This western conference could be the deepest most talented we've seen. We finally ascend to the leagues best and now we get to contend with all time greatness. You have to beat the best to be the best. That couldn't be more true in this case. The playoffs will be well earned. Every seed is soaked in blood. So I'll try and make a stab at ranking these teams while setting up a western playoff picture aswell.
#1- Warriors, needs no explanation other than they don't care about seeds and could land anywhere in the top 4.
#2- Jazz, this is part homer pick and part a display of supreme confidence in this teams internal growth over the off-season. Gobert could very well be a MvP candidate this season. Donavan will be an easy choice for an All star bid. This teams bench separates them from the other teams vying for this seed.
#3- Okc, this is if Roberson gets healthy and back to 100% by the half way mark. They are capable of getting into the top 4 without him but with him they are also contenders and my third best team out west.
#4- Rockets, they lost some key defenders that had a huge impact for them. They still have some solid defenders but their depth overall took some key hits. Cp3 and Harden are enough to get them here and in title contention. I see the Jazz and Thunder as leap frothing them over the off-season.
#5- Pelicans, Anthony Davis is legit and this team has finally put enough around him to win. He terrorizes the league this year winning mvp while holiday gets an all-star nod and first team defense nod. He's evolved into that 2nd scorer and lock down defender.
#6- Lakers, for me they are a playoff team. LeBron does that for you and they have some really good young guys mixed with hard nosed savvy vets. They don't just show up and take down this savage western conference though.
#7- Trail blazers, this is where it gets tough for me. I think their big 3 is really good and if they can get enough out of their bench and role players they should be a playoff team. Dame is one of if not the best pg in the league. His scoring is effortless and hes a favorite of mine not in a Jazz uniform.
#8- Nuggets, ya I left the spurs off. Very hard choice to make. I feel like the injuries at pg are too much to handle which is good for the Jazz because this is a bad matchup for us. They still make it interesting with an outside shot to make it but I have them on the outside looking in. The nuggets can score and score some more. With joker and sap in the front court they are gonna be hard to stop.
Warriors vs Nuggets
Shootout in 5 Warriors advance
Jazz vs Blazers
Horrible matchup for the Jazz but they still prevail
Jazz win in 6
OKC vs Lakers
Okc in 6 games
Rockets vs Pelicans
Very tough series
Rockets in 7
Warriors vs Rockets
Warriors in 6
Jazz vs Okc
Even with Roberson healthy the Jazz are able to muck it up worse than the Thunder. In a brutal grueling series the Jazz advance
Jazz in 6 games
Warriors vs Jazz
If the warriors have any 1 key guy injured enough to miss a game or two the Jazz win. I think they have been really lucky with injuries and that luck has worn out. The jazz take advantage of their superior depth and capitalize on GS injuries to win and advance to the finals
Jazz in 7 games
Jazz vs Celtics
This is the ultimate grudge match. Both teams very good at defense with mastermind coaches. Both very deep. Almost too close to call. Gobert takes a big enough leap to dominate the paint. Throwing Baynes at him may have worked in seasons past but now Rudy is a monster and destroys the paint. Hayward and Ingles keep trading blows. Crowder takes this game personal and plays the best defense of his life somewhat neutralizing Tatum. Mitchell outplayesBrown. Finally down the pg battle. Rubio harrasses then they throw exum at kyrie. He's harrassed all game long. Exum blows by kyrie exploiting the size and strength deficiency. They play matchup basketball and barely squeak out a 7 game series in Boston.
Jazz in 7 baby!
This could actually happen this year which is the best part. This isn't a gag either. Sure I'm a homer big time but I wouldn't have picked them to win any of those series if it weren't a possibility. The most likely scenario is the warriors and Celtics play for it all and the warriors win with one of the best teams ever.