams improves a little and they stay healthy, I think they're a .500 team.
Portland and Phoenix are tough to get a read on. Portland's roster feels a little uneven- their starting five is decent (don't know what they'll do at center), but their bench is very young an unproven. If Aldridge stays healthy, Lillard produces, Batum repays their faith and Mathews and Hickson are consistent, then they might push .500- but if Aldridge goes down, they're in trouble. Phoenix has actually amassed a roster with some interesting pieces and some depth- don't know how they'll fare defensively though. If Dragic shines and Scola and Gortat mesh well, they'll probably be in the 35-40 win range- they'll certainly be competitive.
New Orleans and Sacramento will be interesting this season- I'm not sure anyone knows quite what to expect, there's a lot of young talent on each team. Our Hornets can boast the best player (Gordon) and the best prospect (Davis), but the Kings probably have more depth at this point. Outside of Gordon (injuries aside) and Anderson, we can't be 100% sure of what Vasquez, Aminu, Rivers, Lopez and (to a lesser extent- due to age) Davis will produce for this season. Our bench still looks a little thin, and very young too. Sac-town managed to add Robinson in the draft, and picked up Aaron Brooks which might be interesting. They'll need to figure out how to juggle Brooks, Thomas, Thornton, Evans and their plethora of small forwards.. they do have an intriguing frontline (Cousins, Robinson, Thompson) on paper. I think they'll be under pressure to improve. I think both teams will be in the 30-35 win range.
15) Houston The only team in the West that is CLEARLY going to decline this season- who knows how many wins they'll cobble together? They might be doing the right thing in the long run- 3 first rounders this year, presumably a top-5 pick next year, and cap-room to sign at least one star- of course a star will need to actually want to play in Houston, but if the plan works, they might rebuild quickly.
Last edited by Attila The Hun; 07-31-2012 at 03:00 PM.
8. Golden State if healthy
Last edited by speedyG; 07-31-2012 at 03:21 PM.
You might want to contact Joe and the gang about writing for hornets247. Very well written post and analysis of the western conference this season.
This is my regular season prediction. If the clippers stay healthy, I expect them in the west finals against OKC.
BELIEVE IN DEMPS!
8)UTA or MIN (Healthy Rubio)
9)UTA or MIN
EDIT: Switch HOU and PHX and i can see GLD getting a playoff spot.
Last edited by HornetsFan1; 07-31-2012 at 04:09 PM.
Hornets were 6-3 with Eric Gordon even there wasnt too much talent around him, with the addition of Anderson, Davis, and Rivers, I feel like the bar is set too low by some Hornets fans... I'm expecting 6-10 seed.
Last edited by joetzeng; 07-31-2012 at 04:05 PM.
1. San Antonio
3. LA Lakers
4. LA Clippers
7. Golden State
"I'm not going to allow my putative owner to answer that question, this is an NBA related press conference. Paul Tagliabue and Roger Goodell have collectively sung their praises of Tom and if uh ESPN has a problem with that tell Mr. Skipper to call me at my office."
Do we really prefer a quick first round playoff series at eighth seed, over a lottery pick for a solid big in next year's draft?
Dallas improved this offseason a bit.
Emeka Okafor - Joe Smith - Carmelo Anthony - Manu Ginobili - Jason Williams
Al Jefferson - James Posey - Aaron McKie - Shaun Livingston
2. San Antonio
I reckon the Hornets will finish in the position indicated on Rafael Addison's jersey....
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