Looking Ahead in the Western Conference

Posted: June 25, 2011 by mceagle611 in Sports
Tags: , , , , ,

Now that I have given a snap-shot of the Eastern Conference, I will provide the same type of prediction in the same format for the West. To begin, in my opinion, I think the players that went to the teams in the Western Conference have more potential than their Eastern counterparts. Some are big names, some have a name to make for themselves, but I think the Western Conference may overtake the Eastern Conference – in player talent – in only a few years after more than a decade of Eastern Conference dominance. I say dominance, again, in terms of the players and talent in each conference; not necessarily team dominance because in that respect the fact of the matter is that the West has more Championships than the East during the course of this past decade. Without further adieu, here are the divisional previews.

Northwest

Oklahoma City – (Reggie Jackson) – Hey Russell, if you learn the term “pass” then you could do wonders for your team! KD is prime for a run deep into the playoffs.
Portland – (Nolan Smith, Jon Diebler) – Did not realize they added Jon Diebler on Thursday Night; simply put, the man can shoot the rock. A lot has to go right for this team but now with Ray Felton – who is in his prime – alongside Brandon Roy, they have a chance to be something special.
Minnesota – (Derrick Williams, Donatas Motiejunas, Tanguy Ngombo) – If everything goes according to plan then the Timberwolves are my upset pick. If Rubio can become an assist-leader among the league, competing with the likes of Rajon Rondo and Steve Nash, and Kevin Love can get a double-double in essentially every game he plays in then they could, also, be an elite team.
Denver – (Kenneth Faried) – The only players with real value that stuck around were Ty Lawson, J.R. Smith, Danilo Gallinari, and Aaron Affalo; so they are really going to have to band together and win some games with a team effort if they want to compete in this up and coming season.
Utah – (Enes Kanter, Alec Burks) – Decent draft, but this team needs more than Enes Kanter to be amongst the NBA elites.

Pacific

Los Angeles (Lakers) – (Darius Morris, Andrew Goudelock, Chudwudiebere Madaubum, Ater Majok) – The only easy pick in a cloudy, uncertain division. Despite trade rumors involving Lamar Odom, Kobe and Pau should do their thing; definitely getting back to the playoffs.
Phoenix – (Markieff Morris) – Considering that Steve Nash remains with the Suns they will, in my opinion, finish second in their division in a close race amongst the bottom four teams. Markieff Morris is clearly not Amar’e Stoudemiare but plays very aggressive and likes to run; a style that compliments the Canadien – Nash.
Los Angeles (Clippers) – (Trey Thompkins, Travis Leslie) – The two Georgia Alum love dunking the ball! They run, they can shoot, they can do it all – not great, just solid – which makes them both a valuable asset. With Blake Griffin slowly becoming a monster – filling the shoes of the superstar that the Clippers so desperately need – they could be poised for a regular-season run to the playoffs.
Sacramento – (Jimmer Fredette, Isaiah Thomas, Tyler Honeycutt) – Again, another tough choice because this Kings team is going to be filled with youthful talent. Will the inexperience really hurt the Kings or will their potential and capability carry them?
Golden State – (Klay Thompson, Charles Jenkins) – I wanted to have this team as a playoff team but their division is stacked. Despite the new arrival of Mark Jackson who has the right idea that “defense wins championships”, if Monta Ellis leaves they are screwed.

Southwest

Dallas – (Jordan Hamilton) – The World Champs will win their division with relative ease, the pick up of Texas Alum, Jordan Hamilton, makes them a bit more dynamic as well.
San Antonio – (Cory Joseph, Adam Hanga, Kahwi Leonard) – I thought this might be the end for the San Antonio Seniors until I realized that they might have one more go in them because Kahwi Leonard is a remarkable basketball player with tremendous upside. Despite the loss of George Hill, this team is a legitimate contender now – only if Tim Duncan has one more solid run left in him.
Memphis – (Josh Selby) – Even though the Grizz did not take a lot of talent in the draft, they have a lot of talent all ready in Memphis. Probably the team with the most potential to break through this season, Memphis is very excited about what they can do with the new addition of Josh Selby, Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, and Z-Bo(a.k.a. Zach Randolph)
Houston – (Marcus Morris, Nikola Mirotic, Chandler Parsons) – Oh this team will undoubtedly be a more versatile team than the last couple years. If Yao Ming can return healthy, this team will have a lot of weapons – veterans and new-comers – ready to deploy.
New Orleans – (Josh Harrelson) – An absolutely TERRIBLE draft by the New Orleans Hornets. Josh Harrelson is not the guy that the Hornets need to be drafting at this point in their franchise because he isn’t going to do any true damage. With a rapidly improving division they are falling behind because you know if they lose Chris Paul to injury at any time they are absolutely done.

* (News additions via the draft)

Surprise Teams: This season’s surprise teams are going to be the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Los Angeles Clippers because they both have the talent necessary to be NBA elite’s but they have yet to fit the piece together. For the Wolves it really comes down to everyone performing to their full potential because if Rubio can come in and control the game when he is on the floor, if Kevin Love can produce the way he was for all of last season, and if Derrick Williams is able to become a superior divisional force then they have a shot at being great.

Out in LA, the Clippers have most of the pieces, they just need to figure out where they all fit into the puzzle. I mean you’ve got a player containing, possibly, the most potential of any young player in the league – Blake Griffin. The man is clearly going to be their superstar throughout the course of his career in LA, but right now he’s very one-dimensional; he just wants to take you in or into the post to overpower you. I have yet to see Griffin develop a jump-shot or any outside game, and I understand he’s a big man but I really don’t see anyone else stepping into the shoes that Blake is expected to fill. However if they can find a good balance amongst their players – something that they really did not have last year – then…who knows how good they could be?

Comments
  1. […] Looking Ahead in the Western Conference « The Eastside Perspective says: June 25, 2011 at 3:33 PM […]

  2. […] to go against him. Man am I excited for next season; you can see The Eastern Conference and The Western Conference previews here, and we all better hope the Lockout ends […]

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