The draft is over and all the big names are signed. Now it’s time to look ahead to this upcoming NBA season by predicting the playoff seeding in the Western Conference.
8 – New Orleans Pelicans: The NBA’s best League Pass team is going to make the playoffs. They are loaded with young, fiery talent that is going to be a nightmare to defend. Zion Williamson will be an instant star and is going to bring more of an atmosphere change to New Orleans than Anthony Davis ever did. Signing JJ Reddick was the most underrated move of the offseason.
7 – Portland Trail Blazers: The story for Portland remains the same. They are always a good, tough, talented team that isn’t good enough to seriously compete with the NBA’s top dogs. With improvements across the conference, expect the Trail Blazers to fall quite a bit down the standings.
6 – Houston Rockets: This iteration of the Rockets seems about done but James Harden is too good to not secure at least the sixth seed. Houston could end up higher in the wild, wide open West, but age, injury, and chemistry issues with Chris Paul signal real concerns.
5 – Golden State Warriors: Golden State’s inevitable regular season slide is more to do with Klay Thompson’s injury than Kevin Durant’s departure. D'Angelo Russell’s addition will keep them explosive. Steph Curry is in for another MVP season and the Warriors will be no easy outing for anybody.
4 – Los Angeles Lakers: Regular season drama surrounds LeBron James and will likely continue with constant trade and coaching rumors that are have proven to be detrimental to his team. With that said, the Lakers are too good to let it derail them for too long. Davis and James are as dangerous as it gets and the Lakers have filled the roster out with more than capable role players.
3 – Los Angeles Clippers: Kawhi Leonard is the best player in the NBA and Paul George is tailor-made to be his Scottie Pippen. They will be the NBA’s best duo next season. Add that with Lou Williams, and this is an offense as good as there will be in the NBA. But that pales in comparison to what they will be defensively. Leonard and George are the two best two-way players in the league and Patrick Beverley annoys whoever he is locking down on that night.
2 – Utah Jazz: They don’t get the press, but the Utah Jazz have one of the best rosters in the entire NBA. They can beat you in several ways on both ends of the court. Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic are major additions to the roster. Rudy Gobert is a force and Donovan Mitchell’s quest to superstardom will be picked up from the moment Utah’s season tips off.
1 – Denver Nuggets: The Nuggets are the most equipped team in the West for year-long regular season dominance. They have a loaded, deep roster that competes every single night. Nikola Jokic will be even better this season and will add his name into the MVP discussion once more. And unlike the other top teams in the conference, the Nuggets don’t need to spend months trying to develop on the court chemistry. As for the playoffs, there should be much less confidence, but they’ll have home-court to help them out.