A few weeks ago, we ranked the NBA’s Eastern Conference. With less than one week before the season starts, all eyes are on the super team that the Golden State Warriors built. The Warriors are the hands down favorite to win it all regardless of the challenge posed by the defending champions Cleveland Cavaliers. Other teams are also in the running but a healthy Warriors team are almost impossible to beat. Here is how the wild, wild West is stacked:
1 Golden State Warriors— The Warriors won a record 73 games last season and was one win away from a second straight championship. They eventually lost to LeBron James and the Cavaliers so what did they do? They added one of the league’s prolific scorers and former MVP Kevin Durant. That they were able to do this with their core intact is simply amazing. Durant joins Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson on what is perhaps the best team ever assembled in history. The Warriors are simply too talented to lose the West and they can even afford to sit one star player and still be competitive.
2 San Antonio Spurs—For the nth year, the Spurs are once again in the thick of things. Tim Duncan has retired but he was really not a major part of the team’s production last season. The Spurs return with basically the same line-up but with one major addition – Pau Gasol. With their tried and tested system of selfless basketball that encourages ball movement and finding the open man, the Spurs can win 60 games easy without breaking a sweat. The Spurs are one of the few teams that can threaten the Warriors in a long series.
3 Los Angeles Clippers—Despite having top-tier talent, the Clippers have been unable to turn this into anything more than just playoff appearances. They continue to disappoint even with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan in the roster. They also have a veteran coach in Doc Rivers and yet they seem to fall short over the past few years. If they still fail to go deep into the playoffs, look for the Clippers to seriously start looking at an honest-to-goodness rebuild.
4 Portland Trailblazers—The what? This team may just surprise. Portland has one of the most dynamic backcourt tandems in the league with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. They also have so much length and depth at the wing with Moe Harkless and Evan Turner. They won’t make it past the other top teams but this young squad can definitely go toe-to-toe with them. Portland has no problem on offense but they are an average defensive team. They also have holes in the middle to fill.
5 Utah Jazz—Yes they are underrated but they do have the talent to contend. Management shored up the young guns on this team with the acquisition of George Hill, Joe Johnson, and Boris Diaw while keeping key pieces namely Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, and Alec Burks. The Jazz will return to the playoffs after so many years in the dark ages and they will come back strong.