After writing about my thoughts regarding the Eastern Conference, I now present to you my take on the Western Conference competition. Here are my top 8 Western teams:
San Antonio Spurs – Still remains as the team to beat in the West. The core players (Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker) are intact and the have a decent depth in the roster. And the championship experience is a big factor.
Dallas Mavericks – This team will be back with vengeance. Dirk Nowitzki choked in the playoffs last season and I’m pretty sure he will be back to redeem himself. I expect him to carry the Mavericks together with Josh Howard, Jason Terry and Jerry Stackhouse.
Phoenix Suns – Amare Stoudemire is not expected to play the pre-season games due to his knee surgery. This shouldn’t be a concern unless the injury aggravates during the season. If Suns can keep Shawn Marion happy and Amare healthy, the club will move smoothly and get to the playoffs.
Houston Rockets – The return of Steve Francis to the Rockets is quite interesting. This move can either make or break the team. Unless they can find a way and work on the team’s chemistry, they will have a problem. And T-Mac should shake off the bad luck and play harder to get through the first round of playoffs.
Utah Jazz – Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams are often dubbed as the John Stockton and Karl Malone of the present day Jazz. The tandem is for real. They are a deadly duo but they are not Stockton and Malone. At least not yet.
Denver Nuggets – Carmelo Anthony, Allen Iverson, Marcus Camby and hopefully a healthy Kenyon Martin. The talent in this team is overwhelming and if the team can find the right chemistry, the Nuggets will be a scary team.
Golden State Warriors – This ball club needs to improve their roster depth. The team is filled with talented guards and small forwards, but they still need decent big men. They can run and and they can score, but without rebounds and inside defense, Warriors will have a hard time competing with the big men (Duncan, Stoudemire, Yao Ming, etc.) of Western Conference.
Los Angeles Lakers – With an unhappy Kobe Bryant, the Lakers won’t be too strong this year. Unless they find suitable players to play with Kobe, Lakers won’t be able to make a title run this season. Lakers need to build the right team around Kobe and keep him happy.