The Lake Show Rolls On Out West

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Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Even with all that’s gone on in Miami in the past two weeks, this is still Kobe Bryant‘s world.

That’s right, Miami.

It’s Kobe’s world.

Kobe’s Lakers remain the team to beat, which was solidified by Phil Jackson‘s return for one final season.

The two-time defending NBA champs return to the scene with basically the same crew that has clawed past their Eastern Conference counterparts in Orlando and Boston, respectively, the past two seasons.

And we’re guessing they won’t fear the Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, if they do end up facing each other in the NBA Finals this season.

We’ve already presented you with HT’s mid-summer look at the Eastern Conference’s top eight teams. Now for a look at the playoff favorites in the West:

1 — Los Angeles Lakers

Last season: 57-25

The Skinny: With Jackson back in the fold for one last run and chasing yet another three-peat, the Lakers make handicapping the Western Conference race easy for all of us. There will be no shortage of motivation for this crew to grind its way through the playoffs again and into the championship round. They have no clear-cut foil in their own conference, what with all the challengers either too old or too young to contest their reign as the top dog. Bryant will have the added motivation of cementing his legacy as the best player of his generation and one of the all-time greats alongside Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell — not to mention the prospect of turning back the Heat’s bid for a glory. The Lakers have the added bonus of having perhaps the most complete supporting cast in basketball in Pau Gasol, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Derek Fisher and Andrew Bynum, all but Fisher are either knee-deep or entering into the primes of their careers. Steve Blake moves into a reserve role behind Fisher and the Lakers also snagged a couple of draft gems in Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter, two athletic rookies that could factor into the rotation at some point this season. It all adds up to another long season for the rest of the West.

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2 — Oklahoma City

Last season: 50-32

The Skinny: You think this is too big of a jump for a team was the 8th seed last season, don’t you? Well, too bad. If you’re not ready to drink the Thunder Kool-Aid we’ll handle it for you. As long as Kevin Durant is healthy and Russell Westbrook continues to evolve into one of the league’s elite point guards, the Thunder will be a force. Last season’s breakthrough season was just the appetizer. Jeff Green and Thabo Sefolosha are quality players at their positions, on both ends of the floor, and Nenad Krstic has Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison and rookie Cole Aldrich helping him out down low. James Harden had a solid rookie season and could challenge for a more prominent role this season. But even if he doesn’t push for a starting spot he’s already a huge part of a Thunder second unit that has been upgraded tremendously from where it was this time a year ago. Eric Maynor could start of plenty of teams at point guard and Daequan Cook gives them a distance shooter with fantastic size and solid experience, having played with Wade in Miami the past three seasons. Of course, everything here starts with Durant, who signed a five-year extension this summer. The Thunder will be among the West’s elite for as long as he is in uniform.

3 — Phoenix

Last season: 54-28

The Skinny: For all the changes you will notice in Phoenix (GM Steve Kerr is gone, as is All-Star center Amar’e Stoudemire) the one constant for the Suns remains. Steve Nash, the age-defying wonder that he is, is still at the top of his game. He’ll have a significantly revamped supporting cast around him this season — Hedo Turkoglu, Josh Childress and Hakim Warrick will all join in on the fun. The best bench in basketball returns as well, led by Goran Dragic and Jared Dudley. Add Childress and Warrick to that mix and you’re talking about a group that could hold its own against any team in the league for extended stretches of games. They won’t have to, of course, not with Grant Hill, Jason Richardson, Robin Lopez and Channing Frye all back to reprise their respective roles. Still, the personnel possibilities for coach Alvin Gentry are endless. His vision of a 10-man rotation couldn’t be a better fit than it will be in the Valley of the Sun this season. The one concern this team still has to address is their lack of bulk around the rim, which cost them dearly in the Western Conference finals against the Lakers. But that was a problem even when Stoudemire was around. The Suns will be a nightmare to prepare for in the regular season, mostly because there is no telling what personnel groupings they’ll throw at you. Their issues will come in the playoffs, when the game will inevitably slow down and teams have more time to prepare for them.

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4 — Dallas

Last season: 55-27

The Skinny: Eight players on the roster are at least 10 years deep into their NBA careers, giving the Mavericks arguably the most “seasoned” roster in the entire league, that seasoning being a good or a bad thing, depending on your perspective. From our perspective, that seasoning has to be good for yet another 50-win season. But as much as we like what the Mavericks do, we’re having a hard time seeing this team contend with the Lakers for the top spot in the West. When they traded for Caron Butler last season we were convinced they were the one team that could threaten the Lakers. And then the Spurs came along and destroyed that idea. Dirk Nowtizki, Jason Kidd, Butler, Jason Terry, Brendan Haywood, Shawn Marion, Tyson Chandler, Jose Barea and HT’s main man Roddy “Buckets” Beaubois form as solid a nucleus (on paper) as any franchise could want. Still, there was something missing last season in the playoffs. And that puts some serious pressure on Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, who has to find a way to spark this team and shake them out of the playoff funk that has plagued them in recent years. Because they are not getting any younger.

5 — Utah

Last season: 53-29

The Skinny: We didn’t need any assistance in praising the move to steal Al Jefferson from Minnesota. But the Prime Minister provided these words of wisdom this morning in regards to Kevin O’Connor‘s season-saving theft: “Deal for Jefferson … genius. From the Mississippi roots to the style of game, he’s more of the Karl Malone type than Carlos Boozer ever was. And I like the prospects of the Jazz with him manning the middle. I know he’s not a superb defender, but at least he blocks a shot or two a game, and that’s what we need down there.” Well said. And anything that keeps both Jerry Sloan and Deron Williams happy, which this move no doubt must have, is a good thing for the Jazz. Moving Raja Bell in and allowing Wesley Matthews to go to Portland was a little more perplexing — Bell’s a veteran but has had injury issues while Matthews would have stayed at a much higher price than the Jazz were interested in paying. Losing Kyle Korver to the Chicago Jazz (where Boozer and Ronnie Brewer have also joined up) wasn’t ideal, but at least he’s not playing with a competitor in the West. That also creates a nice space for rookie Gordon Hayward to fit in. If Paul Millsap is ready for a starting role and Andrei Kirilenko is ready to resume his defensive-minded ways, the Jazz should be fine.

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6 — San Antonio

Last season: 50-32

The Skinny: How big a difference can one rookie make? Spurs fans have to be wondering with their most notable summer move of significance being the addition of Tiago Splitter. “I know everyone loves John Wall, [DeMarcus] Cousins and Blake Griffin,” one scout said, “but Splitter is the real deal. The same way Luis Scola came over and was an immediate force in the league, Splitter will have the same kind of impact for the Spurs.” Tim Duncan certainly hopes so. A Hall of Famer in the twilight of his legendary career, Duncan needs the sort of boost he once provided for David Robinson. In an effort to calm down the expectations, the Spurs are trying to stay on top of the rhetoric being tossed around regarding Splitter. And truth be told, the Spurs still have plenty of firepower in Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, George Hill and DeJuan Blair and HT fave Matt Bonner. Richard Jefferson remains a factor (until we hear otherwise) and youngsters like Garrett Temple, James Anderson and Curtis Jerrells might also factor into the mix for Gregg Popovich‘s team. That said, a huge season from Splitter could be the difference between the 6th or 7th seed and the Spurs being among the West’s elite.

7 — Denver

Last season: 53-29

The Skinny: Someone had to tumble with the Thunder moving up and the Suns, Jazz and Mavs all holding their ground. And that someone is the Nuggets, who have made headlines for everything but their on-court performance in the past few months. Carmelo Anthony‘s name continues to make the rounds in trade rumors involving several teams. Kenyon Martin‘s injury status (he won’t be ready for the start of training camp) and George Karl‘s recovery from cancer treatments continue to cast shadows over some very real concerns for a team that a year ago this time was considered the No. 1 contender to the Lakers’ throne. Those days are gone. The Nuggets are still a dangerous team, anytime you have the explosive scoring group of Anthony, Chauncey Billups, J.R. Smith, Ty Lawson and newcomer Al Harrington on the same roster there is a chance for fireworks on any given night. The Nuggets have a solid supporting cast in place. Their injury issues, however, will undoubtedly define their season early. Both Martin and Chris Andersen need time — hence the Nuggets summer pursuit of Jermaine O’Neal (Celtics) and Udonis Haslem (Heat) along with Harrington. The sooner Martin, specifically, returns to form, the better the Nuggets will be.

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8 — Portland/Houston

Last season: 50-32/42-40

The Skinny: This is not some cop-out for the 8th spot. We are really torn between the Trail Blazers, who proved last season that they could be a playoff team in the face of severe adversity caused by injuries, and the Rockets, who were scrappy but could not reach a playoff level in the face of similar adversity. Yao Ming is far more crucial to the Rockets’ cause at this stage of his career than Greg Oden (and to a lesser extent Joel Pryzbilla) is to the Trail Blazers’ cause at this stage of his fledgling career. Without all the injury drama we could see both of these teams surpassing some of the teams ranked ahead of them here — a healthy Yao is good for another 10-15 wins on his own, isn’t he? The Blazers did have their best player last season. All-Star shooting guard Brandon Roy is still one of the league’s most difficult matchups, provided his knee is sound. And there is a solid and veteran supporting cast around him, whether Oden and Pryzbilla are ready to play at a high level or not. The Rockets have an improving mix of youngsters and several solid veterans on the roster that will allow Rick Adelman more flexibility this season compared to what he had to work with last season. The addition of Brad Miller gives the Rockets a skilled big with experience playing in Adelman’s system.  And we’re expecting an immediate impact from high-energy rookie Patrick Patterson. Again, we won’t be surprised if both of these teams are sitting in the top eight by season’s end.

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324 Comments

  1. ArAw says:

    stop saying that PHX is gone without AMARE! AMARE is nothing without NASH! NASH gives AMARE an easy score!

  2. Don says:

    Korver was terrible on Defense. The jazz are not going to miss him with Raja Bell as a replacement. Most games Korver was a non factor. The Jazz played CJ Miles more than him. Jerry Sloan has never recieved the credit he deserves as a coach. He will make the players on his team better. Wes Matthews is proof of that. The Jazz will be in the top four in the west.

  3. Cally says:

    I think Utah can be the x-factor depending on how Al Jefferson & Raja fit into the rotation.

    1. Lakers, same..add Matt Barnes…
    2. Jazz, Jefferson has a better inside presence than Boozer, and Bell is by far a better shooter than Matthews, and a great defender.
    3. Thunder, more experience will prove helpful
    4. Nuggets, adding Harrington will make an even stronger front court.
    5. Mavericks, not much of a change
    6. Spurs, getting old still dangerous

  4. Yatyat says:

    1 LA
    2 Dallas
    3 OKC
    4 Spurs
    5 Utah
    6 Portland
    7 Phx
    8 Hou

    LA over Hou
    Dal over Phx
    OKC over portland
    SAS over Utah

    SAS over LAL
    OKC over Dal

    finals: SAS 4-0 HEAT (LeBron James will never win against the SPURS in the finals. For the record, 0-8…)

  5. thechadd says:

    All this article proves is that the writer is from the east coast or at least only awake for it! If OKC was in Seattle still where they should be (way to go stern on that one!!) they wouldnt even had made the list!! LA was sleeping through that series and beat them and I dont care what it took them they were on cruise control. The only team that would have slowed the lakers down and it is a maybe is a healthy Portland. Kobe said it himself. You cant understand a team from highlights and a box score so once again thanks for a worthless rankings that I hope you keep in your files and pull up at the end of the season to prove to yourself you dont do enough research to have the job you have. Your readers have better polls than you do and they are mere fans that have real jobs and follow sports for fun!!!

  6. WESC says:

    TAKE OUT THE PHOENIX SUNS, ROFL…. LON BABBY WILL HAVE A BIG TRADE IN MID SEASON THEY HAVE THE PIECES WATCH OUT… THIS GAME IS SO UNPREDICTABLE PORTLAND IS NOT GONNA MAKE COZ ODEN WILL BE INJURED ONCE AGAIN… YAO MING IS STILL RECOVERING FROM INJURIES, SPURS- DUNCAN IS SLOWING DOWN.. PHOENIX LOST STOUDEMIRE BUT THEY ARE WAY HEALTHY THAN OTHER TEAMS THAT I MENTION…

  7. rizzlerye says:

    why is noone even suggesting that the kings might make the playoffs…..and i say this with education behind my reasoning.

    #1 reason….
    they’re at least in the top 3 in depth in the front court now in the nba.
    Here’s why:
    - solid defender and rebounder in samuel dalembert
    - Carl laundry has now proved himself more than worthy of an early webber…and is only in his forth year!
    - Jason Thompson has grown significantly in the nba and is only a third year player.
    - Demarcus cousins has yet to really prove himself on the big stage but has very quickly earned great praise from hall of famers already…saying he has “footwork beyond his years”
    - Donte Green quit talking and put his talent to the test with hard work ethic and intense training to become more disciplined and poised as a player.

    NOT TO MENTION:
    Returning ROY Tyreke Evans has a focus now……has seen and realized what he can do at an nba level and isnow more comfortable in his role….which is very scary for his opponents. In addition to another player with a great rookie season in Casspi….who has taken alot of hits for being soft….and has responded by adding fifteen pounds of well conditioned muscle to his already lengthly frame.

    You put that altogether with good chemistry and Beno returning with a fantastic year…….and this team will very-well surprise alot of people……!

    This is not a biased kings fan speaking…..i just think the should be given credit for the potential their team is showing and not so easily counted out.

    What you think?

  8. qwerty says:

    1. Lakers
    2. Dallas
    3. Utah
    4. Thunder
    5. Portland
    6. Denver
    7. Suns
    8. Spurs

  9. Matt says:

    How can you say the suns will be 8-9th. yeah they lost stat but got warrick, hedo, and childress, there draft pick lawal, plus earl clark could also make a difference. the suns aside from nash and hill are a very young team and can only get beter from last year. with the best bench in the league phx has endless lineups and can cause endless matchup problems. there ranked 3rd for a reason. but they will surprise everyone once again this year. I also think portland and denver should be ranked higher. Portland had massive injury problems and still made the playoffs.. but heres my rankings.

    1.Lakers (defending champs they have only gotten stronger by adding blake and barns)
    2.Suns (highest scoring team, best bench in the nba, endless lineups)
    3.Thunder (amazing young tallent the team of the future for sure)
    4. Blazers (if oden is heathy and roy miller and aldrige continue to play well it could be a scary team)
    5. Denver ( if melo is there i think they remain a strong contender. I also think ty lawson has a breakout season)
    6. Dallas ( dallas takes a step back this year i think. with so much young tallant in the west i think dallas begins to fade.
    7. Utah (with the lose of boozer and korver and only additons of only raja i think they begin to struggle)
    8. Spurs ( i really think age begins to effect them. we saw it last year when the suns swept them i just think the gas has ran out)

    9. Rockets (i think they have a good run but yao only slows arron brooks and the new look rockets down..)
    10. Warriors ( with steph curry and lee they can be a real contender in seasons to come)
    11. Memphis
    12. Kings
    13. Hornets
    14. Clippers
    15. T-wolfs

    feel free to comment.

  10. Foster says:

    1. Lackers
    2. Blazers
    3. Mavs
    4. Jazz
    5. Thunder
    6. Nuggets
    7. Suns
    8. Grizzles
    9. Rockets
    10. Spurs
    11. Clippers
    All other teams don’t have a chance.
    PS. I’m not a Mephis fan, but how they heck is everyone looking past them.

  11. 1mike says:

    The west is going to be so close that the seedings don’t even matter too much. It all depends on match ups. Everyone, seeds 1-8 are going to have records within 5 games of each other. It comes down to health, chemistry, depth, big men that can dominate the paint, coaching, and a little luck.

    1. Lakers LA vs OKC LA vs POR LA vs HOU HOUSTON ROCKETS GOING TO THE FINALS!!
    2. Mavericks DAL vs SA DAL vs HOU
    3. Rockets HOU vs DEN
    4. Trailblazers POR vs PHX
    5. Suns
    6. Nuggets
    7. Spurs
    8. Thunder

  12. BobbyU says:

    1) LA (screw them)
    2) DAL (especially nice frontcourt, but stacked at every position. Watch out for Beaubois to have an impact, they are stacked at every position)
    3) HOU (they lost Yao for all of last year, and kmart only played for a quarter of the season….Brooks/Scola are capable of 20+ppg, Ariza is a 2nd/3rd tier lockdown defender. comparable to the ’02 Pistons, almost as good of a starting cast as LA)
    4) OKC (they are only improving…..and westbrook will put up deron william numbers)
    5) POR (lets face it, 5th in the west isnt a bad position at all. They would be > LA if they only selected Durant…….)
    6) DEN
    7) SA (they suck in the regular season, and do all their work in the playoffs. its hard to contend with MEM, NOH, HOU and DAL in their division. But Jefferson will have an impact)
    8) UTAH (fail Korver boosted that team up so much he will be desperately missed but Williams/Jefferson combo will keep them together)
    Honorable Mention in no particular order:
    LAC, PHO (turkoglu will bring them down so much……he will take ball handling away from nash and stoudemire is far from being replaced, nash/hill are getting older…..) ,SAC (just to shut that guy up, but I am a die-hard fan of Carl Landry, he is an inspirational player)

  13. kobe says:

    ;tha lakers are still the best

  14. Antonio Palafox says:

    **.. I think this will be how the West shapes up….
    (1) La Lakers
    (2) Portland( if they get Chris paul, and keep a healthy Greg Oden) other wise pick them 4th.
    (3) Phoenix
    (4)Oklahoma City
    (5) Denver
    (6) Utah
    (7) Dallas
    (8) San Antonio….

  15. LM says:

    This list is an absolute joke. To say that OKC is suddenly number 2 when their only real star is Durant is ridiculous. Portland should NOT be “fighting for 8th” unless they have another season of 300+ games worth of injuries, which I guarantee you will not happen 2 years in a row. If the Blazers are as healthy as OKC was last year, they will be top 3 easily, and if they manage to get Chris Paul, they will become a true dynasty, and Lebron will still be without a ring by the end of the season.

  16. Don says:

    You people are not giving the Jazz enough credit. They beat the Nuggests out of the first round with an injured team. The Jazz had injured players all last season. If they stay healthy with this new team they will without a doubt be in the top four.

    • haha says:

      And Denver wasn’t injured and their coach didn’t have cancer? Utah is at best 6 seed tossed in first round

  17. loydyboi says:

    again my beloved rockets get little respect, but it’s all good…we love our team being underestimated and labeled underdogs…heart of a champion baby

  18. not_a_laker_fan says:

    1. LAKERS
    2.
    3.
    4.
    5.
    6.
    7.
    8. ???? =)

  19. James says:

    Im sorry I now its the fad but OK jumping from bottom team to playoff team and now to number 2 in a competitive environment like the west is not anything I can see happening. No matter how much people may hope Durant can fill that LeBron role, he isnt that good right now. I remember GIlbert Arenas scoring 30 a game and that team had a lack of defensive depth.

    1) LA
    2-5) Denver, Dallas, Phoenix, San Antonio
    6) Portland
    7) OKC
    8) Utah
    9-11) Houston, Memphis, Golden State

    but if CP3 returns New Orleans can be a playoff team

    I am tottally unsold on Durant surpasing guys like Paul just because they had an injury prone season on a team full of players who havent reached veteran status. At least Portland is built like a championship team with all young players, and some vets, Oklahoma City is all young guys (first reason to doubt this), and if one major player gets hurt significant time they may not make the post season

    KD is NOT KOBE

  20. spursdrive4five says:

    it dont matter about the regular season spurs will get there thumbs rings this year let them finish 8th in all of your rankings i dont care watch and see what happens when the playoffs come along it will be over for teams 1 through 7 cant wait and the heat’s bench come out of the nursing home i think they r all about 65 so spurs will beat the ORLANDO MAGIC in the finals write that down not the MIAMI CHEAT and FAKERS and NOBE suck they got lucky last year but there luck has run out now his old knees and finger and back will catch up with NOBE just like u all will say about duncan and the spurs but just watch and see

  21. KCA says:

    whoever thinks miami will win 70 games with both atlanta and orlando in the same division is a bit mistaken. i think miami will win 60 plus but with orlando and atlanta combining for 6 to 8 games against miami plus 4 to 6 more against celtics and bulls. at best thats 10 games against top 10 teams or it could be 14 games against them. If T mac signs with the bulls and can produce say 18/4/4 that along with D Rose getting probably 16 to 19 with 8/9 assists a game and boozer probably getting another 20/10 season bulls will be a pretty tough team too. not to mention Noah pulling down 10+ boards and a couple blocks a game. korvers shooting and luols perimiter defense. Orlando can be really good if they get cp3 for the right price. I dont know how much Vinsanity has left but i could see jameer and paul running the back court together since jameer is more of a shooter then true point. it would also cause havoc for foes bringing the ball up the court. Then you could always have cp3 lob 4 or 5 times a game 30 feet up in the air to howard and have him finish

  22. Team says:

    Are you kidding me? OKC at 2?

    I GUARANTEE YOU Sekou Smith that the Blazers finish not only ahead of OKC, but are the team competing with LA for the top seed in the West.

    Oden/Camby/Przbilla
    Aldrigde/Camby/Cunningham
    Batum/Matthews
    Roy/Matthews/Bayless
    Miller/Bayless

    Not to mention some of the rookie pick-ups and possible trades involving the 14.4 million expiring contracts of Miller/Pryzbilla Blazers want to use to upgrade the PG position.

    LAST TIME I READ THIS CRAP BLOG!

  23. RippedCity says:

    Am I completely biased toward my team for thinking it’s absolute BS that the Blazers are number eight on this list?

  24. Jones says:

    Ok the whole Suns offense was fast break then pick and role. Who’s Nash gonna play pick and role with, Turkgolu??…. Yeah right. Also the Blazers at 8 is a JOKE. They can be a two seed when they’re healthy. Oden was averaging 20/10 before his injury, and Batum, Rudy, and Roy we’re all injured for 20+ games. Greg Oden starting instead of Juwon Howard and Jeff Pendergraph is a huge upgrade. I see 60+ games when they’re healthy. Here’s my order:

    1. Lakers (They will repeat, sadly)
    2. Blazers (without 300+ games missed, they’ll challenge LAL)
    3. Mavericks (great addition of Chandler)
    4. Jazz (Jefferson is an upgrade over Boozer)
    5. Thunder (I’m not yet sold on them… 8th to 2nd?)
    6. Nuggets (Martin is supposed to miss the start of the season)
    7. Spurs (Duncan and Parker can still compete… for the playoffs)
    8. Rockets (With Yao back, they can surpass PHO)

  25. Sina says:

    The days of the west having the Lakers be the #1 & having teams 2-9 be neck & neck are over. LA has seprated themselves from the pack & the Mavs from Dallas are nice enough to join them. This is a 2 team race in the west & after Dallas & LAL the #3 seed which will be Utah could be 15 games back of the #2 seed. Miami & the Lakers each will win 70 & Dallas will win 68.
    1. LA 70-12
    2. DAL 68-14
    3. UTA 53-29
    4. Hou 50-32
    5. OKC 50-32
    6. SA 48-34
    7. Por 47-35
    8. LAC 43-39
    1. LAL vs 8 LAC 4-0 LAL
    4. Hou vs 5. OKC, 4-1 Hou
    2. Dal vs 7. Por 4-2 Dal
    3. Uta vs 6. SA 4-2 Uta
    1. LAL vs 4. Hou 4-0 LAL
    2. Dal vs 3. Uta 4-3 Dal
    1. LAL vs 2. Dal 4-3 Dal
    1. Mia vs 2. Dal 4-3 Dal

    • Seriously says:

      Man you got to be smoking something special if you think Dallas is going win 68 games? Or the Lakers for that matter. And how could you put the clippers in the playoffs and exclude Denver? The Nuggets will win at least 50 games and be at least a 5 seed. I see them being 3rd. They were missing their coach and they had several hobbled players now going through surgery during the playoffs, and on top of that they have a guy who can stretch the floor now. I think they can make some noise this year if everyone can stay healthy. Dallas on the other hand got tossed in the first round to an aging team thats over the hill and they made it look easy.

  26. basketball101 says:

    I just don’t understand why people rank portland so high… There pretty much the exact same team as before. If they end up with a high rank I’m pretty sure they will still lose in the first round. They got destroyed against the rockets two years ago in the first round when they had oden, roy, and aldrige…. And another thing I can not comprehend how the rockets are ranked so low.

    Aaron Brooks improved a ton (Most improved player.. 20/6). The Rockets added Kevin Martin (21/4). There probably the fastest backcourt. Then you got Ariza/battier who are terrific defenders in the nba. After trading Ladry, Scola picked up his game and averaged 22 points and 10 rebounds. And next year Yao will be back next to him. And if he’s 100% he’ll average 25/11…That’s 4 players that can average atleast 20 points a game. Not to mention the rockets have an awesome bench as well…I feel like they have one of the deepest teams, and with that depth they could trade for players like Carmelo who wants to leave. And then you could start to question if the Lakers could win the WCF.. Houston took LA to 7 games without Yao… just sayin…and I do believe it all relies on a healthy Yao Ming this season. I’d just watch out because Houston is going to suprise everyone this season

    • cnote182 says:

      That Portland team in the 2009 playoffs had Steve Blake starting at PG, Joel Przybilla starting at C, and Travis Outlaw and Rudy Fernandez as the only two significant contributors off the bench. Greg Oden was much more comfortable on the offensive end in the 21 games he played last year than he was in the 2009 (his rookie) season. So comparing that 2009 team and next year’s version is pointless.

  27. dr phil says:

    2nd Round
    LAL vs UTA
    OKC vs DEN

    West Finals
    LAL vs DEN

    Finals
    LAL vs MIA

  28. dr phil says:

    LAL
    DAL
    DEN
    UTA
    SA
    POR
    OKC
    HOU/PHX

  29. Go Suns says:

    there is no way san antonio is making the playoffs, and i agree i think the thunder are the only team out of the west that will challenge the lakers considering how dallas always craps the bed. but i think portland will crack the top five as long as oden can stay healthy and brandon roy can keep doing what he’s been doing and rockets fan you’re the idiot the rockets will squeak into the playoffs and get it handed to them by the lakers, at least i can admit the fact that my team is getting worse, i think the suns will be a six seed and lose to utah in the first round

  30. Rockets fan says:

    your an idiot, Rockets 8th, suns 3rd you must not watch much basketball. your always on tv saying rediculous opinions aswell

  31. Dave Z says:

    You’re biased Sekou… The Lakers were scared and lucky to beat the Celtics this year… and you left out 2008… At best, it’s still Lakers AND Celtics… and you may not get a chance to see Miami other than twice a year… Go Celtics!!!!!…

    • James says:

      Lakers scared and lucky to beat the Celtics? The Celtics were lucky to beat the Cavaliers. How hypocritical, as you are obviously biased towards the celtics. I believe Sekou is basing his assumptions on the western NBA, that of which the Celtics are not in. Once again, nice try. He also said little about the matchup from last year, so if he didn’t bring up 2010, why bring up 2008? Oh wait, he didn’t bring up either. Try again. Or better yet, save us the time and don’t try. Sekou said little about the finals, so go troll on a different blog.

  32. MAVS ALL THE WAY

    THE MAVS ARE GONNA WIN IT THIS YEAR

    they have great low post defense with the signing of chandler and haywood.(this is one of the best inside rotation you can get at the nba now) now nowitzki doesnt have to worry about rebounding because the beackup center wont be a guy like najera.lol
    they have a great bench with terry(one of the best 6th man in the world), beaubois a raising star(ask anyone who is a expert),
    people might say kidd is not in his prime and that he cant play now but everyone who watches this league knows that last year was one of kidds best seasons. he can still play. everybody jus has to admitt it.
    they have great defense with marion and thoughness with caron butler and deshawn stevensson(even if he doest play). marion was one of the best defenders last season. when he was defending the top 5 scorers like anthony, bryant, lebron and durant, he defended them to a average of only 19 points. (yes go look it up). marion might not be like the old marion but his defense was one of the reasons mavs had the best record behind the lakers last year with only a 2game difference. caron is a hard-workin player that never gives up, he is though. real though. ask kobe. he will go at you till he wins. he gives thoughness to the mavs.
    yes they lost to the spurs in last years playoff. the reason of losing was because of the chemistry of the team. you cant expect a team to play their best basketball when two of their core players were added in the mid season. after this years training camp, the mavs will know how to play with eachother (tuffjuice will find his role.) and they will play great basketball. yes thunders are a great team but skillwise the mavs can match up wit any team in the league. yes even the heat. jus watch they will be the best next year.
    after the midseason trade last season everyone believed that the mavs were the only team who could play against the lakers and actually compete. the mavs have to same exact team. lakers hav to exact same team. pheonix has a team little worse than last year(maybe the same as last year), utah jus became the same. denvers the same, spurs are the same. wat else do you know to actually think the mavs will be 4th??? the eastern conference might have had big changes but not the west. they hav the exact same teams except portland of clippers(cuz of the injuries). if mavs were the team that had a chance to beat lakers last season wat about now??? SAME EXACT THING. people are jus thinkin theyll will do bad because of the loss against the spurs. but before that they thought the mavs would go to the wcf?
    so wat do i think??? i think the mavs hav a chance for 1st and they are surely atleast 2nd. well these are my guesses for the standings

    1.LAL or MAVS
    2.MAVS or LAL
    3.denver
    4.oklahoma
    5.spurs
    6.pHX
    7.utah
    8.houston

    MAVS GOIN TO THE FINALS~~~!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • spurs says:

      hey stupid
      this is some nonsense
      mavs beating lakers???
      spurs will do good
      spurs are the best team in the state of texas

      • Big V Baller says:

        Hey knobhead,

        You clearly don’t know much about team chemistry or progression.
        There are so many reasons why the Mavs can cover the Lakers this season. It’s not impossible at all.

        The Mavs have improved on their list from last year and will definitely increase the number of wins next season.
        Tyson Chandler is a solid replacement for Erick Dampier and will back up Haywood nicely.

        Our younger players will have more game time and add to our success. Carlisle will let Roddy Beaubois off the leash from the bench and cause headaches like he did last season.

        Our core group are the most experienced in the league. Many of them still producing the best figures of their game and still shrugging off the ‘over the hill’ tags.

        After a solid preseason, Butler and Haywood and the Mavs will have adjusted to each other enough and worked up a solid team chemistry. Something which they lacked and showed during the playoffs against an impressive Spurs unit.

        Spurs will win a lot of games with a handy list but will not win the series against the Mavs. Dallas have a lot of solid players and will push every team. With a starting line-up team which contains four players that have had all-star selection they will attain at least the second seed in the west and a definite contender to knock of the champion Lakers. There were afterall only two games seperating them last season.

  33. [...] Sekou Smith ranks the West and OKC is at No. 2: “You think this is too big of a jump for a team was the 8th seed last season, don’t you? Well, too bad. If you’re not ready to drink the Thunder Kool-Aid we’ll handle it for you. As long as Kevin Durant is healthy and Russell Westbrook continues to evolve into one of the league’s elite point guards, the Thunder will be a force … Of course, everything here starts with Durant, who signed a five-year extension this summer. The Thunder will be among the West’s elite for as long as he is in uniform.” [...]

  34. wwest says:

    1. Lakers
    2. Dallas
    3. Portland
    4. San Antonio
    5 Clippers
    6. OKC
    7. Nuggets
    8. Houston
    9. Phoenix
    10. Utah
    11. New Orleans
    12.Goldenn State

  35. David Stern says:

    Miami Cheat is way too overrated, same as lebron…the LAKERS and the CELTICS are still the best teams in the NBA! period! just look at that tight finals! what a game! lebron could just dream he’s there! very competitive teams!

    but still LA could 3peat…miami could just win if KG and KOBE retires…

  36. Blazerstaco says:

    1.LAL
    2.DEN
    3.POR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!woo!!
    4.DAL
    5.UTA
    6.PHX
    7.SAS
    8.HOU/OKC

    1.MIA (duh)
    2.ORL (yay)
    3.BOS /ATL
    4.BOS/ATL
    5.CHA
    6.MIL
    7.CHI
    8.NYK/(wiz r lookin good, but i doubt a playoff appearance this year.)/

    If lakers happen to play against the blazers, bye bye LA!
    at the rose garden, the last 15 games between these 2 teams: 11-4(portland lead) also last 5 (4-1)
    at the staples center, the last 15 games btwn these 2 teams: 7-8 (LAL lead). overall, Portland is 18-12 in the last 30 games vs LA

    • notyourtimeyet says:

      LAKERS once in the playoffs can beat Portland in their home.It’s different during season and playoff games.

      OKC I hope it’s not like New Orleans one year good and the next didn’t meat expectations, but still like the team to be successful but you won’t see the same thing if they play the Lakers ,Phil Jackson and crew already know what to expect.

      The bench of Phoenix will not be the same without Barbosa,he was the Ginobli of Phoenix.Amare sure won’t be missed.
      The surprise team for me is the Sacramento Kings.I believe they will be stronger this year
      .
      Denver without Martin won’t be any good, plus I believe they need a big body like Shaq to really contend
      .
      Dallas will be a floater, a team that will depend on other teams off streaks to keep themselves alive.

      San Antonio will continue to be 7 or 8 seeder in their rebuilding process.

      Portland depends on their centers if they are well they can go all the way up to 2nd if not they can fall off the map.

      Utah will maintain their fifth position don’t think they’ll change much

      Houston will be in the playoffs if Yao’s back which it seems he will.

      Memphis is another floater which will feed off bad streaks from other teams

      New Orleans looks like they will continue to struggle with games almost won but not quite .

      Clippers don’t know what to expect probably a late push but won’t make it.

      Golden State will have the worst record in the west.

      Minnesota will improve slightly probably with a late push.

  37. thechosenone says:

    True the Lakers are the team to beat, and just throwing a bunch of athletic and talented players on one team does not guarantee a championship. Just ask Phil, he can testify to that! In fact, I kind of feel sorry for the Eric S (the Heat’s coach), because he now faces more of a challenge than he probably can imagine. Not to say that Lebron, Dwade, or Chris B, has big egos, yet, but the media and a coach like Phil Jackson (especially), will find ways to get into these players and coaches heads, causing them to question their ability to play as a team. If Coby is the master of seizing the moment (choosing the right moment to score and or take over a game) in a game on the court, then Phil Jackson is the master of doing off the court before the game even starts. Case in point, take the Boston Celtic, he deliberate made the comment, to put it mildly, that they are good at losing a game in the fourth quarter. The comment not only made the Boston Celtics, to it mildly, a bit nervous going into the fourth quarter (causing them to think what if he is right?), but also inspired his team (they bought into it) to turn up the heat, believing that they were going to (cause panic in the Celtics) win. Now keep in mind that he had help (this greatly increased his chances of winning or being correct), when Perkins was no longer a factor. If a player an athlete can be like this on the court, in a game, then why can’t a coach be like this off the court? Ultimately his job is figure a way to get into the players heads, in order to get them to buy into his/her system; so why not use this psychology to get into the other teams head in order to achieve your goals. I believe all coaches know this, but some chose not to use it, either because they can’t because it will not work for them or because that’s not their style. Also, if the moment does not present itself then, it’s not an option. So with that said it will be interesting to watch how this season of all star teams (Big Acquisitions) plays out. O btw if you don’t believe me about Phil, just asks Shaq he will confirm it. Shaq could have gone back to the Lakers, easily, but with him being too good of a student he learned so much to the point that he became somewhat uncontrollable. Lakers had to quickly get rid of him, keep their future franchise and long term meal ticket (build around him), even if it causes them a few championships. Not to say that Shaq is completely blameless but hey isn’t it the coach who is ultimately held responsible and the first to get fired?

  38. bif says:

    1 Jazz
    2 Lakers
    3 OKC
    4 Denver
    5 Dallas
    6 Portland
    7 Phx
    8 S A

  39. ldhl89 says:

    Actually the spurs are not old
    Mcdyess
    Duncan- 34
    Mcdyess 35
    Ginobili 32
    Parker 28
    RJ 30
    Blair 21
    Tiago Splitter 25
    George Hill 24
    James Anderson 21
    Other Rookies

  40. Sam says:

    Why did La lose both reg season games to Cavs? I would think Kobe would want to make an impression…

    Cavs without Lebron vs. Lakers with out Kobe…. I give it to LA… hands down.

    Now Lebron on Miami… LA has no chance.

  41. John says:

    wtf… I cant believe people overrate OKC so much just cuz they took lakers to 6 games
    and nobody is giving Jazz credit when they are much better than last year with Al Jefferson
    Suns will drop a little but they are still good..
    Here are the Rankings:
    1) Lakers Beats
    2) Dallas
    3) Utah
    4) Phoenix
    5) Oklahoma City
    6) Denver
    7) Spurs
    8) Clippers/ Blazers / Houston

    • GD says:

      At one point your Right, but Westbrook is only gonna get better and Durant already was LEbron in Pts. and Steals, Durant is an all-star, then Harden Will Prove to be worth the Draft Pick that he was, Jeff Green Who I 100% Assure you will Drop 18 and 10 next year will be in the mix, thats why they have a future because they are young and have great heart

  42. Joe says:

    You, sir, have lost all credibility. The Suns at 3, and the Spurs at 6… really? The Houston Rockets have arguably the most complete roster in the league, and they return a healthy 7-time All-Star in Yao Ming in the frontcourt.

    Aaron Brooks / Kyle Lowry
    Kevin Martin / Shane Battier / Jermaine Taylor
    Trevor Ariza / Chase Budinger
    Luis Scola / Jordan Hill / Patrick Patterson
    Yao Ming / Brad Miller

  43. nba says:

    Houston will be in the top 5 in the west mark my words!!

  44. Bob says:

    The order is really of no importance because no one in the West can play with a healthy lakers team!!!!!!!! Anyone who sys the lakers are overrated obviously don’t watch basketball. I mean they’ve been to the finals 3 years in a row and 2 straight titles, and this years probably will make it a 3 straight title.

    • Braddio says:

      I agree with Bob that only foolish people or Haters would underestimate Kobe and the Lakers, especially with Jackson coming back. Their accomplishments and talent are indisputable, to any reasonable person. But at the same time, I believe HE underestimates the Spurs. They Have won 4 championships, and although they lost something when they lost Bruce Bowen(in my opinion the greatest defensive player of our time), Tim Duncan is still the heart and soul of this team. He’s still got Parker and Ginobli, and now they’ve added Hill and Blair and Jefferson. And apparently a superb Rookie to boot. And Greg Popovich is still an incredible coach. If the Spurs stay healthy, they are Still Contenders. And bear in mind I’m a Mavericks fan. But I know how good the Spurs can be at their Best.

  45. Braddio says:

    About the HEAT: This will be a very interesting thing to watch. After saying “I won’t go somewhere just to be a second fiddle”, or something like that, Bosh goes to Miami and will undoubtedly be Third Fiddle. We all Know James’ Ego is Huge, yet he’s gone to join a Proven World Champion. I see clashing egos there, as well. Think. IF they win the Championship, will it be seen as Just #2 in D. Wade’s great career? Will L. James be OK as just another piece of the Puzzle? But the most important question: Who will try and Coach these Egos? Pat Riley may decide to pass, and frankly, I can only think of two or three other coaches who could be successful at this Mission, and they aren’t available. NO ONE in their right mind could deny that the Heat have the Talent to go ALL the way; the question IS – can Someone corral these Huge Egos and Mold them into a TEAM?

    • Sam says:

      Lebron ego is not as big as you think, he is a humble individual. Kobe has th ego! man how soon you forget!! he was the whinner who wanted LA to trade him a few years back befroe they got Gasol.

  46. BallerJ says:

    I love how fans are split almost 50/50 about every decision or placement, with both telling the other group they’re wrong. Its hilarious. Some people think Phoenix should be higher, some dont see them making the playoffs. Some people think denver will be a 2-3 seed, others think 7th,

  47. Braddio says:

    Although I feel comfortable, generally, with my predictions, I want to add a few thoughts. First, I feel pretty sure that this season will be the last hoorah for the “old guard” in the Western Conference. I’m talking Lakers, Spurs, Suns and Mavs dominating the conference every year. There are just TOO many fantastic Younger players coming along in the West this year. Durant, D. Williams, Roy are a few examples. And great young coaches will be coming along shortly, as well. The era of Jackson and Popovich and Sloan will soon be over, I feel. So, looking out a year or two, I think the West will begin to look Much different than at present, and New Teams will rise up, with new great coaches leading them. Gentry is a fine coach and may keep the Suns Great after Nash retires. But realistically, the Mavs, Lakers, Spurs will ALL probably be very different teams in several years. Having said THAT, they all three should still be fine THIS Season, and the Suns as well.Now having said all THAT, let me add that I believe THIS Year will be the beginning of a major change in the NBA. For the past eight or ten years, really, there have been 8-10 teams of significant quality in the West, and usually only 3, 4 or maybe 5 in the East. We see this changing: Starting this year and continuing for several more years, this will SHIFT. If not THIS year, then Certainly next year, the East will be the better conference for a while. There are superb New players and coaches taking over in the East, such as Rondo, James, Wade, Howard and Jennings: Coaches such as Van Gundy, Byron Scott, Avery Johnson, and Doc Rivers, to name just a few, are great and they will All be around for a while. So, over a 2-3 year period, I clearly see the balance of Power moving East.

  48. Leo says:

    Dude lakers over rated??? is there something wrong with you? what more do you want as proof than back to back championships. I think you need to stay quiet before you embarrass yourself.

  49. WeOwnThePastDecade says:

    Why do the Lakers and Mavericks always more free throws than the teams they play. I find it odd when Kobe or Dirk misses a shot and cries and all the sudden a late call arises. They other weird thing is they are the two wealthiest teams in the NBA….hmm….kinda fishy….”i smell tuna”

    • Braddio says:

      1.) Lakers 2.) Thunder 3.) Mavericks 4.) Suns 5.) Trail Blazers 6.) Jazz 7.) Spurs 8.) Clippers
      Western Conference Final – Lakers over Thunder in 7 games
      NBA Finals – Celtics over Lakers in 7 games
      The only way something very different happens is IF the Mavs get C. Paul- if they do, a different outcome MAY happen in the Western Conference. Another wild card, and one NO ONE knows the answer to right now, is just How Good can Greg Oden be HEALTHY? If he’s awesome, THAT too could affect a Western Conference outcome, possibly

  50. [...] NBA.com’s Sekou Smith picks the Lakers as the best team in the Western Conference heading into next [...]

  51. tamko7 says:

    your all wrong.

    1. lakers 59 wins

    2.dallas 54 wins

    3.utah 54 wins ( loses season series to dallas)

    4.phioxex 53 wins

    5.okc 53 wins

    6. denver 51 wins

    7. san antionio 50 wins if healty

    8. clippers 47 wins ( if chemistry is there)

    9. portland/houston 45- 47 wins

    • BallerJ says:

      So your saying that after missing 300+ games to injury during the season, A healthy Portland team will get… Worse? By 5 wins? No logic.

  52. mark says:

    lakers still rules the nba!

    • Sam says:

      Why did La lose both reg season games to Cavs? I would think Kobe would want to make an impression…

      Cavs without Lebron vs. Lakers with out Kobe…. I give it to LA… hands down.

      Now Lebron on Miami… LA has no chance.

  53. harry says:

    1 la
    2 UTAH
    3OKC
    4MAVS
    5PORTLAND
    6PHOENIX
    7 SAN ANTONIO
    8 HOUSTON

    but i hate la i dont support any1 but i think miami will winthis 1 and at least 3 after that maybe in a row or not

  54. haimer says:

    cmon! suns deserve more aprreciation than NOH or HOU! YOU GUYS dnt just get a 10 man team rotation! thats what surprised everyone when they reached WCF!, and they will again, suns and Lakers WCF!

  55. kadoosz says:

    I love the fact that 90% of the posts on here have PHX out of the playoffs or 8th seed the highest. You kids forget, last season the rankings had PHX the same with amare, as an 8th seed barely and everyone agreed with that as well. Amare, was a great offensive player, however he showed is flaws in the playoffs: he cannot rebound worth squat, and he is the worst defensive big man in the nba. Odom is a good player, but when you allow him to get 19 boards on you, that’s pathetic while you can only average 5-6 a game. So the pick and roll to the basket may not be as effective with amare gone, but you all forget the slashers and shooting touch that is still available in phoenix. it may be live by the jumper and die by the jumper this season, we’ll see but i guarantee phoenix will at least be a top 5 team. lal is still the same maybe better without mr frodo aka farmar. i believe dallas will be the 2nd seed, portland and okc will compete for the 3rd seed although i think okc is being over rated a tad. denver and phx will compete for the 4th seed. Last comment, why does everything assume houston is all the sudden a playoff team? Yao is a good player yes, but he’s going to break his foot again and he’s not going to turn the team into winning 50 games when there is no other great players on the team, more role players than anything. But i can’t wait for the season to start so all these rankings can be washed up and we can just look at how the season will truely play out.

  56. BriX1993 says:

    This is a nice list but we never know what might happen during the season.. XD

  57. Laker4Life08/24 says:

    1)Lakers (and they will 3peat to send Phil out on top.)

    2) Protland (IF and ONLY IF they can keep their bigs healthy and playing)

    3) OKC (They are young and Good with no injuries they should finish High but won’t go as far as they did last season they will lose in the 2nd rnd.)

    4) Mavs/Utah ( Because the Mavs have alot of shooters, but still have no D or true Big, will lose in 1st rnd) Utah still has a solid team but MUST keep Kerilenko and Okur Healthy in order to make noise, but still has no rebounding.

    5) Houston ( Yes Yao is back but I doubt if he will finish the season his frame is not built to sustatin 82 gms)

    6) Spurs ( Yes they are old, but they play D, have bigs and barring injury they will be in the playoffs PERIOD their coach is too good to count them out and Duncan though old is still a beast when Healthy.)

    7) Denver ( They are low on my list cause Anthony won’t finish the season with this team, if he doesn’t sign his extension before the trade deadline they will trade him and drop out of the playoffs all together with out him they are doomed.)

    8) Clippers/Suns ( Losing Amare is going to hurt, Frye was a low post player who they turned into a shooter he will have to learn to play totally different, as he will have to take over low post duties, Chandler is a nice pick up but will be undersized when playing The Lakers and Blazers.

    9) Hornets will battle the Suns and Clipps for the 8th spot all season until Paul is traded, He and Melo both have gone the Wade,Lebron route and said they won’t sign there extensions cause they want to play in NYC with Amare!) The Hornets will compete until he leaves.

    10) Golden State can move way up this list depending on if Melo and Paul stays with their teams if not The Warriors with their shooting and Curry will be a team on the rise.

    11) Memphis,Kings,Wolves are all still rebuilding, it will be a very long time before the Wolves make nosie they are still feeling the effects of Garnett leaving, The Kings haven’t been the same since Robert Horry hit that shot on them and closed the door on thier Championship dreams. Memphis in about 3 yrs will be the new OKC they are building a Nice core team there.

    But to all you Denver,Suns,and Mavs fans for the upcoming season and the 3yrs after you can cancel winning a Championship. For these reasons, your teams are built for the Regular season, your GMs and Owners keep going out and getting offnesive players, you have NO D, you come out and shoot the ball and try to outscore the other team and hope they can’t catch up. This works well for the regular season but doesn’t work at all in the playoffs if it did your teams would have already won atleast once in the last 10 yrs. But hear this Western conference, as Long as the Lakers keep their core Kobe,Pau,Artest,Fisher,Bynum, and Odom and picking up Blake was a coup! If they get Barnes or keep Brown. The Lakers no matter who the coach is will continue to win. To everyone on that Miami Hype train get ready to jump off of it when a team like the Bulls,The Hawks or even the Bucks send Lebrick,and the crew home, get ready Eastern conference cause it will be won by the Celtics again or Orlando.

  58. T411 says:

    I don’t think that the nuggets should be that low. The suns are either not going to make the playoffs. or have a low seed.

    My playoff predictions are

    West

    1) Lakers
    2) Mavericks
    3) OKC
    4) Utah
    5) Denver
    6)Houston
    7) Portland
    8) Spurs/Suns

    East

    1. Heat
    2. Magic
    3. Bulls
    4. Hawks
    5. Bucks
    6. Celtics
    7. Knicks
    8. Bobcats

  59. jpdip says:

    you only play with one basketball in this game. the lakers know who handles the basketball in the waning moments of a game. does miami know who would for their team? yes they abound with superstars, and these stars er non-winners did leave money on the table to form a really formidable team, they don;t need all the money coz they have endorsements to cover for it, so they could leave it on the table. question is, could they leave their EGOS in the locker room and not fight for the ball when it matters most? good luck pat in deflating each star’s egos,.

  60. stevie says:

    Memphis and Houston are going to surprise alot of people. Houston will do well regardless of Yao Ming fitness, they have one of the best backcourts in the league with Aaron brooks and the perennially under-rated Kevin martin with Ariza,Scola and Battier they are deep.Memphis could have a shot at the top if OJ Mayo and Mike Conley step it up. I dunno if Hasheem can.

  61. roy7roy says:

    First of all i would like to start by saying i am going off pure talent and the thought of young players improves, I am not counting in injuries because for all we no kobe gets in a car wreck and cant walk so I am doing it as if every team is healthy.
    1 Lakers
    2,3,4 (Blazers, Thunder, Mavs)
    5 Nuggets
    6 Jazz
    7 Spurs
    8 Suns, Hornets, Rockets

    I am a Blazer fan but believe lakers are still the champs and have a complete team with kobe still playing like he can, Next I believe that the Blazers getting Camby midseason helped because he is still top 10 rebounding and blocking shots along with the fact that i am doing this as if no injuries to any1 makes me believe they could be second but i didnt want to say 2nd straight up because i feel too biased but they certainly have a deep team with a good leader in roy, then Thunder is another young team that is improving but i dont see then making the jump all the way to second in one year, the mavs also have a good team and are built to have a good season but need to be tougher to win in the post season, I feel like the nuggets are 5 because Billups is still clutch and has skill but he is on his downside and I feel this team will have trouble with the camelo sign or not sign the extension drama i could see them being better with a young bench but i feel they just wont click, next is jazz at 6 and i feel like them losing boozer is bigger than jazz fans think but the truth is jefferson had the ball alot with the wolves and so his numbers are the classic good player on bad team means improved numbers but also they lost korver along with mathews and another to the bulls which will take time for chemistry to develope, 7 is the spurs because Duncan is getting older and declining and the team is built around him and their draft pick could help them improve but until i see him play in the nba against real talent instead of summer league and college i feel they will be good at 7, and finally i have the suns, rockets and hornets in a race for 8th cuz healthy yao and cp3 improve their teams whille loosing amare’s toughness hurts pheonix

    • roy7roy says:

      Btw plz comment i would like to no what you think or disagree with but i tried to explain my answer

  62. Luke22 says:

    I think people are underestimating the rockets, if Yao can come back healthy they have a solid chance of pushing themselves up to 4th or 5th. Heck they missed out on the playoffs last season without a recognised all star for most of the season. when you look at players like Arron brooks, trevor ariza, luis scola and kevin martin alongside what was one of the best centers in the game 2-3 years ago they could make a push for conference finals if they play like they did last year but with Yao…I still think lakers will finish top, but by a smaller margin compared to last season, Kobe is a monster but how long will it be before little injuries are going to slow him down??? u saw it with his finger last year, he still played great but you could tell it was affecting his game…OKC will be pushing further up but not to the top three simply because they need a couple more years experience…Nash will keep the suns going somehow but i doubt they’ll make playoffs without amar’e… Utah will make it cus they are still a strong side…Dallas will cruise to the playoffs but the pressure will get to them like always…Spurs and denver should make the playoffs but im not so confident about san antonio anymore…Portland, if they play like they can will make the playoffs quite comfortably….The clippers will maybe need a season playing with blake griffin before they can be considered wester playoff contenders…whilst New orleans need a reshuffle whilst trying to keep hold of Chris Paul before they can be reconsidered…but i cant see the Grizzlies, Warriors, Kings or T’wolves getting close to playoff contention….the Grizzlies need to find out that there is no way Rudy Gay or OJ Mayo are going to be a superstars, they are both complementary peices for a superstar they dont have… n they dont have the bench to do a houston n play without a superstar for a season…The only way the warriors could move up the rankings is if Steph Curry just explodes and literally carries that team which frankly i dont think he will be able to do until he gets a helping hand…and i dont think david lee is the one to do it…and to be fair im not going to mention sacramento or the t’wolves because neither team are looking like winning 20/25+ games this season…

    1. Lakers
    2. Dallas
    3. Utah
    4. Houston
    5. Portland
    6. Spurs
    7. Oklahoma
    8. Denver

    9. Suns
    10. Clippers
    11. New orleans
    12. Grizzlies
    13. Warriors
    14. Kings
    15. Minnesota

    Feel free to comment back :P

    • baller10 says:

      you’re a out of your mind………..
      i know for a fact the kings will be back in the mix in the next two years……
      they havent been the same since horry’s shot……..?????
      be educated AND NOT IGNORANT AND THEN COME TALK TO THE REST OF US.
      they’re easily not going to be the second worst team in the league……thats hilarious though.

  63. weeee says:

    people were talking about LAL and BOS above and jordan was put into discussion? no disrespect to Kobe,he is a phenomenal player, but he will never be better or equal to jordan, sorry to LAL fans, Kobe won the first three championships as a secondary player keep that in mind. i mean he is still good, very good in fact but no where as good as jordan :)

    as for the west standings, i think LAL DAL OKC are locks at the top 3, in any order. for the other 5, its a matter of opinion for now. i think the west last 5 spots are for PHX SAS UTAH POR DEN to lose.

    I predict there would be an extreme battle for the last 2 or 3 spots, with the emergence of SAC (evans cousins landry) GSW (curry lee) LAC (davis griffin kaman) and of course HOU (yao martin brooks)

    *the names in ( ) are the top players in the team FOR ME :D

    P.S. i think oden and yao will be injured again. LOL

    • grant hill33fan says:

      another surprising suns playoff run!! dont under estimate again!! No stat no problem!! watch again the playoffs09/10 of the suns when the bench always run a big behind deficit!! the bench always a key factor for them!! suns are deep without amare!!

  64. MJ THE GOAT says:

    How weak the west is!!!!! This is a joke, the league now is so weake compared to 15 years ago, bloody crap. The east is a bit more interesting but if you believe the Celtics are to old then there is only 2 teams and one of them the Magic doesn’t have a single top class perimeter player!! Carter has the physical gifts, showing up LA twice but he truelly disappeared this post season. IT IS A TEAM GAME, but teams are made of individuals and Carter is not a winner never will be to SOFT they ahve no chance in a 7 game series against Wade, Bosh, Lebron, Chalmers and O’neal infact they will lucky to win a game!!!!

  65. james says:

    I DOUBTED THAT THE US TEAM WILL WIN GOLD THIS COMING FIBA BAKETBALL TOURNMENT..IF THEY THOUGHT ABOUT GOLD MEDAL THEY SHOULD KEEP KOBE IN THE ROOSTER, AS A LEADER AND EXPERIENCED PLAYER..THESE YOUNG PLAYERS ARE GOOD AND SKILLED BUT IN THE WORLD OF BASKET BALL IS EVERYBODY BALLGAME. SOME COUNTRIES ARE BUILDING SOLID PLAYERS TO BEAT U.S… U.S. CANNOT ASSUME OF WINNING A GOLD. PLEASE THINK ABOUT IT, YOU HAVE TO HAVE A VERY EXPERIENCED PLAYER ALONG WITH YOUNG PLAYERS.

    • PHX says:

      There is a good chance they will not win this summer. The players are the ones who don’t want to return because of their own reasons. Of course everyone would want them all to play for the U.S. but unfortunately we are stuck with a second unit.

  66. quentin O says:

    LA
    Suns
    dallas
    okc
    utah
    spurs
    denver
    hou
    phoenix is way better than the teams under them. you people are nuts. they will prove everybody wrong once again. pay attention and watch how team ball is suppose to be played!!!!!!!!!!

  67. baller10 says:

    why is noone even suggesting that the kings might make the playoffs…..and i say this with education behind my reasoning.

    #1 reason….
    they’re at least in the top 3 in depth in the front court now in the nba.
    Here’s why:
    - solid defender and rebounder in samuel dalembert
    - Carl laundry has now proved himself more than worthy of an early webber…and is only in his forth year!
    - Jason Thompson has grown significantly in the nba and is only a third year player.
    - Demarcus cousins has yet to really prove himself on the big stage but has very quickly earned great praise from hall of famers already…saying he has “footwork beyond his years”
    - Donte Green quit talking and put his talent to the test with hard work ethic and intense training to become more disciplined and poised as a player.

    NOT TO MENTION:
    Returning ROY Tyreke Evans has a focus now……has seen and realized what he can do at an nba level and isnow more comfortable in his role….which is very scary for his opponents. In addition to another player with a great rookie season in Casspi….who has taken alot of hits for being soft….and has responded by adding fifteen pounds of well conditioned muscle to his already lengthly frame.

    You put that altogether with good chemistry and Beno returning with a fantastic year…….and this team will very-well surprise alot of people……!

    This is not a biased kings fan speaking…..i just think the should be given credit for the potential their team is showing and not so easily counted out.

    What you think?

    • PHX says:

      The Kings may be much better than last year but I don’t see them replacing any of the other top 10 or so teams. Which of the teams that are in every person’s comments will fall out to let the Kings in? Tyreke is amazing but he is still young, I just don’t see them surpassing the other strong teams in the west.

      • baller10 says:

        the huge thing that bothers me is the comments about the clippers….THE CLIPPERS! are you kidding me? they should not even be in the discussion. one person goes on to say they need two years under griffin’s belt and then they’ll be playoff contenders……wow…..i like discussing stuff….but not with people who dont know or have basketball knowledge.

        and to answer your question……
        they’ll be there before
        - trailblazers or the nuggets fall of the map……
        - i highly think if they can keep a consistency…..they would definitely be in the picture before the rockets…….

        answer this…..who dont they match up with well now?

  68. PhxLoyal says:

    Don’t understand why people are counting Phoenix out, that’s exactly what they did last year and look what happened! STAT was awesome after the all-star break but half of his effectiveness came from getting good assists inside. As for Hedo being washed up, I think it’s more like he needs to be in a system where he can be effective and a go-to guy like he was with the Magic as opposed to Toronto. And his stats still weren’t terrible there, just not as good as they had hoped. I think a lot of people are forgetting Lopez too. He’s turning into one of the best centers in the NBA and as long as he gets a better handle on the ball he’ll be a huge presence on the inside for scoring and offensive rebounds.

    • PHX says:

      Let them all discount the Suns, they did it in the regular season and then they did it in the playoffs. People were picking Portland over the Suns and then guaranteeing the Spurs would beat them. Then after the Suns swept the Spurs the Lakers win two home games and everyone is calling a sweep. The Suns were arguably one lucky put back from Artest away from beating the Lakers. Hill had said last year that it just helped fuel their players and locker room to prove everyone wrong. J-Rich is one of the most underrated players in the NBA. I am looking forward to watching their bench dominate again with a year of playing together.

  69. playtime says:

    Playoff Teams for the West
    1. Los Angeles Lakers (nothing to talk about, I how their EGO’s are in check, hope they sign Jeremy Lin)
    2. Dallas Mavericks (Risky situations, can Chandler help them or become a burden?, they need a young PG here)
    3. OKC Thunders (The underdog suddenly becomes an elite team that even can match the Lakers intensity)
    4. San Antonio Spurs (This is as far as Splitter will get the Spurs)
    5. Denver Nuggets (It all depends on health and their latest recruit)
    6. Houston Rockets (I envy their bench and ball play, let’s see how Kevin Martin and Trevor Ariza will play with Yao. Brad Miller reunited with Rick Adelman will increase his stats this season.)
    7. Portland Trailblazers (Is Wes Matthews is big plus or a waste of bucks)
    8. Utah Jazz (I can’t see how the new replacement could help Jazz, but DWill might have an answer for it.)

    Playoff Teams for the East
    1. Chicago Bulls (funny that I post them on the top spot, but I expect Derrick Rose’s new level of intensity can make this possible)
    2. Miami Heat (even they got Lebron and Bosh to join no.3, I won’t expect them to be no.1 that easily with injuries all over here and there, oh too many old guys.)
    3. Orlando Magic (………)
    4. Atlanta Hawks (the new 120million contract will play out for them clinging on this spot)
    5. Boston Celtics (Jermain O Neal is not a good addition for them that’s all I can say, look how he play with Miami Heat)
    6. Milwaukee Bucks (Jennings and their newly signed rookie might have something in common to play here)
    7. Washington Wizards (the 1st rookie “John Wall and 1st drop pick this decade “2010″ to ever get his team into playoffs ?, please kick Gilbert Arenas out of this team. He is the ZERO factor here. As he is a big BAD INFLUENCE.)
    8. Philadelphia 76er’s (it all comes down how the New Jersey Nets and the rest of the nonfactors will battle out for this tight 8th spot, oh Cleveland might pull something just to get on this spot. I want them to compete with Miami Heat if ever as intentional fouls will loom the basketball stage as we have seen before.)

    • GD says:

      Arenas Isn’t a Zero Factor, As a Knick Fan I’d Love to Have Arenas on my team, i love how everyone thinks wall will be the superstar that everyone thinks he will, I have no doubt John Wall will Be Very Talented But Superstar I Doubt it, Who Knows I might have to eat all tis crap im saying, but right now Arenas is A key player and the wizards without him aren’t as good as people think, who do you have on that team, J. McGee, Al Thorton, Nick Young, Injury Proned Josh Howard, young Taleny but just not as people expect

  70. alex1980 says:

    yao, martin, brooks THE big three! lol
    1. dallas (always good during the season)
    2. lakers
    3. nuggets
    4. okc
    5. houston
    6. utah
    7. suns
    8. spurs/portland (spurs if duncan still a some spark in him)

  71. Demo says:

    I’m sick of hearing how awesome the Lakers are.. everyone else is NOT that far off.. and i swear if someone tries to keep going on about how good Bynum is …. Bynum has no post game.. the only reason it goes in sometimes is because he is 7ft something and basically massive.. Hes another Kendrick Perkins.. Size but physically retarded and misses layups..
    I give kobe his dues..ron artest is paying hte price of leaving a good team that was willing to focus on him in houston to going for a championship.. he almost blew the championship btw and his game will continue to decline in this lakers systerm.. Gasol was never the best pf in the game.. and still isn’t.. if he was Memphis would have been alot better.. Dont get me wrong i rate gasol and hes an amazing fit with Kobe.. but please so many other pf’s could take his place and produce just as productively.

    Denver.. i’ve always loved Melo.. but his time with Denver is done.. their style of gameplay will never win a championship because it is far too hot and cold. Nene can’t shoot.. Kmart is too short.. JR Smith will get frustrated because he never gets appreciated for his impact and Chauncey will lose interest.. I hope i’m wrong i love nuggest basketball but the future looks bleak.. Al harrington will make no impact… he just stops them from declining

    Stop looking over Steph Curry.. the kid is going to dominate.. but they have just been making the dumbest decisions since the upset over dallas era.. Why deal JRich he was dominating.. why deal B davis.. he was dominating ..why deal al harrington.. why deal captain jack.. they were an amazing team.. they just needed a 4.. What kind of idiots destroys the most explosive and entertaining team in the NBA at the time for a big man that “might be good” .. AND WASN’T..they wont make an impact this year.. but expect steph to continue to stun everyone.

    Houston have been doubted for FAR TOO LONG.. Arron Brooks is still on his way to being one of the most dominant point guards in the league.. let us not forget that the rockets have constantly been one of the teams that the Lakers consistently have trouble beating and thats without yao (and tracy in the day).. this is the team that had the 21 -0 win streak and they have the same core.. You’ll find that consistency and commitment to the team will prove the rockets as one of the most worthy opponents in the west… Minus injuries you’ve got a lot of players with a lot to prove.. however you have to question whether yao is enough of a centerpiece player to win a championship with tho.. he basically demands a 4-1 offence witha scola or milsap player at the 4.. it will never be enough to take it all the way.

    OK City will continue to prove their worth this season.. hanging on to jeff green is a big part of that.. he’s a far more signifcant part of the team chemistry than is obvious on first glance..and he’s 50% of the hustle

    Dallas.. you will not win a championship for the next 10 years.. Dirk Can’t bring you one, J Kidd can’t play with so many shooters and no wing /drivers.. Haywood is wayy too overatted in a drought of capable C’s.. Butler is going to struggle in allowing them to play team basketball.. he can carry the team or they’ll carry him.. never in between.. and shaun marion is continously not being used the way he should be… Tyson Chandler was the best sign they have made in the last 4 years.. finally dallas signed a player they actually needed who gives them an angle that will benefit them. Tyson chandler is the big man defence and aggressive muscle dirk can’t provide.. (a bigger version of brandon bass).. The kid has potential to score as well if someone can tap into it.. Chris paul almost did.. and if J kidd doesn’t emphasize on the huge hangtime ally oop’s chandler can provide then dallas will just continue to prove that they are the stupidest organisatino and team in the universe who just can’t provide the goods whenever its actually important..

    i’d love some criticism if anyone has any

    • James says:

      Well, criticism on your criticism? Don’t you think you’re being a big harsh? And yes, the rest of the west is far off. The Suns beat the Spurs 4-0, and the Lakers were able to beat the Suns with Stoudemire. The Suns don’t have Stoudemire, and the Lakers pretty much won their playoffs with ease besides arizona. Ron Artest a fool to leave a team for a ring? Yeah, I don’t think so. Play start to decline in the Laker system? Do you know anything of the Laker system? Did you watch the finals? When the Lakers have their offense sputtering, they rely on good defense, that of which Artest excells. Of course some players on the Lakers roster would have better STATS if they were on different team, but only because they would be the go to guy on their own team. They would definitely not win a ring.

      I agree with Denver. Al Harrington will probably have little impact, though I could be wrong. We shall see.

      Also, if we expect stunning performances, they aren’t really stunning, just saying.

      I think that Houston is good, but I still don’t think that they have enough to win a ring. You say Lakers have troube beating them, but that’s just that. The Lakers do beat them. It doesn’t really matter the score, it matters who wins.

      I believe that I’ve given criticism, and if you decide to flame me, just remember that you asked for it. If you’d like to respond, I’m fine with that, but let’s not insult each other.

  72. aussiefan says:

    does anyone think portlands Patrick Mills of Australia should be getting more of a run? in a team without a top quality point gaurd to help back up B-Roy, im surprised he hasnt had more of a run despite his injury woes.

  73. MIchael says:

    How can you rank San Antonio lower than 5 is rediculous injuries or not, especially in an odd numbered year. Look every year people underestimate them and they prove them wrong every year. they will win th South west division and be the number 3 seed in the west by doing so. LA will pull a San Antonio this year and not vie for the best record in the west to keep the roster healthy (bynum). Look for Utah or OKC to have the best record.Look for Utah and LA in the finals.

    1. UTAH/OKC
    2. LA
    3. San Antonio
    4. OKC/UTAH
    5. Denver
    6. Dallas
    7. Portland
    8.Pheonix / Houston/ LAC

  74. John says:

    LOL I see we have a bunch of GENIUS’s, especially Jennifer! You obviously are thinking that because they lsot Amare they won’t be significant? You need to go back and look at what they did after the All-Star break! This is a completely different team that it has been in the past! They are DEFENSE oriented, just ask the teams they faced in the playoffs! Losing Amare is a big loss, but they certainly replaced his offense and added MUCH MORE defense and rebounding, so to discard them now and say teams like Portland, OKC, Utah, Denver or even the ROCKETS of all teams are going to be leap the Suns is just ill advised and wishful thinking!

    The Suns will definitely be as tough offensively and clearly BETTER DEFENSIVELY! I think another team to look out for out west is going to be the L.A. Clippers. Ohh by the way, look for the Jazz to struggle to make the playoffs if they make it at all!

  75. ian says:

    West
    1. Mavericks
    2. Lakers
    3. Thunder
    4. Rockets
    5. Nuggets
    6. Spurs
    7. Blazers
    8. Suns/Jazz/Grizzlies

    East
    1. Heat
    2. Magic
    3. Bulls
    4. Hawks
    5. Celtics
    6. Bucks
    7. Bobcats
    8. Cavaliers/76ers

  76. salonilova69 says:

    1.Dallas
    2.Lakers
    3.Thunder
    4.Nuggets
    5.Portland
    6.Spurs
    7.Utah
    8.Suns

  77. salonilova69 says:

    the suns and utah are too high denver should be a lot higher and portland should be higher than 8th

  78. onin says:

    if the orlando magic want continue the legasy that the team has,they have to hunt and acquire a mvp type of point guard like steve nash,deron williams or cris paul,

  79. Juanito says:

    WEST
    1. Lakers
    2. Mavericks
    3. Nuggets
    4. Jazz
    5. Suns
    6. Thunder
    7. Blazers
    8. Spurs

    EAST
    1. Heat
    2. Celtics
    3. Magic
    4. Bulls
    5. Bucks
    6. Hawks
    7. Bobcats
    8. Knicks

  80. Be^^ says:

    Hi I’m from Indonesia
    I just believe and hope that the Lakers will win again this season. Three peat for the Lakers

  81. Trav says:

    Colt, your retarded. Two straight championships and Kobe a five time champ and you think LAL, who went through a celtic team that is still superior to any team 2-7 in the west, and you think thier overrated. WOW!

  82. Hustla801 says:

    Basically the separtion in games from seeds 1-8 in the west will likely be five games total, if not less.

    Last year Utah and Denver won the exact same amount of games (53) and Denver won the 4th seed and consequently HCA due to owning the season series 3-1 over Utah. Expect more of these same tiebreakers next year. While Harrignton is an impressive addition, Denver has not helped themsleves where they were exposed in the playoffs and that is in the P-A-I-N-T. I can understand not having your coach takes a toll but hes not playing so for all those fans saying Karl is a difference maker thats just illogical and it makes you sound like a simp whose making exccuses.

    Of all the young teams OKC has the most promise and correct pieces in place for regular season wins however OKC was miraculously healthy last year, like abnormallly healthy regardless they will still win about 50 though. I honestly think theJazz have improved something that not alot of people have noted and it is the mystique factor. For years now Utah has always just stuck with what was working, layed low and quietly made the playoffs with the same personnel for the past five years basically. This year they shed those players who had reached their potential on the Jazz and in return got a 6’8″ point guard in a forwards body in Hayward. They also got the seasoned Raja Bell who averages a higher career three fg% over Korver and can actually defend unlike Korver. Bell has a reputation for his defense. Somtimes with defense a reputation can precede you. Kobe knows Bell. Bell knows Kobe. And they got Al Jefferson. Jefferson was born to play on a team like Utah and Utah has designed their offense for a power forward like Al. Expect a crazy season from BIG AL.

  83. tohdlerr says:

    lakers all the way to 3 peat

  84. Chris Marlton says:

    Denver is the best team on that list, followed by the Thunder.

  85. Larry says:

    we’re all arguing over who’s just gonna dominate the West but this is all about really just proving that the West is so dominant people keep saying the power is changing to the East but they have teams that make the palyoffs with LOSING records so there’s no way u can say the East is better…the only way any team like Orlando, Boston, Chicago, or Miami wins a championship is if they play a team in the West who had to kill themselves every round to just get to the Finals…look i’m a die-hard Spurs fan and i wasn’t too excited the Lakers won but i kno enough to kno the Lakers are good and along with just about every other team in the west; if u asked me i think any team in the West besides MIN could win a championship…yeah the warriors and Grizzlies aren’t the best but they hav good quality players and teams like every other team in the West…all im saying is how overrated the East has been and the credit they’ve been given is BS because they haven’t proven themselves yet…Boston had to bring together their “Big 3″ through trades and they were still only a one-hit wonder

    im just saying Go West!!

  86. Joel says:

    1 – LAL
    2 – Dallas
    3 – Utah
    4 – Denver
    5 – Oklahoma
    6 – Phoenix
    7 – Potland
    8 – S.A

    Definitely a tough call.
    Oklahoma is a great team – but i think it’s too early to say that they’re a 2 seed.
    Everyone said Portland was going to be the lakers no.1 threat before last season and we all know how that turned out.
    The West relies heavily on the the health of players. Take the nuggets for example – with a healthy Martin, Nene, Anderson (all their bigs) and coach…could have really made a splash in the playoffs. And portland and utah aswell – 2 teams that were also plagued by injuries throught the course of last season. Time will only tell; considering how wrong all of us were last year when early predictions were made

    • Emily says:

      Yeah, Blazers missed over 300 games due to injury is what happened. And we still beat LA in LA. Blazers are a bigger threat to the Lakers than OKC Thunder.

  87. edgeekster says:

    1.PHX
    2.LAL
    3.POR
    4.DAL
    5.OKC
    6.HOU
    7.SA
    8.MEM/NO

  88. Jeremy says:

    “Everything else is fine. Just the Suns being in the playoffs at all is a stretch, and third place is unbelievable. Remember Phoenix the during the 08/09 season?”

    Remember Phoenix during the 05/06 season? With Amar’e out for pretty much the entire season and Boris Diaw as their starting center? Remember that team making the conference finals?

  89. Bill says:

    The West is so difficult to predict, but here goes…

    1. LAKERS
    2. San Antonio
    3. Thunder
    4. Dallas
    5. Portland
    6. Utah
    7. Denver
    8. Phoenix

    It was hard for me to put San Antonio as 2., but I don’t know about the Thunder’s maturity over an entire season yet. Phoenix might move up, but I don’t know. The West is a tough conference. With a healthy Blake, the clippers can upset any of these teams on any given night.

  90. Adam says:

    I Don’t see what all the fuss is about Portland. I know they’re a good team but until they find a LEGIT pg, I have to agree with smith on this one.

    However, I will say that if they ever get an all star caliber PG, they could contend for the Championship. If they could convince Chris Paul to come to Portland instead of New York, then watch out!!

  91. SKR says:

    The people who put san antonio in 7/8 seeds in the WC dont know anything abot spurs franchise and their team.if you base opinion on last season, you are completely wrong. After all star break spurs were actually beating all those so called elite teams ( lakers, celtics, magicc, cavaliers) and they have the one of the best winning percentage.
    Early in the season with new players and injuries , it just took time to gel as a team. We know thet got swept by red hot phoenix team because of match up problems , and remember all those games are close. with little tweaking, spur will be right in top 4 seeds in WC. with a well rested healthy ginobili/parker/duncan and a decent bench they have the potential to beat all top teams in west. remember they beat laker 2/4 games last season and gave away another game in 4th quarter. they also beat OKC 3/4 times last season. they got swept by utah and portalnd, but its not going to happen again this season.
    lets see what happens in playoffs where the better teams adavnce.

    • PS says:

      The reason that the Spurs had beat the Suns in previous years was because of match up problems for the Suns. The reason why they got swept was because the Suns bench outplayed the Spurs starts consistently. The Spurs had double-digit leads in at least 3 of the 4 games (I believe) and the Suns came back and beat them. Spurs finished low last season and then lost in the second round. The only change they really made was bringing in Splitter and who knows if RJ will return (he was a bust anyway in their system). Until they prove themselves they wont be ranked any higher.

  92. Sosay says:

    yo chauncey gonna be pg for team usa dis summer…… nuggs gonna rock it!!!!!
    fools who don’t think so have crazy brains.

  93. Raul says:

    forget da heat, celtics, n all da rest LAKERS 4 LIFE!!! THIS BELONGS 2 US!!! N 4 DA QUEEN LABRANA DA MVP ALREADY CHANCING A RING CAUSE DA KID, THE BABY CANT DO IT…. BE A MAN FOOL!!!!

    • Nom Nom says:

      Stupid Lakers fans. Can’t even construct a proper sentence.

      • James says:

        Or he’s just having fun? It’s the internet, no need to correct grammar. Troll somewhere else, for Lakers fans are able construct a proper sentence, we just love watching Laker Haters complain about everything, even internet grammar. Save the insults for the actual Laker team. Oh wait, they’re good enough to win, so you have to resort complaining about their fans instead.

    • PS says:

      You are a moron.

  94. Gman4747 says:

    1. Lakers
    2. Mavs
    3. Blazers
    4. Nuggets
    5. Spurs
    6. Jazz
    7. Rockets
    8. Suns/Thunder

    1. Heat
    2. Magic
    3. Celtics
    4. Bulls
    5. Hawks
    6. Bucks
    7. Bobcats
    8. Cavs

  95. djbooty says:

    Sekou has usually got a good opinion, but this time he is way off. I mean seriously ranking portland for the eighth spot is ridiculous. If his ranking is based on portland being injury prone, then it’s illogical as injuries can happen to any team. Based on pure talent, I wouldn’t be surprised if portland could finish top in the west. The Lakers era has ended…if portland ever faces lakers in the playoffs, I dont see lakers winning that series. Based on pure talent, here are my rankings:
    Blazers, Dallas, Lakers, OKC, Denver, Spurs, Suns/Rockets, Jazz/Clippers…Here are rankings if injuries are taken into account: Timberwolves, Warriors, kings, hornets, grizzlies, rockets, clippers, jazz

  96. Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat Fan says:

    oops! Bad Spacing, my bad!

  97. Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat Fan says:

    2011 NBA Playoff Predictions

    Eastern Conference: Conference Semi – Finals: Eastern Conference Finals:

    Miami Heat (1) Win: 4 – 0
    Chicago Bulls (8)
    Miami Heat (1) Win: 4 – 1
    Orlando Magic (3)

    Orlando Magic (3) Win: 4 – 2
    Washington Wizards (7) Miami Heat (1) Win: 4 – 0
    Atlanta Hawks (4)
    Boston Celtics (3) Win: 4 – 3
    Philidephia 76ers (6)
    Boston Celtics (3)
    Atlanta Hawks (4) Win: 4 – 3
    Atlanta Hawks (4) Win: 4 – 1
    Cleveland Cavaliers (5)

    Western Conference: Conference Semi – Finals: Western Conference Finals:

    Los Angeles Lakers (1) Win: 4 – 1
    Portland Trailblazers (8)
    Los Angeles Lakers (1) Win: 4 – 3
    Dallas Mavericks (2)
    Dallas Mavericks (2) Win: 4 – 0
    San Antonio Spurs (7)
    Los Angeles Lakers (1) Win: 4 – 3
    Denver Nuggets (3)

    Denver Nuggets (3) Win: 4 – 3
    Oklahoma City Thunder (6)
    Denver Nuggets (3) Win: 4 – 0
    Houston Rockets (5)
    Phoenix Suns (4)
    Houston Rockets (5) Win: 4 – 3

    2011 NBA Finals:

    Miami Heat (1) Versus Los Angeles Lakers (2)

    Miami Heat Win: 4 – 1

    MVP Award: Lebron James – Number 6

    • jayrbe says:

      LAKERS WILL WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP OVER miami heat

      • PS says:

        What makes you think the Lakers can beat the Heat? They have two of the best 3 players in the league and Bosh. So Kobe and Wade match up, Bosh and Pau match up and Artest can try and guard Lebron but he isn’t that good. Big Z and Bynum will be matching up and the Heat actually have depth at the 4/5 position. Fisher will probably be matching up with Chalmers or Arroyo and Fisher isn’t quick enough to guard most pg’s in the league which is why he has to reach in and foul constantly. The Heat will also use a lineup with Wade at PG and Miller on the wing. Who will Fisher guard then? Heat will also have Haslem coming off the bench who can guard Odom. Heat will beat the Lakers 4-2 in the Finals.

  98. BigDog256 says:

    Seriously Mr Smith, how do you even have a job at NBA.com???? Phoenix 3rd, seriously?? you think Phoenix is actually going to get better without Amare!!! Who replaces his scoring at the 4/5 Hakim Warrick? Channing Frye? Hedo?? Get off the gear mate, they won’t even make the playoffs!!!
    The list is closer to:
    1) LA Lakers
    2) Dallas
    3) OKC (could flip with Dallas)
    4) Spurs
    5) Portland
    6) Denver
    7) Jazz
    8) Houston

    It is going to be extremely close once again out West, who are still the stronger conference from top to bottom, we will once again see a feirce race to the playoffs, with seedings changing daily in the final weeks.

  99. blahblah says:

    i’m a suns fan but 3rd seems too high for the suns. i bet they’ll make the playoffs but won’t get past the 2nd round.

  100. JCOMBZ says:

    You’ve got Denver WAY too low. I agree the Thunder are ready to make a huge jump, but there’s no way San Antonio and Utah are above Denver. The same can be said for Phoenix. They’ve picked up Hedo Turkoglu, Hakim Warrick and Josh Childress and lost Amare Stoudemire and possibly Louis Amundson and Jarrod Collins, so they’re about even there, and their run to the WCF last season wouldn’t have happened if not for Denver’s unfortunate karma. To have Utah there is insane. They’ve lost Wesley Matthews and Carlos Boozer and replaced them with an over-the-hill Raja Bell and a walking injury in Al Jefferson, so they’ve lost ground in my eyes.

    I could go on, but anyone with half a brain can see you’ve got Denver ranked far too low. San Antonio above them is just deplorable.

  101. Lakertime says:

    1.LA Lakers
    2.OKC Thunder
    3.Denver Nuggets
    4. Portland Blazers
    5.Utah Jazz
    6. San Antonio Spurs
    7. Dallas Maveriks
    8. Houston Rockets

    Just my prediction dont hate -.-

    • Lakertime says:

      Playoff predictions:
      First Round:
      LAL over HOU in 6
      OKC over DAL in 7
      SAN over DEN in 7
      POR over UTA in 6

      Second Round:
      LAL over SAN in 6
      OKC over POR in 7

      Conference Finals:
      LAL over OKC in 6

      The west is gonna be crazy………

      • Hustla801 says:

        Portland over Utah in 6?? hahaha… good one! I bet you think Matthews will be the x factor in those playoffs too?? Utah would EASILY outsmart Portland with two starters injured just like we did to Denver last year….be careful what you wish for. And dont think we forget about this Summer or last Summer. Portland is enemy 1B in Utah so prepared to be swept once again in the reg.

  102. ldhl89 says:

    The west still the best conference and its a difficult decision
    9-11 teams are projected to 50 victories

    In the east just: Boston, Orlando, Heat, Atlanta, Chicago and maybe Bucks and Bobcats

  103. sydale says:

    1. Lakers
    2. Mavericks
    3. Thunder
    4. Nuggets
    5. Spurs
    6. Blazers
    7. Jazz
    8. Suns/ Rockets (Rockets get in if Yao is 100% again)

  104. Ram says:

    I see alot Faker Fans not giving houston playoff hopes. Theyre probably worried that this time they will bounce the fakers out of the playoffs. The Lakers always have a hard time with teams that push the ball, specially if they have a good bench. Houston, unlike the rest have a half court game with Yao, running game with Brooks, Martin, Scola, Ariza, Budinger, and the Best bench in the NBA.

    • wertyqqq says:

      dude your wrong. not all are laker fans here. most of them are but not all, they are just putting LA on the top spot because that’s the right choice. the LOGICAL choice. so you and the 2 other guys who posted LA hating and irrelevant comments here should try to quit drinking alchohol and stop taking drugs. lol. i pitty you.

    • PS says:

      What makes you think Houston has the best bench? I’m pretty sure the Suns proved last year that they have the best bench throughout the regular season and especially in the second round agains the Spurs. Everyone who keeps saying they will miss the playoffs completely, must be forgetting that their bench competes with other teams starters. They easily have the deepest bench in the league. I think the 3 seed is a long-shot and they will probably finish around 6 or 7.

  105. Josh says:

    You’re giving Phoenix waaaay too much credit. We know first hand how bad Turkoglu is without the ball in his hands, and with Nash on the floor that’s going to go tenfold. He’s toxic – that team isn’t going to make the playoffs next year.

    The Clippers and the Warriors have a shot. The Lee-Curry-Ellis is a three all star triad that can knock any other trio in the league besides the Heat. And the Clippers have the foundation to be a perennial contender.

    Everything else is fine. Just the Suns being in the playoffs at all is a stretch, and third place is unbelievable. Remember Phoenix the during the 08/09 season?

  106. gabe says:

    After much consideration, I’ve come up with this:
    1. Lakers
    2. Mavs
    3. Nuggets
    4. Thunder
    5. Spurs
    6. Trailblazers
    7. Suns
    8. Jazz
    If Portland remain healthy throughout the season, then sure, they could be 2-4, but the thing is they probably won’t, as they have been plagued with injuries for quite some time. My list takes that into account. The Suns might have lost Amar’e, but they have cushioned the blow in adding Turkoglu and Childress, and their bench is excellent, so I doubt they’ll miss the playoffs. The Thunder can only get better with more experience, and I have the Jazz making it because of their addition of Al Jefferson and Raja Bell, and, to a certain extent, Jerry Sloan and his ability to make sure his players play hard. He is an excellent coach. It will be interesting to see who gets the second seed between the Mavs and Nuggets as they are both great teams on paper. I have the Mavs because they seem to be a little bit deeper. I dont really know what to say about the Spurs, but if their injuries are equal to Portland’s I rate the Spurs higher because I believe they have a better roster, and a superb coach in Gregg Popovich. I don’t really need to explain the Lakers, as they have been well documented. My list for the rest of the conference goes as follows:
    9. Rockets
    10.Clippers
    11. Grizzlies
    12. Warriors
    13. Hornets
    14. Kings
    15. Timberwolves
    I believe this ranking has a little bit more you can critique, but let’s face it, does it really matter?
    And we all know the Timberwolves are going to suck, I’m talking 16 wins, 20 at the max haha.

  107. mr. coach says:

    this is how i think the rankings playout for the upcoming season..

    1. lakers (defending champs behind a good coach, strong roster still)
    2. mavs (be better and hungry because the spurs made them look silly, added chandler)
    3. thunder (great roster, role players and only are getting better around their all-star)
    4. nuggets (great scoring cast, hopefully the defense will improve, karl coaching)
    5. spurs (still have their all-stars, are better during the playoffs)
    6. jazz (lost boozer, but added another good forward, great point guard running the offense)
    7. rockets (with a healthy yao ming, they are still good around role players)
    8. fight for 8th spot….between blazers (stay healthy), suns (have a great bench and added players with nash), don’t count out the maybe the other LA team (clipz)…

    possible surprises……..golden state, cllippers

  108. Sam says:

    All of these people predicting the Jazz to not make the playoffs must not watch the NBA. The Jazz are in the playoffs every year. Their system is built around having a fantastic point guard and a fantastic big man. Guess what? They have both of those once again. you’ll see Utah playing games in May just like every year.

  109. Sunsman says:

    The West will definitely be wild this year. Probably only 8 games between 1-12 over the whole 82. In my opinion all it will take is again significant injury time for a key player for a team to miss out. Even the champs may not make the playoffs if they lose Gasol for a month it is that tight. (let alone if they lose Kobe).

    For those who are disbelieving in the Suns. You got to remember, the pick and roll of Nash/Lopez was starting to get going well at the end of last season. And Lopez has started to get a (granted awkward looking) back to the basket low post game going, something the Suns have missed from a big since Barkley – and he has been in the USA team training camp which seems to leap a players abilities/confidence in recent years. Then follow up with a pick and pop with Hedo or Frye, opening up for Hill/Richardson drives. All good on offence. D…. well they can play a zone right???

    Expect Phx to be in the playoffs and then they have a shooters chance of either sweeping (Spurs) or losing in 7 (Lakers).
    PS: the loss of Barbosa is negligible, He never met his potential on D and his shot was not there last year with his wrist injury. Losing STAT hurts, from a highlight point of view, but Suns may be even more balanced on offence now, and the guy had the ability but never the heart to be committed every time on the defensive end.

  110. GD says:

    This Is Too Hard to Freakin Choose:
    1. Lakers
    2. Mavs
    3. OKC
    4. Blazers
    5. Houston
    6. Spurs
    7. Utah
    8. Clippers

    9. Suns W/ Turkoglu Richardson Nash and and Lopez
    10. Memphis Who Got Mayo Gay and Randolph Plus Gasol Deserve to be in the Playoffs
    11. Kings Have a Bright Future Ahead of Them DMC and Tyreke
    12. Hornets, Paul+ No Supporting Cast=Nothing, Paul to NYK for Felton Chandler and Someone Else, Does it matter you guys got Darren Collison,
    13. Warriors, Nice Offensive Weapons, Horrible Def. Lee Curry Monta Wright
    14. T-Wolves Just Plain Suck, No Jefferson, Hahaha Flynn and Johnson cant do everything

  111. ldhl89 says:

    1._Lakers (Champs)
    2._Spurs. They beat the mavs last season
    3._Mavs. They still have a great team
    4._Thunder. This team only can get higher
    5._Houston. Yao Ming, but i dont like Kevin Martin
    6._Denver/Portlant. Denver with george karl (Y)
    7._Denver/Portland Porltand live with injuries
    8._Utah Jazz. They have a good team

    All of them 50 wins

  112. [...] The Lake Show Rolls On Out West [nba-video vid=/channels/playoffs/2010/06/18/20100617_lakers_floor_celebration.nba] *** Posted by Sekou Smith HANG TIME [...] [...]

  113. jacob murray says:

    this is so dumb, denver is going down phx is going down utah is going down, portland is going up, this is stupid, utah wont make the palyoffs denver is 8th rank portland is at least 5th this is just wrong

  114. JAZZone says:

    I think you have underestimated the Jazz system …specifically the difference between Jefferson and Boozer. Big Al will wind up as a first team all NBA PF or C, maybe even this year. Jerry Sloan wants to feed the ball into the deep post almost all the time ideally, and his teams do it more efficiently than all the rest. Jefferson unlike Boozer seeks physical play in the paint and finishes strong around the rim, he will flourish in Utah. The Jazz will be a much better rebounding team too, Millsap/Jefferson will out-rebound Boozer/Okur. The Jazz were a couple April games away from locking up the 2 seed last season, this year we want the 1 seed.

  115. billy says:

    for the people who say the suns are gonna be good, really come on? the guy who said they are gonna be a 3 point team is right they will be a hope we are on fire tonight team. no inside game in the NBA is a must to get some where as much as i love old Nash he needs a inside player with him.

    Spurs are ageing everybody can agree with that. love T.D. but need some young blood.

    rockets are good but they are a maybe team. i can’t seem them playing in the playoffs this season i reckon they should of kept T-Mac even thou he is aging but still good to have a wing player like him makes yoa and trevor job easy.

    OKC yup young got the young boys if there inside game picks up can see them up there forsure but they will be in top 4 atleast. K.D. westbrooke man those boys got game wait till they get a inside game they could be the next Lakers of the west in few seasons. if that cole bloke plays well i see second in the west

    Clippers are good but team needs to learn to play together they could be a upset team if they learn how to play team BBall they become a rockets a maybe team. blake might not be the star of the team considering all the players around him, you never know they could come out of no where.

    denver need to stay healthy if they do they will be good considering the lost to the jazz last season they were healthy but no coach can see the lack of leadership in the team. love watching Melo play ball this team really needs to stay healthy.

    Dallas will be good but playoff time they will choke like always, plus they are aging aswell they only got 1 or 2 season left they have to start playing or dirk next stop is miami.

    Portland same as Denver need to stay healthy got the talent and all they could be up there. old ROy needs to learn to play like kobe more if he wants to win he great give him few more seasons then he might be the next T-mac of the NBA great player just can’t win anythings.

    Jazz well lost Boozer, Kyle and mathews, gain jefferson which is a upgrade by far boozer was mad but watching jefferson play for the t-wolves being the go to guy being triple team all the time think he will be a mad upgrade and getting the aging Bell is good he can play D, shot 3s its klye and mathews in1, with D-will runing the show they will be a good team to watch.

    and the Lakers yes number one for sure in the west kobe to good, gasol is a ugly guy with a handsome game to watch, fisher a leader for sure he will be the leader on the floor to control the tempo of the team artest man that boy can play D he is really good to watch play D nothing but heart on D for him. Bynum just needs to stay healthy. yes LAkers should be # 1 i could see a # 2 could be possible.

  116. BallerJ says:

    Oh, and for the playoffs

    OKC upsets Dallas
    L.A. beats Denver
    S.A. beats Utah
    Portland beats Phoenix

    2nd Round

    Portland upsets Lakers
    S.A. beats OKC

    WC Finals

    S.A. beats Portland

    Finals

    S.A. beats to Milwaukee 4-2

    • wertyqqq says:

      Spurs and bucks in finlas???? hahahahaha. your so funny. I just don’t know what kobe, nash, dirk and the guys from okc will say about that. better yet, what will lebron and wade say?? you had the funniest post here dude, keep it up!

      • BallerJ says:

        Thankyou, I try. Maybe Milwaukee was going out on a limb a little too far. Spurs got the talent to get there, IMO.

  117. BallerJ says:

    Not sure why everyone has L.A. as a lock for the top seed. They only beat Dallas by two games, Phoenix by three, etc. Add on the fact that they didn’t upgrade their roster much (Other than Blake, who wont be much of a factor) And few injuries during the season, I see L.A. slipping to two or three. My standings:

    1. Dallas (If Tyson Chandler can mesh, they’ll have a solid roster)
    2.Lakers (Kobes still a beast)
    3. San Antonio (Tiago Splitter will strengthen an all star cast)
    4.Portland (If they can stay healthy, they have a strong team)
    5.Phoenix ( Lost STAT, but made some good trades without giving up much)
    6.Utah ( Lost Boozer, Korver and Wes, but Al Jefferson should improve with Jerry Sloan)
    7.Denver (Still got some strong scorers, with melo prob. best SF in the west)
    8. OKC (Young team, but still developing and Durant wont be able to take them farther until he improves)
    9.Houston (Yao being back will make this close, but still don’t see them reaching the playoffs)
    10. Clippers (Blake Griffin wants to prove his worth this year, plus not a bad supporting cast)
    11. Sacramento (Rookie of the year Tyreke, plus another ROTY contender in Cousins, should do alright.)
    12. Memphis ( Still a decent team with Gay, Mayo and Randolph)
    13. New Orleans (Chris Paul has no supporting cast around him, trade probable)
    14. Golden State (Aquired Overrated David Lee, lost improving role players)
    15. Minnesota (Hopin for another high pick in the 2011 draft)

    My opinion, feel free to comment

    • wertyqqq says:

      your first statement. don’t blame it on the guys putting LA on top. try blaming miami for creating an all star team. and the bulls for stealing utah’s roster. the west is still a strong conference but not as strong as they were from previous seasons, that’s why La is still no. 1. understand??

  118. Jen says:

    I always find these lists kind of laughable because you never know what will happen during the course of a NBA season. OKC will not be in the #2 spot at the end of the season. They had NO injuries last year and I doubt that same feat can be accomplished again. I’m not even sure LA will be in the top spot. Last year the Lakers and Spurs regressed a little because of age even though the Lakers were able to get passed an aging but overall more talented Celtics team in the finals. Utah didn’t help themselves much this off season and neither did Phoenix. I could see both those teams taking a step back. Houston didn’t have their best player all year and still manage to be a pretty good team despite missing the playoffs so I would think they would definitely be better. Portland lost 300+ games to injuries, plus had no center for most of the year and were without their best player for 15+ games, they will definitely be better. Mavericks, Nuggets, and Spurs are all catching up with father time.
    In the 1-4 spots will be (in no particular order) Lakers, Blazers, Rockets, Mavericks
    These teams may be somewhere in the 5-8 spots with a few teams just missing the playoffs …. Thunder, Jazz, Nuggets, Spurs, Suns, Hornets, Grizzlies, Clippers.

  119. woodduck14 says:

    I think it’s clear that the biggest flaw on this list is the Blazers fighting for the 8th seed. The majority of peoples lists put them in the 3-6 range.
    Blazers depth chart:
    1. Miller/ Bayless/ Mills,
    2. Roy/ Mathews/ Bayless
    3. Batum/ Mathews/ Babbitt
    4. Aldridge/ Pendergraph/ Cunningham
    5. Oden/ Camby/ Pryzbilla.

    Thats deep man, and not even counting Fernandez who will most likely be traded for another piece to make this team even deeper. The only factors I see hindering this team from getting home court in the first round is health which is arguably a big factor, but if all goes well I’m seeing 55+ wins

  120. Derek says:

    The Suns have a tendency to surprise people, and it’s been happening a lot ever since Nash got here. I say this list is pretty spot-on, although I think the Blazers are an excellent team when healthy and should move up a few notches.

  121. kirkhambiz says:

    All of you guys who think Al jefferson is a down grade from boozer are idiots and don’t know anything about the jazz or there new situation. Al jefferson and booz put up very similar numbers, booz had the edge on O but jefferson actually gets a block or two a game. however al jefferson was on a HORRIBLE team (no offense minn.) his teamates did not set screens for him or anything, simply passed it to him and let him get double and tripled teamed. he has a far better post game than booz when he’s close to the basket and the jazz O will relvovle around him, he will have the best PG in the league to set him up also. Do not be surprised if he scores 25 ppg, he also plays C and PF unlike boozer could. And in pick and rolls he rolls to the basket WAAY more than the stops and pops like booz. and lastly the most important thing is that booz never really cared for utah and propably didn’ want to be here, Jefferson is the exact opposite, he is waay excited to be in utah since he has lost an avg of 55 games a season. He says he will do whatever it takes to win, and won’t sit out on the biggest game of the season with “sore abs” like booz did in the season finale. Also yes the jazz lost korver, which sucks, but replace him with haward, he can be a excellent shooter in the nba, probably not as good as korver, but he is longer, can do alot more on Offense than shoot, plays better D (korver was horrible at D) and lastly the wesly mathews situation, well first off screw portland for making such a stupid offer, i mean 9 million next year, really? thats as much as kevin durant and tyreke evans will make COMBINED next year, and he will be a back up to B roy. wow. anyways when people say brimming with potential, i think thats a bit of an over statement, yes he will get better, but no by much esspecially in the portland system, realize that he played for years in college so alot of the potential has been achieved, so with the loss of wes we got raja bell instead, he is cheaper, an nba first team Defender who is excellent with his D on the permiter, he has a great 3 pt shot @ 41 percent of his career (higher than korver actually) and has one thing the jazz desperatly need. veteran leadership skills. last time the jazz had this, with fisher, they made it to the west conf. finals. he also is a great competitor, passed up deal w/ mia and would be deal with lal because he “doesn’t want to be there just for the ride” and wants “to put as much effort in as everyone else on the team”.

    I’ll tell you guys all one thing. This team is more skilled, better at Offense, and Defense, and is a whole lot TOUGHER than last year and they will seed in the top top three (probably 2nd to lal)h

    add the fact that the jazz will get 7 + footer ante tomic (Eurpeon allstar compared to pau gasol, won league mvp etc) next next season the jazz could have a DANG GOOD front court with Paul Milsap, Al Jefferson, Okur, and Tomic

    so don’t write the jazz off

  122. BigBallz says:

    Mr. Smith,

    This list is disgraceful and stupid. The lakers are the only team you got right. OKC will be better, not number 2. Portland is definitely not an 8th seed. They are a top four team in the west, and will be better than PHX, Utah, SAS and OKC. Utah is probably a 6 or 7, not a 5. At the end of the day I won’t be reading your articles anymore because this list is frankly idiotic.

  123. Bagel says:

    No matter what the rankings are the West is going to be the confrence to watch. I’m almost more interested in who’s going to win this confrence then the NBA. The Miami move has killed most of the competition in the East so once again there will most likely be a huge gap between the top four and the rest. While in the West it’s possible for almost any team to make the top 8. A lot of the teams aka OKC, GSW, Portland are built up of young players, continuly getting better, while out East Chicago is the only strong young team. Hoping that Durant can put OKC into the confrence finals and we have the lakers vs thunder for the west, what this years round one series deserved to be.

  124. Mikel says:

    FAKERS #1??? hahahahahaha! yeah because they’re the defending champs… but take it from me, no more 3peat! because FAKERS are out of luck.. and that makes them champions because of luck!! hahahahahahaha!! KOBE doesn’t even know how crucial game 7 is playing like a dead kid.. I’m not a boston fan, but i’m a LAKER hater… take it from me, no more 3peat….

    • wertyqqq says:

      poor you. nobody’s accusing you of being a boston fan anyway. thats just life dude, barack’s president, economy is down, china geting bigger, lakers still champs….and so on.. cute comment though.

  125. social_justice says:

    This is very unfortunate, the clippers, they have a ton of talent on that team but can’t translate it into wins. If only B.Diddy would play to the best of his abilities then this team is dangerous or maybe they’re just cursed.

  126. Nikki says:

    1. Lakers.
    2. Utah
    3. OKC
    4. Dallas
    5. Phoneix
    6. Denver
    7. Portland
    8. Spurs

    I personally think that the Jazz will be suprising this year. Even though they lost Booz, Wesley, and Korver they have found some really good if not better replacments. I think Al Jefferson will be a beast for this team. Raja Bell will be outstanding he already knows there system. Jazz number 2!

  127. Michael says:

    I’m a Spurs fan and i think they will be a low seeded playoff team if they lose RJ but if they keep him and if fit they will probably be 2/3/4. I would agree with most of you guys but some who say the Spurs won’t make the playoffs are kidding, right??? How could a roster of: Parker,Hill, Ginobili, RJ, Duncan. Splitter, Blair, Anderson etc not make the playoffs.
    Lakers will probably finish top seed barring injuries but after them it is really a dog fight for the remaining 7 spots. Honestly anyone of out of this group could make the playoffs: SAS, POR, HOU, OKC,PHX, DEN, DAL, UTA, NO, MEM, LAC (Highly doubt it but could happen). I think the season will be awesome and appreciate it dudes in case theres a lock out in 2012

  128. Filip says:

    How can you even think the Suns won’t make the playoffs…
    Almost every team with Steve Nash on board would make the playoffs…
    Just add Turkoglu and Warrick there, there you go…

  129. Grant says:

    juju: never try to say micheal jordan was better than magic johnson. he has the nickname magic for a reason. unlike jordan, he made everyone on his team a better player, and played with a vision no one could touch, although stockton was close. anyone who can give kurt rambis the opportunity to score 40 plus in a game is a mastermind. jordan may be the best 1 vs 1 player, but has no chance in hell at being the best team player. he had no real competition in his hay day. the league is a lot closer now than it was back then.

  130. malki64 says:

    lakers are not going to be number one seed again i hope their not im tried of them being number one in the west and they will lose next season so it doesnt matter

    • wertyqqq says:

      im an avid laker fan and i’m here to tell you that its not you fault. kobe has a pretty solid crew around him. as long as you don’t plan in shooting down their plane while their on the road, you’ll be seeing a couple more rings around kobe’s finger. sorry man.

  131. PHXISAAC says:

    I think PHX is going to surprise everybody. And OKC will definitely be a top contender this year.
    I think it should look like this:
    1 LA Lakers
    2 OKC Thunder
    3 Dallas Mavericks
    4 Utah Jazz
    5 Phoenix Suns
    6 Denver Nuggets
    7 Portland Trailblazers
    8 LA Clippers

    The only reason I think The Suns will surprise everyone is because Amare couldn’t rebound or play defense anyways. And I saw a game where Hedo picked up 17 boards. Of course that isn’t every night, but Hedo can easily fill the scoring gap now that we lost Amare. And we also have the best bench in the NBA, where we are adding Josh Childress and Hakim Warrck.

  132. KCA says:

    I dont know why people keep having denver and portland in the top four. and for the people who think jazz are going to slide this year because the lost boozer mathews and korver, they must have lost connections to the outside world because they gained al jefferson who is better defensively then boozer and is on his way to becoming close to the offensive player boozer is. they also picked up raja bell who is a better defensive player then mathews and also can hit the 3. OKC is gonna suprise people alot but not all the way up to number two in the regular season, however i think they will be a better post season team then regular season. Im a big melo fan but unless they can get healthy players and coaches alike (get well coach Karl) Denver is not going to be the same team allowing other teams to push up in the standings but not the Phoenix suns.

    1. LA Lakers
    2. Dallas Mavs
    3. OKC/Utah
    4. OKC/Utah
    5. Denver/Portland (if all healthy)
    6. Denver/Portland
    7. Houstan Rockets (with Yao)
    8. Clippers, Suns, or Spurs

  133. ruben2332 says:

    you guys are all wrong the suns are easily the best team in the nba hands down! nobody is even in the same conversation

    • Alex says:

      what are you smoking?

      • ruben2332 says:

        i will say it again! SUNS ARE EASILY THE BEST TEAM IN NBA!!!!!!!! BEST BENCH IN THE LEAGUE BEST PG IN HISTORY NOW THEY ADD MORE DEPTH AND LENGTH THERE JUST ISNT A DOWN SIDE. FORGET ABOUT AMARE WHEN THE SUNS NEEDED HIM MOST HE WAS MIA.

  134. johnny says:

    out of all the comments i saw only one had it right.

    !,Lakers
    2,3 and 4 well be between the Jazz, Thunder, and Dallas. a
    5,6, and 7. Blazers, Denver and spurs
    8th who cares they play LA gone in four games 5 if they lucky.

  135. LM1221 says:

    1. Lakers
    2. Denver
    3. Portland
    4. Houston
    5. OKC
    6. Dallas
    7. Spurs
    8. Phoenix

    Denver lost nobody. Gained Harrington, plus they have a full season to recover from injuries! Portland lost J. Howard and Webster, but replaced them with Matthews and Oden/Pryzbilla will not be injured and once again have a full season to recover (minus the fact Roy was injured part of the season.) Houston didn’t lose anyone and Yao was injured ALL season. Rounding-up of course. Plus the development of Aaron Brooks and Ariza can only get better. OKC is destined to be great but you can’t say Durant/Westbrook can take on the whole squad of the teams above. Dallas is getting old, but if Chandler can play well with Kidd (who was at his best with CP3) I see them maybe higher. Spurs will have their hands full, but no doubt they can play! They took out Dallas last season in the 1st round! Potential All-Star in their new rookie. Stay healthy this season and they will contend with ease. Now for the heart-breaker. Phoenix lost STOUDAMIRE. Not David Lee, or Zach Randolph, or any of these overrated PFs. Nash will play excellent again, but lets not put the season in Turkoglu’s hands. Reply if you agree or disagree please!

  136. asdf says:

    what happened to the east ? all the major changes were in the east !

  137. Mike says:

    suns to high? ya right they are going to be a force for sure. Amare may be gone but did he rebound? . . . . no, did he play defense? . . . . . no. loosing him is not a big deal. josh childress is going to join the best bench in the league and make it even better. Hedo in this type of system will perform much better than he did in toronto. Watch out for the suns next season. this list is perfect

  138. KDurant35 says:

    I agree thunder number two no one can stop a young energetic talented team like them!!!!!!!!!!!!

    L.A
    OKC
    UTAH
    MAVS
    SPURS
    PORTLAND
    ROCKETS
    SUNS

    L.A beats suns okc beats rockets utah beats portland mavs beat spurs
    LA betas mavs okc beats utah
    LA wins 4-3

  139. chris says:

    i enjoyed this article but there are some questions i have. first off suns at 3rd? after losing there best player (yes amare can now be considered better then nash) they should be a lower seed if that. also as good as all these talents are u have to throw memphis and new orleans into the playoff mix. Memphis has a young team with lots of talent and youth with scorers like gay randolph and mayo how can u not consider them up there plus randolph and marc gasol are both talented rebounders. and new orleans u have to give props 2. they have chris paul back and 2 of the top 5 rookies last year with thorton and d.c. plus david west and emeka are both talented big men. i respect ur choices but in my opionion it goes 1. lakers 2. thunder 3. spurs 4. hornets 5. mavericks .6. jazz 7. nuggets 8. grizlies 9. rockets 10. trail blazers 11. suns 12 kings 13. warriors 14. clippers 15. timberwolves

    • roy7roy says:

      How dumb are you? this is the worst prediction i have seen yet, not only are the blazers better than 10 but they are top 4 considering they have their 2 most skilled players are 25 and still 3-5 years from their prime and also oden showed this year he can be a beast when not injuried and when he is we still have camby who was top 5 in rebounding and top 10 in blocks, but then ur even worse for thinking the griz would make the playoffs or think hornets would be higher than 7

  140. Jennifer says:

    You’re insane if you think Phoenix, San Antonio, and even the Thunder will have a better record at the end of the season than the Portland Trail Blazers. Please pull your predictions up at the end of the year, because I’d bet that Phoenix and San Antonio will be fighting for a spot in the Playoffs and the Blazers will pull of a 53+ win season.

  141. horbath675 says:

    not to stir the pot but I think jefferson will be a great fit in utah and hayward will give them another playmaker. I am also raving about the nuggets aquisition of harrington. I think they could be primed for a big jump. A lot of young players like afflalo and Lawson are a year older and wiser. I do approve of the high esteem of the thunder. Ibaka and Aldrich’s development will be key as they need a presence down low. Lakers are still the team to beat. farmar was a big reason for their recent success, but blake is a very good player whose shooting is valuable.

  142. DLI23 says:

    the suns are teh best they lost stoudemire bu tgot turkoglu, hakim warrick , and Gani Lawal (who proved in the summer league that he was one of the most dominant rookie power forwards.

  143. Brian says:

    Lakers
    Rockets
    Mavs
    Nuggets
    Blazers
    Thunder
    Jazz
    Spurs

  144. Josh says:

    The Nuggets prove every year they are a team of individuals…..We call them the “Thuggets” Denver is going nowhere. The Jazz will be every bit as good as they were last year. Someone said they didn’t think the Mavs were going to go as far as they did last year? They lost in the first round!! Are you saying they aren’t going to make the playoffs at all? The west will be the same as last year….There will be a 2 or 3 game difference between the 8th spot and the 2nd spot.

  145. D-WILL FAN says:

    I think Utah should be higher, Jefferson is better than Boozer, Bell is just as good as Korver, and a better defender than Matthews, Hayward will be good, they still have Deron, Millsap, Kirilenko, and Memo
    every team in the west except the T’wolves and Sacramento I think are possible playoff teams

    • Demo says:

      I agree.. Utah should be higher.. Dwill is amazing, memo is an underrated defender, kirilenko brings so much more to the game than scoring and defence and millsap plays liike he’s 7ft .. I worry about Al Jefferson tho.. DW and Booz had an amazing chemistry… and Boozer has the deep 2 and the fadeaway and is more agile.. I would love to see Utah go insane this season but Jefferson has always proven to be a OK big man shining on a bad team rather than a legitamate pf..

  146. Jake says:

    You’re on drugs if you think Portland with a FULLY healthy roster will be 8th in the west again while Utah who lost Boozer, Korver and Wesley Matthews will be better? This whole article is a joke. Come on, OKC at #2? ..hahahahaha

  147. BLAZERMANIAC says:

    the blazers should not be mentioned for competing with the 8th seed they should be in the 5-2 spot they went 50-32 with an injured plague team and a couple months without a true bigman before canmby came. they wil be well ready to compete if they stay healthy, they have (canmby,oden,and pryzbilla) all of them defend the rim well and good at grabbing boards. then u have aldrige who is one of the best big men at running the floor and who is still improving i say all-star this or the next year. then u have batum and mattwes for defence. then comes B-Roy who is an all-star and an all around player. then bayless who is coming along and has proven that he can score. then andre miller.

    1.Lakers
    2.Dallas
    3.Portland
    4.denver
    5.okc
    6.Utah
    7.Suns
    8.Spurs

  148. The Guy says:

    Really? Portland tied at 8? OKC may be good but they do not have enough experience to surpass Portland. The Blazers have one of the deepest most talented rosters in the NBA not to mention one of the premier starting 5′s. (Andre Miller, Brandon Roy, Nicholas Batum, Lamarcus ALdridge, and Greg Oden/Marcus Camby). The BLazers will have a complete roster next year when Oden and Pryzbilla come back. ANd Wesley Mathews is a big step up from Martell Webster. Mathews is a shooter and a lock down defender. Portland will be a top 4 team next year.

  149. Nuggets says:

    Nuggets to 7th? Are you serious, once they’re all healthy, especially George Karl, they will still be an elite team.
    1. LA
    2. DEN
    3. POR
    4. OKC
    5. UTA
    6. PHO
    7. SA
    8. DAL
    Thats a bit more realistic, I don’t see dallas going as far as they did last year and I see portland improving, and phoenix dropping.

  150. james says:

    hahaha the chicago jazz

  151. Brainstormer says:

    You all don’t have a clue. It will look like this (the records will be VERY close though):
    1. LA
    2. Blazers
    3. Rockets
    4. Oklahoma
    5. Nuggets
    6. Utah
    7. Dallas
    8. Clippers

    • Micah says:

      So your saying 3 time finals MVP Tim Duncan ain’t goin to the playoffs for the first time in his career? And 2007 finals MVP Tony Parker… And Olympic Champ Manu Ginobli… Oh and the ACB MVP Tiago Splitter
      The Spurs will be semi finalists beaten by LA

      1) LA
      2) Dallas
      3) Utah
      4) OKC
      5) SAS
      6) Denver
      7) Portland
      8) Clippers/Houston

  152. Justin says:

    Okay Sekou,

    You are one of the best sportswriters on the site, but I think this one is a little bit off. There is no way you can rate the Denver Nuggets at seven! There are a few things that I agree with you on. Yeah, Denver has injuries, and Carl has cancer. But let’s still look at what’s going to play out here….Karl is healthy now, so look for good leadership from the sidelines. Both Chauncey and Carmelo had near peak seasons last year (even though they lost in the first round under an improper leadership).And it may be a while before before we see Kenyon, but Bird Man only has a broken finger (which he’s pretty tough, and as I recall another tough player, Kobe played pretty well with a bad finger).

    So let’s take a look at our starting lineup this year with the injuries. Chauncey Billups, Aaron Afflalo, Carmelo Anthony, Al Harrington, an Nene Hilario with Ty Lawson and JR coming off the bench with super energy. Not too bad right? They will play at the very least above .500 ball with that lineup. So Kenyon will have a some relieve pressure in time to heal to full potential for the playoffs. Then look at Denver when they’re healthy. Can you say “team with most depth in the league!” Imagine if you’re the bench of some team and you get to face off against Ty Lawson JR Smith Al Harrington and Chris Anderson, all potential sixth-men in their own right. You’d be pretty worn out wouldn’t you? They may have a defensive problem until Kenyon comes back, and probably even afterwards, but they can put up some points if I recall.

    And let’s not look past leadership in either. He may not be an elite point guard, but Chauncey Billups knows had to get it done, and Carmelo is becoming more and more of a man and leader of his team. Towards the end of the season and the playoffs, look out for the Nuggets!

    Some other things I don’t agree on is rating Dallas so high when they’re an aging carcass. Now I know that we all saw the old-timers in green make it to the finals this year, but let’s not pretend anybody predicted that one. They tried hard, but there’s no way they could have won the title. They do have a couple of good young point guards going for them, but they have a lot of developing to do.

    And Phoenix is no number three either. I would even write Dallas in front of them. Sure you acquired more depth when he lost Amari, but you need all-stars to win this game, and they have none with the exception of Nash, if he’s lucky enough not to keel over from a heart attack. But he probably won’t be an All-Star this year either. He and Jason Kidd are starting to look less like elite point guards and more like Gollum from the Lord of the rings. Hedu and Josh Childress are also risky players to depend on for a season since Josh has been playing overseas, and Hedu decides whether he wants to play or not. And no one’s even mention that they lost Barbosa. I look for Phoenix to be more new 6, 7, 8 range, and at 5 if Nash remains Golden like he has.

    • Demo says:

      I agree on the Dallas comment… People just have to understand that the recruitment team in dallas obviously has no idea about what they’re doing. Dallas are never going to contend until they find a legitamet big man to play with dirk who actually is man enough to play physical basketball. J Kidd is amazing but being wasted on a team of undersized and 1 oversized shooters when kid flourishes in dishing to players on the break and those who runto the basket…And yes shaun marion is too old to do that still.. Caron butler basically has no way to fit in wiht a bunch of small shooters and will be a richard jefferson in san antonio.. The only thing i can actually congratulate them on is getting Tyson Chandler.. Let us not forget that dallas have never once lived up to expectations… the only time they did well was when we expected them to fail… Sure dallas might make the playoffs but you can say goodbye to them first round..

      Stop all you stubborn haters denying the rockets, jazz, and clippers.. the rockets have the most amazing core team everr and basketball is a team sport.. if not now then later they will start to dominate.. no one can deny deron williams is the most amazing point guard in the game.. screw rondo DW is complete with possibly the best handles in the NBA… as for the clips.. Blake Griffin will dominate,, all you doubters are stupid to deny him and their supporting cast is a whole lot more effective than anyone is giving htem credit for.. Standings Go like this

      1. Lakers
      2. Oklahoma
      3. Denver
      4. Portland
      5. Utah
      6. Houston
      7. Dallas
      8. Clippers

      Phoenix are NOT making the playoffs and neither are New Orleans.. CP3 is amazing but but he needs a completely revamped roster to get them going again

    • dave says:

      your probably right about the suns except id like to think they can by 6, 5, and MAYBE 4 instead of 8, 7, 6, and maybe 5…..nash is the best pg in the nba…his assists will b league leading as always and with amar’e gone nash will put up 18-20ppg jrich is good for 21ppg hill 16ppg lopez 16 ppg and i think chaning at pf could get 18ppg and hedo will only b good for 13ppg, also the bench duds and dragic are just gonna get better, and if nash retires after this season i think dragic COULD become an allstar… when goran gets the starting job i think hes good for 24ppg and 8apg

  153. mclaker28 says:

    ok wow i see a couple of angry clip fans in here at best the clips will finish 9th or 10th and the list should be like this

    1 LAKERS CHAMPS AGAIN 2010-2011 over miami
    2 Dallas
    3 Utah
    4 Denver
    5 Oklahoma
    6 Portland
    7 San Antonio
    8 New orleans
    9 Houston
    10 Phoenix
    11 Clippers
    12 Sacramento
    13 Golden State
    14 Memphis
    15 Minnesota

  154. Romney says:

    Honestly I think everyone is underestimating the warriors and clippers i mean if blake griffin is healthy than the clippers are going to be a team to beat, and with the addition of David Lee to their young backcourt they are going to have a grreat season

  155. detrick says:

    BRANDON ROY, are you crazy man. Potland will take the west by storm. I totally agree with the Lakers and Thunders position but not utah or the suns, coach sloan even said that the team will not be the same without boozer. I got lots of respect for you man but thatsounded like something sir. charles would say.

  156. Rocket Fan says:

    Look, I’m not sure where people are getting the idea Phoenix will be making the playoffs. They just lost their best player in Stoudemire, and now have no dominating presence inside the paint. I like Nash, and he truly is an amazing player, but I just can’t him bringing them into making the playoffs. I don’t think bringing in Turkoglu and Childress will make a big enough difference, and Warrick is certainly no Amare.

    IMO, you have the Jazz far too high. They just lost one of the best PFs in the game (Don’t like it, but its true) in Boozer, a great 3-pt shooter in Korver, and a player brimming with potential in Wesley Matthews. Al Jefferson is no Boozer, and I don’t think he will be as effective.

    Denver, Houston, and Portland are very underrated it seems. I think they will be 4, 5, and 6 respectively and will be very good. Denver will be getting George Karl back, and hopefully the injury bug will go away. Houston went 42-40 last season with no all-star. With the return of Yao, Brooks, Martin, and Ariza improving, and the young talent with a year under their belt, I expect them to make plenty of noise. Portland had 50+ wins last season, without the talents of Oden and Pryzbilla, not to mention Roy was injured for several games. I can’t believe anyone would put them at the bottom of the ladder.

    My Rankings:
    1. Los Angeles Lakers
    2. Dallas Mavpricks
    3. Oklahoma City Thunder
    4. Denver Nuggets
    5. Houston Rockets
    6. Portland Trail Blazers
    7. San Antonio Spurs
    8. Utah Jazz
    ——————–
    9. New Orleans Hornets

    • L.Ckz says:

      Excellent! Little flaws but you’ve definitely convinced me. Great top 8. Remember, Denver hasn’t lost anyone but gained Al Harrington. If the Jazz can use Deron Williams with Al Jefferson then they are 8th seed. If not the Suns are right there. I don’t see the Clippers this year either but I give them 2-3 years to be in the mix. Agree?

    • dwilljazz says:

      ok rockets fan your just so high on boozer because how he treated your team for three years… but we all say him disappear versus the lakers at least jefferson can block a shot i would say he is a better defender then booz but hasn’t used it from being on crappy teams. i think they go
      1lakers(even though i hate them give them there dues)
      2 Dallas
      3 okc
      4 utah
      5 denver
      6 portland
      7 san
      8 phx
      clippers dont have the front court davis is too old

      • candyman85 says:

        I love it when Jazz fans come on here, crying about how good their team is. As far as I see it Jazz has never won anything 0 = Championships. ;)

    • HOMOPHOBES says:

      Your right als better then boozer. dont sleep on sac or memphis.

    • forreal says:

      good list, and dallas mav’pricks’? lol

    • qwerty says:

      How can Jazz be 8th when they arguably have the best point in the league and only improved their roster since last year..?..?..

  157. Bobby3 says:

    1. Lakers
    2. Thunder
    3. Jazz
    4. Mavs
    5. Blazers
    6. Nuggets
    7-8
    Suns, Clippers, Warriors, Grizzlies, or Rockets

  158. Seto says:

    1. T-Wolves
    2. Whoever
    .
    .
    .

    I am a fan, not an analyst. I have to believe !!!

  159. think says:

    My West order:

    1. LA – As long as their core (Kobe, Pau, Fish and Phil) are intact, they wont be going out the top 3
    2. Utah – Bottom line here is that they have Jerry Sloan. He can make sure Al Jeff and Bell would fit seamlessly to the team’s system. If Andrei and Memo stayed healthy and competitive, theyd be better this year and might surprise a lot as they climb up the standings
    3. Dallas – Theyre always good at during the season, it is during the playoffs they usually flame out
    4. Portland – My fave team… and I’m still wondering to how high this team can go given a healthy season (which they never had since brandon roy came)
    5. OKC – Durant’s and Westbrook’s breakout wasnt a surprise to anyone, they’re expected to be good… this year it is their teammates’ time to be better contributors for this team to succeed
    6. SA – I rank them this low since its about the top 8 of the season… but teams will still be praying to avoid a 1st to 2nd round match-up with them
    7. Denver – If things go their way (healthy big men and Karl leading them) they could go up as high as fighting LA for the crown… but if not, they’re in danger of even making it to the playoffs
    8. Clippers – hopefully the new coach could remove the handcuffs from baron davis so he can play his game… having great teamates (at least on paper), this team can beat anyone… chemistry issues and uninspired plays set aside of course

    PHX – its still tough losing Amare for he is their offensive force inside… this year would all be about shooting the lights out… will do them good if theyre hitting them, but will kill them if they do not

    HOU – Yao has been gone for so long that they’ll have this year finding their identity again with him… and then Yao will not finish the season again…

    NOH – Chris Paul will leave hahaha…

  160. sparks89 says:

    Senor Sekou,
    I enjoy your blog, and I agree with some of my counterparts-you are one of the better writers for the sport today. But I have one glaring problem with your pre-breakdown of the West for the coming season: there is absolutely NO WAY that the Trail Blazers will be fighting for the 8th playoff spot. Anything less than home court advantage would be disappointing. I’m sorry, but putting San Antonio, Utah, Phoenix or OKC ahead of Portland is downright overlooking the fact that they are THE BEST TEAM to challenge the L*kers next season. The combination of bulk and defense in the post (Oden, Pryzbilla, Camby) elite defenders on the wing (Batum, Matthews) scoring (Roy, Aldridge, Miller) is the main reason why the Blazers will be in the WCF next June. And let’s not forget Oden. He was the best player on the Blazers before he got injured, averaging something like 21/12/3 in the 5 games before the freak kneecap-snap. If he can stay healthy, Portland will BULLDOZE the competition, beat out the size-weak teams in their division, gain home court, and set up an epic rematch of a series 11 years old that we Blazers would LOVE another chance at.
    Here’s my West for 2011.
    1: LAL
    2: DAL
    3: POR
    4: OKC
    5: UTA
    6: HOU
    7: DEN
    8: SAS
    Now, some have clamored for LAC, MEM, GSW, NOH to be included, and this is really cute, poignant even. And, given how most of the West has gotten a bit weaker this season, there may not be as much separation between the playoff teams and the lottery teams. But really, there’s a lack of depth on these squads. For every playoff team in the West this year with a solid bench, there will be a lottery bound team that was lacking in either veteran bench players, bench bangers, bench shooting, or solid bench defense. Each of these ‘bubble teams’ is going to get thrashed when their second unit is on the floor. That having been said, there are two teams that will compete, but (I predict) will fall just short of making the playoffs: PHO and MEM. The Suns still have it (as long as Amar’e Stoudemire isn’t “it”) but the man that will cut this team off at the knees will be Hedo(n’t) Turkoglu. Him, and the Suns’ lack of bulk in the post will be enough to bounce them from competition. Now, the Grizzlies won’t make it. But they’ll be close. Signing Rudy Gay to the max has been accepted as a mistake around the league, but he’s a very good player, and if Lionel Hollins can teach enough PG to OJ Mayo, they could be a dangerous offensive team, with very solid scoring in the post. If Zach Randolph can be inspired to play 1/2 the defense that Marc Gasol does, they could be in the mix near the end.
    Well, I’ll be working on a full workup of the West, if you’re interested to hear anymore of my opinion (and I don’t blame you if you decline) then I’d be happy to email it to you.

    • wertyqqq says:

      dude your right. i love portland and LAL in the conf finals. Still going for LA though. sry

    • BLAZERS BELEIVER says:

      hey sparks89.I agree with you 110%!!!!portland could acctualy challenge the lakers in the west to go to the finals.who knows………….maybe pau casol gets injured and misses half the season and portlan stays completly healthy.Then maybe lakers will drop to number 2 or 3.If ur wondering heres my predictions.
      1.lakers
      2.blazers
      3.mavericks
      4.thunder
      5.jazz
      6.grizzlies
      7.spurs
      8.nuggets

      sorry rockets no yao only 24 minutes.

      playoffs:

      1lakers vs nuggets:lakers in 5

      2 blazers vs spurs:blazers in 6

      3 mavricks vs grizzlies:mavericks in 4

      4 thunder vs jazz:thunder in 7

      semifinals:

      1 lakers vs thunder:lakers in 7

      2 blazers vs mavericks:blazers in 6

      confrence finals:

      1lakers vs blazers:blazers in 7

      Sorry for all u laker fans but kobe will start to show some signs of age.

      BLAZERS ALL THE WAY!!!!!!!!!!

  161. DJay says:

    You guys are underestimating Phoenix.. you never kow what could happen. Childress might not be as good as STAT, but it’s not bad enough to drop them off the list.

  162. NBAfans opinion says:

    my list:

    1. Mavericks
    2. La
    3. Spurs
    4. Thunder
    5. Trailblazers
    6. Jazz
    7. Rockets
    8. Suns

    playoffs mavs over suns, la over rockets spurs over jazz thunder over trailblazers
    Thunder over mavs Spurs over Lakers
    Spurs over Thunder
    Spurs over Orlando 2011 Champions

    • ReDKiDBuU says:

      There is no way Mavs will top L.A. in the ranking. Spurs won’t even make it to the Western Conference less to the Championship! OKC is a good contender. But L.A. will take the WEST for sure. They are too good on paper and on the court! History will repeat itself! 3 peat!

    • wertyqqq says:

      omg. spurs finals??? try telling that to kobe, dirk, nash and the youngsterts from okc. your a joke.

    • Rod says:

      Someobdy is definitely a Spurs fan

    • dave says:

      thats funny…if that is the seedings itl go(your 1st round was right) then mavs over thunder lakers over spurs then lakers ve magic or heat(hopefully the magic)

      • spursdrive4five says:

        everybody keep the spurs off ur radars (as usual) but anyways nobe and the fakers aint doing nothing phoenix aint gnna do nothing and mavs are choke artists so here is the right list

        1:mavs but they will choke in the playoffs
        2:lakers but they aint winning the SHIP
        3:okc but still too young
        4:SAS ur 2011 champs write tht down
        5:den melo still needs help
        6:Por still 2 or 3 years from the ring
        7:hou yao has had too many injuries
        8:utah should of kept boozer and korver al jeff is overrated

        and thts the right list

        SAS over Orl in the finals

    • joshua says:

      DALLAS WILL RULE THE WEST CONFERENCE!! THEY GONNA NEED A TOUGH PLAYER.. AND A DEFENSIVE
      ATHLETE!! IMBA!..

    • MDS says:

      Right on. League needs its classiest team to win it all….again

  163. Al says:

    Unbelievable that you have the Spurs so low. It took all season for the Spurs to gel with the new players they had and Parker missing games and now Duncan finally has some help in Splitter. Mark my words….the Spurs will be in the top 4 in the west and will be in the western finals. Don’t be surprised if they go all the way….they have the only experienced players to match the Lakers or anyone else

  164. G's Guy says:

    I think Denver Nuggets should be 2nd seed. Hey,they kept all key players,plus the addition Al Harrington. They have bigs who are injured,coach is in maybe not the best condition,and Melo isn’t going to sign…yet..I am sure he will because Nuggets are his franchise,so he won’t go. My opinion:

    1.LAL
    2.DEN
    3.DAL
    4.PHO
    5.OKC
    6.UTA
    7.HOU
    8.SAS/POR

  165. mazer says:

    New Orleans managed 37 wins that’s 13 less than what was needed to officially make the playoffs with CP3 missing nearly half the season. He’s good for all 13 wins and then some making that team a potentially 50+ win team, their definitely be in there if he’s healthy. Goldenstate won 26 games in the west although their rebounding disparity was possibly the greatest getting outrebounded by ten a game. The Knicks were only outrebounded by 4 but only won 3 more games in the east. People won’t believe in the offense but Nelsons had success before. I don’t care what anyone says I’ve got them down for a suprising push. The Clippers didn’t have enough offense last year, will Blake really give that to them his rookie season, he’s going to at least need to score 20 a game, or is that why they picked up Randy Foye? They’re a big question mark.

  166. Yup says:

    Phoenix has one real big man. Lopez. I think the Clippers might be better than them. San Antonio is getting old, but they are still great. They should be at the bottom because they will be trying to save it for the playoffs though.
    1Lakers
    2Mavericks
    3Blazers
    4Nuggets
    5Thunder
    6Rockets
    7Spurs
    8Suns/Clippers

  167. J says:

    Portland and Houston at the bottom! Dang you know Portland and OKC finished with the same record, with Portland missing 300+ games to injury while OKC missed 2 from kristic. Houston didn’t even have Yao, and they have one of the most complete rosters in the NBA.
    1Lakers

  168. borna says:

    Houstin will be top 3 you guys will see

    and Phx wont even be in the playoffs next yr

    and okc will be the number 2 team!

  169. k says:

    mannn how could they drop the nuggets to 7th thier at least 3rd in the west even 2nd mavs suck utah is gunna suck now the thunder dnt have anything on the nuggets and the suns lost stat soo your dumb watch denver finish in second this year in the west and they will face the lakers at the western confrence finals

  170. Ball says:

    Perkins plays in game 7 were not even talking LA as the team to beat, but they are but the invinciblity sticker on LA will be ripped off this season. That Miami team is real and unless someone gets hurt ala Garnett in 09 (cuz really THATS the reason La ran off 2 in a row) Miami is takin it!

    • Ken Walsh says:

      This years finals wouldn’t have even went 7 games with a healthy Bynum, so quit crying about Perkins you Boston fans. If Lakers are healthy it will be tough for anyone to beat them in a 7 game series.

      • Juice says:

        When has Andrew Bynum EVER been 100% healthy. He’s been limping around on that knee for 3 years now and if Phil doesn’t give him a break, the YOUNG players career is going to be in jeopardy. If Perk didn’t get injured, Boston would DEFINETLY be the champs. Did anyone really expect them to win with Sheed starting? I didnt, but i also didn’t expect that same game (7) to only be won by the Lakeshow by a 5 point margin.

      • LA3peat says:

        JUICE,

        YOU ARE RIGHT IN THE SENSE THAT BYNUM DOES GET HURT ALL THE TIME, BUT THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING HURT LIKE AGAINST THE SUNS AND NOT BEING ABLE TO WALK LIKE FROM GAME 4 AND ON AGAINST THE CELTICS. BYNUM DIDN’T EVEN HAVE TO BE 100% JUST HEALTHY ENOUGH TO WALK FOR THE LAKERS TO HAVE WON THE SERIES SOONER.

        AND EVEN IF WHAT YOU SAY IS TRUE ABOUT GAME 6 IN 2002, IT WOULDN’T HAVE GOTTEN THAT FAR WITH HOW MUCH THE LAKERS GOT SCREWED AT THE END OF GAME 2 AND THE END OF GAME 5. THE KINGS WERE HANDED BOTH OF THOSE GAMES. THERE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN A GAME 6, SO IT EVENED OUT. THIS DOESN’T EVEN MENTION EITHER HOW KOBE WAS POISENED BEFORE GAME 2 EITHER FROM THE HOTEL STAFF OR THE KINGS THEMSELVES.

        THIS IS ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THE BIG ANTI LAKER BIAS. IT’S EASY FOR ALL OF YOU TO SAY THIS TEAM WOULD HAVE WON IF THAT PLAYER WASN’T HURT OR THAT CALL DIDN’T HAPPEN. BUT THEN YOU FORGET ANYTIME THE LAKERS HAD BAD INJURIES OR BAD CALLS.

        THE MEDIA IS VERY ANTI LAKER TOO. HOW CAN THE BEST PLAYER OF HIS GENERATION, KOBE, ONLY HAVE 1 MVP. THAT’S A JOKE. SHAQ AS GREAT AS HE WAS ALSO HAS 1 MVP. AND THEN YOU HAVE ANTI LAKER ANNOUNCERS LIKE MIKE BREEN AND JOHN BARRY (WHO MUST HAVE BEEN CUT BY THE LAKERS) BECAUSE THAT GUY IS SUCH A FOOL AND IS ONE OF THE MOST ANTI LAKER ANNOUNCERS I’VE SEEN SINCE SNAPPER JONES.

        COREY KING, GREAT POINTS ABOUT THE 91 FINALS. AS GREAT AS THEY WERE AND AT THE TIME WE DIDN’T REALIZE THIS BUT THE BULLS ALSO HAD THE BEST COACH OF ALL TIME IN JACKSON GOING AGAINST A DECENT COACH MIKE DUNLEAVY.

        AND COLT: I JUST DON’T GET YOUR ARGUMENT. IF THE CELTICS BENCH IS THAT MUCH BETTER THAN THAT JUST MEANS THE LAKERS STARTERS ARE THAT MUCH BETTER. I MEAN WHAT’S YOUR POINT? LAKERS ARE BETTER AND THAT’S WHY THEY WON.

      • Horrible Refs says:

        After the Lakers lose any playoff games the fans complain pretty heavily about the calls. During the game, the Lakers complain probably more than any team that everything is a foul, but I would wager they get more calls than almost every other team. Blatently bad calls at key points in the game oddly favor the Lakers constantly. The Spurs in the past decade were another team that got away with almost everything and when they actually get called for something they complain to the refs. Kobe would get plenty of techs for complaining if he was anyone else in the league. Against the Suns he gets a tech for complaining then they feel bad and give one to Hill for doing absolutely nothing. It isn’t really a shock that any team that plays against them has problems with the refs because Kobe is untouchable. The league is far from anti-Lakers which makes every other fan anti-Laker. Start calling games evenly and the Lakers would be losing more. Heat will beat the Lakers in 2011. Three superstars will get more calls than one.

    • LA3peat says:

      obviously that’s not too biased against the Lakers. People like you drive me crazy. You always take credit away from the Lakers and never mention anything that goes against them.

      yes Boston had those injuries the last 2 years, but you fail to mention how badly injured Bynum was. He couldn’t even walk in half of those games. with a healthy Bynum the series goes 4-1 Lakers and doesn’t even get to a game 6 when your man gets hurt. you didn’t mention the injuries to Ariza or Bynum in 08 either. but it’s easy for you to take away from the Lakers though?

      I’m sure you are one of those fans that still talks about Lakers/Kings game 6 in 2002, when the Lakers got robbed in calls in game 2 and game 5 in Sacramento.

      when you look at the history of the Lakers at least during the Magic era, they generally lost series with injuries. not having Worthy against the Bulls in 91, Magic missing 89 against the Pistons, etc. of course you won’t bring that up either, just when they win then it’s excuses as to why the other team lost.

      • juju says:

        in ’91 there was this guy named michael jordan….magic had no chance

      • Colt says:

        lakers and especially their fans r well known to make up every excuse in the book for y they lose when they do. Just admit it, they didnt really belong in the finals in the 1st place this year anyway. They have the WORST bench. Y do u think they nvr take all their starters out almost ever in the playoffs? At least Bos was comfortable enuff 2 put in the bench, and repeatly outscore la on several occasions. lal is way over-rated…srry.

      • Laker Fan since 87 says:

        Um juju…how long was jordan in the league before that first championship win? Im not taking anything way from him, but it wasnt always just easy for jordan.

      • Laker Fan since 87 says:

        Lakers over rated…hmm…well congrats to the front office of the laker orginization to have come across 16 championships. Someone is getting paied to do the right thing in this league, same for boston. Gotta love sports tho. cuz every fans team who losed always has an excuse. boston fans complained if perkins would have played game 7, we would have lost…i guess we will never know now :)

      • Rod says:

        The Lakers are the best team in the league and yes they are repeating champs but I still feel like they have to prove themselves. Im not taking credit away from them but in 09 if Yao & T-Mac werent ijnured then the Lakers would of got their a** handed to them. The series went to 7 games without T-Mac and Yao MIng played like the first 2 or 3 games. Chuck Hayes, a 6’6 man played center and defended well against the Lakers big. So yes the Lakers got it easy that year, and the following series against Denver we all knew was gonna go to the Lakers.

      • Corey King says:

        Looking back at the ’91 finals, magic didn’t really have a chance….but not just because of Jordan’s greatness but magic literally had no one to work with. Both Worthy and Scott were hobbled with injuries and Magic was in his 12th season and perhaps beginning to feel symptoms of his illness as he just didn’t seem to have the energy that he previously possessed. I mean all in all the lakers were a team close to the rebuilding stage against this young, motivated and supremely talented team in the bulls. In hindsight, it was impressive how competitive lakers were in that series….with the exception to game 2 the games were pretty close. It goes to demonstrate how great magic really was having to orchestrate an team the included tony smith, terry teagle, and elden campbell.

      • Juice says:

        “I’m sure you are one of those fans that still talks about Lakers/Kings game 6 in 2002, when the Lakers got robbed in calls in game 2 and game 5 in Sacramento”

        -This was only the most the most controversially officiated game in NBA history. A little light reading about that game 6…

        “On June 10, 2008, convicted NBA referee Tim Donaghy’s attorney filed a court document alleging, among other things, that Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings was fixed by two referees. The letter states that Donaghy “learned from Referee A that Referees A and F wanted to extend the series to seven games. Tim knew Referees A and F to be ‘company men’, always acting in the interest of the NBA, and that night, it was in the NBA’s interest to add another game to the series.” The Lakers won Game 6, attempting 18 more free throws than the Kings in the fourth quarter, and went on to win the 2002 NBA Finals. The referees were not named, but the Western Conference Finals was the only seven-game series that year.”

        And I’m not saying the Lakers arent a GREAT team. but dont use this corruption soaked game as an example of fans of other teams sayin “only if” because in this case, the Kings DEFINETLY were robbed of their only opportunity to win it all.

      • JJ says:

        Agreed… Bynum and ariza healthy in 08 lakers would be ridin a 3peat.

    • wertyqqq says:

      are you a boston or a miami fan?? or you just hate the guts out of kobe and the nba’s no.1 franchise?? I would love to see the east beat the hell out of each other for a trip with kobe in the finals. 81 pts. man!

    • Real Bball Smarts says:

      Its funny how everyone keeps saying “if this or that person was healthy”, especially boston fans. in the last 3 years kobes been to the finals every year and has 2 rings to show for it. now will someone tell me the las time this man was 100% injury free? well i know theres no one that can tell that he’s been injury free during any of these three seasons. champions play through adversity and come out on top. stop complainin about injuries and look at facts. boston had a 13pt lead in the 3rd qtr of game 7. yes they didnt have perkins but bynum might as well not even have played and kobe pretty much played with 4 fingers on his shooting hand and still came out on top!! i didnt c any of bostons “big four” (cuz u gotta include rondo) with only 4 good fingers to shoot with.

      • LA3peat says:

        WELL SAID. THERE IS A BIG ANTI LAKER BIAS WITH FANS THAT AREN’T LAKER FANS. WHENEVER THE LAKERS WIN THERE IS AN EXCUSE AS TO WHY, BUT THEN THEY CAN HAVE ALL THE INJURIES AND THINGS GO AGAINST THEM BUT THE OTHER TEAM WAS JUST BETTER. YOU CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS.

        I HATED THE BULLS IN THE 90′S BECAUSE THEY BEAT THE LAKERS IN 91 AND THAT ALWAYS BOTHERED ME, BUT I ALWAYS HAD RESPECT FOR THEM. THEY WERE GREAT AND DESERVED ALL THE CREDIT AND RESPECT DURING THAT DECADE, JUST LIKE THE LAKERS AND SPURS DO FOR THIS DECADE. I ALWAYS RESPECTED THE SPURS TOO FOR HOW GREAT THEY’VE BEEN.

        BUT THERE ARE TOO MANY PEOPLE THAT JUST DON’T KNOW HOW TO SHOW RESPECT WHERE IT IS DUE LIKE WITH THE BEST PLAYER: KOBE OR THE BEST TEAM THE LAKERS.

        AND FOR ALL OF YOU QUEEN JAMES FANS OUT THERE, WE CAN ARGUE ALL WE WANT ABOUT KOBE VS. LEBRON BUT THE OPINIONS THAT MATTER THE MOST ON THE TOPIC FOR ALL OF US SHOULD BE THAT OF THE BEST PLAYERS LIKE JORDAN, MAGIC, BIRD. JORDAN CAME OUT AND SAID KOBE IS THE BEST PLAYER OF THIS GENERATION AND IS BETTER THAN LEBRON, MAGIC SAID THE SAME THING. AND I’VE EVEN HEARD THE CELTIC SAID HIS FAVORITE PLAYER IS KOBE.

        GIVE THE LAKERS THEY’RE RESPECT! 16 CHAMPIONSHIPS, 31 CONFERENCE TITLES, AND AFTER ALL THAT HAVE ONLY MISSED THE PLAYOFFS 5 TIMES IN 62 YEARS. EVEN WHEN THEY AREN’T A DYNASTY THEY ARE STILL DECENT. GIVE KOBE THE BEST PLAYER OF HIS GENERATION HIS DUE TOO. THE GUY IS A WARRIOR AND PLAYS THROUGH EVERYTHING WHICH WAS JUST POINTED OUT TOO IN THE PREVIOUS POST.

  171. Maxballer7 says:

    Clippers definitely need to be in this conversation. Blake Griffin is just too much of a beast and with their offseason pickups of Ryan Gomes, Randy Foye, Al Farouq Aminu, and Eric Bledsoe. Starting five: Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, Al Farouq/Ryan Gomes, Blake Griffin, Chris Kaman EPIC

    My proposed order:
    1. LAL
    2. OKC
    3. DAL
    4. DEN
    5. POR
    6. UTAH
    7. LAC
    8. SA

    I don’t know how Pheonix would get better after losing Stoudemire and Kerr. I understand that Nash is great but they still lost one of the best forwards in the game. I don’t think Hedu is gonna live up to the job, he’s kind of washed up.

    • lakers number one says:

      I agree, Hedu is overrated…

    • dave says:

      pff channing should b starting pf 4 us…hed b a dirk type player and hedo might b able to fight 4 the starting sf job

      • Charles says:

        yeah a dirk type player who can’t make a shot or dribble drive … the similarities are boundless!!!

        NOT

      • PHX says:

        He didn’t shoot well against the Lakers but take a look at his regular season shooting. He was one of the top 3-point shooters. Assuming “Dirk-type” meant a big guy who can shoot but by no means is anywhere close to Dirk’s skill level. Dirk isn’t really much of a driving force though, he has a high release and settles for outside, turn-around jumpers.

    • daylan says:

      im not a spurs fan but you cant put them that low. pop is one of the best coaches ever. timmy still has a year or 2 in him to still be good

  172. Gwin says:

    Phoenix wont make the playoffs next year, so thats the team that should be out of the standing,
    I think it should be ranked like this
    1LAKERS
    2DALLAS
    3OKC
    4DENVER
    5UTAH
    6HOUSTON
    7PORTLAND
    8SAN ANTONIO

  173. Luis says:

    What about the Clippers? Chris Kaman, Baron Davis are All-Stars. Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin are potential future all-stars.

    • Gwin says:

      Syke,
      ther not better than the teams on the list,
      neiither is Memphis New Orleans Golden State or Sac Town

  174. Jason says:

    You say Portland or Houston for the 8th seed. What about the clippers? They have a veteran point gaurd (Baron Davis), coming off a all star year center (Chris Kaman) and a young #1 draft pick Blake Griffen. Also the new coach Vinny Del Negro who lead the Chicago Bulls to two straight playoff apperances. The clippers will be playoff bound in 2011.

    • Colt says:

      Yea, Clippers! im a Clippers fan, and i think we do have a chance. But i really like OKC this year for the west. lal is waaay over-rated.

      • wertyqqq says:

        clippers in the playoffs next season would be like the nets beating the heat. And as far as the lakers being over-rated, i don’t think so, they have the rings to prove that. u just hope kobe’s finger don’t heal up, cz ur looking at another 2-0 season sweep for your clips. 81 pts, baby.

      • Hawko says:

        Overated? back to back…..end of discussion

      • Wow says:

        You mean a 4-0 season sweep?

      • larry says:

        uhhh…2-0 and thats a sweep??? dude…check ur nba knowledge again…LAL and LAC are in the same divison (let alone conference) they play at least 3 times a season…douche

      • dave says:

        clippers can get 8th if they fight…i respect baron davis and they do have a few other good players

        1.lake show
        2.mavs
        3.okc
        4.nugs
        5.suns
        6.jazz
        7.blazers
        8.clips or rockets

      • LA3peat says:

        the clippers shouldn’t even exist. The clippers or nets should have been the team to move to Oklahoma city, not a solid franchise like the Seattle Supersonics.

        as a Lakers fan I’ve always enjoyed Lakers/Sonics, Lakers/Blazers, Lakers/spurs, Lakers/Suns and some of the other great rivals they have. Clippers and Nets serve no purpose to exist as a franchise and it’s too bad the NBA lost a good franchise in the Sonics and kept a few that shouldn’t be here.

      • typer says:

        HAHAHAH, over-rated? once again typical LAKERS hater

  175. mazer says:

    Once again nice list, but I think New Orleans and especially Goldenstate are being slept on. This is at least an 11 team competition for the west next year minimum, and if one of the unknowns rises we could see a 12 team competition.

    • Wow says:

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Golden State????? LOLOLOOLOLOLOLLLLLOOOLOOLLOLSADASFDASF. You are a funny man. Golden State might make the playoffs again in 10 years.

  176. BSM says:

    I dont see how you could drop portland to 8 but leave phoenix up at 3? that makes no sense. I think portland is a top 4 team in the west, definitely a divisional contender. I also think its premature to say Durant and the thunder are goin to jump from 8th seed to 2nd seed, everyone is just riding high on them without considering the fact that they made playoffs when Houston was without Yao.

    1.LA
    2.DAL
    3.DEN
    4.POR
    5.UTAH
    6.SA
    7.OKC
    8.HOU

    • Gwin says:

      I agree
      Phoenix shouldnt be on there
      but you need to switch Portland and OKC and switch San Antonio with H-Town

    • GM says:

      1. LAL
      2. DAL
      3. UTAH
      4. OKC
      5. POR
      6. PHX
      7. DEN
      8. SA/HOU

      Phoenix is still gonna be awesome, Houston and San Antonio have more to worry about with all their injury issues and age.

    • GD says:

      still i believe that this should be the order
      BTW East All Day:
      1. LA Lakers
      2. DAL
      3. DEN(If Melo Dont Leave to Knicks)
      4. OKC
      5. POR
      6. HOU
      7. UTAH
      8. SA Spurs

      • Wow says:

        How quickly we forget that the Suns made it to the WCF… yes it was w/ Amare. Does this mean they will drop entirely out of the playoff race? No. They have now added Childress and Turkoglu, which shoudl space the floor even more. The zone D can become even more effective (assuming it is still used to a large extent.) Also, I don’t know if anyone saw them sweep the Spurs, but in one of the games I believe the bench played the entire fourth qtr. or am I mistaken?

      • @ Wow says:

        Seriously, Hedon’t and Childress are not going to help the Suns. Hedon’t needs the ball in his hands to be effecient. He even said at the end of this past season that if he had the ball more and ran the point that the Raptors would’ve been better and that his stats would’ve been better. Hello? He is now playing with Steve Nash, and if any coach takes the ball out of his hands in preference for Hedon’t, they should be fired on the spot. The zone D is a joke when you can’t defend the middle or stop offensive rebounds. Yeah and in that game, so did the entire Spurs bench, what’s your point? Facts are there is no one to draw double teams off Nash, and all you need to do is stop Nash. Yeah they have J-Rich, but he’s not all that, and then the next best player is ole Grant Hill. Grant Hill? seriously? Grant Hill is the third best player? ok, maybe Hedon’t, but he ain’t much better.

        At least with a team like Portland, you have B-Roy, Oden, Batum, Aldridge, and Camby oh and I almost forgot about ‘Dre Miller. If I remember Portland took Phoenix to 6 games without Oden and mostly without B-Roy, their best player. Portland is the team to watch out for. Phoenix, not so much.

      • English Ball Player says:

        I think your right to leave PHX out, there still going to be a good team but without a bulky big man there gonna really struggle playing against the bulkier teams out there, and OKC will get better, depends on how serge iboka (not sure how you spell his name) develops durant will do the same westbrook and green will keep doing there thing.

    • STAT posterized LAL says:

      oh.. what makes you think its no sense to put phx on top 3.. last season they defeated portland without defensive player Robin Lopez.. and even if stoudemire is gone now, they still have a lot of gunners and best bench players, now with hedeo and warrick.. with a 10-man rotation, they have a big shot at the title run..

    • Elias says:

      Saying That PHX will miss the playffs is just stupid. This is what alot of NBA experts predicted at the begining of Last year nd SURPRISE, all of a sudden The Suns are in The West Finals..
      If you think that PHX has no chance of finishing in the top3 once next season just because amare left them then i’m sorry, you know nothing about basketball. The Suns , wether you like it or not, have the best bench in the NBA (Dragic, Childress, Dudley,Warrick nd Frye).
      This will be next year’s ranking after 82 games IMO:
      1-LAKERS
      2-SUNS
      3-MAVS
      4-OKC
      5-DEN
      6-JAZZ
      7-POR
      8-SAS. Sorry NOH and HOU :)

      • Simon1823 says:

        Amar’e was a big reason why they were winning. Now that he is gone, who is gonna step up for them? Warick? Turkoglu?…I don’t think they will rank lower than #7 if they do make the playoffs.

    • typer says:

      how bout this one

      1. LAL
      2. OKC
      3. DAL
      4. PHX
      5. POR
      6. DEN
      7. SAS/HOU
      8 .LAC/UTAH

  177. Valdis says:

    Thunder can be better.

  178. DBD30 says:

    I see Portland higher than an eighth seed this year. Considering that they were a 6th seed with a part-time B-Roy and without Greg Oden, the addition of Wes Matthews should have them no lower than 7th.

    • Jazz Fan says:

      Portland’s addition of Wesley Mathews will prove to be a non-factor. Though Wes is a great defender, he cannot thrive in an isolation offense like the Blazers. This is not to say he cannot improve, but playing behind Roy and probably Batum, his chances to improve are slimming down. The Jazz’s offensive sets were perfect for Mathews. Opportunity to play and be a significant player on both ends of the court would have helped this kid flourish. Sad to see him go.

      • Philly J says:

        I think that given the oppourtunity wes matthew can score the ball. He had to play defesivly in Utah because thats the way Jerry Sloan wants it. He can be an offensive threat if he wants to. He’s like a broke ron artest

      • scott says:

        A broke Ron Artest? Are you Serious? How is that comparison even possible? A broke Ron Artest is in the D-League…
        Full Disclosure: I am a Jazz fan and I loved Wesley Mathews.

      • LA boy says:

        Blazers were the 6th seed in the west without having a center for half thier games. Also Brandon roy missed significant time do to injury. There is no reason to pu the blazers any lower than 4 in the west behind the lakers, dallas, and oklahoma city

  179. Isaiah says:

    Sekou you are the best NBA writer. Keep it up man!!! In your next article you should tell these other writers to hop off Joe Johnson’s “you know what”.

    • Aldo. says:

      1) Sacramento Kings. :D
      Hahahaha, I wish.

    • Giles says:

      I think Sekou is right, the Lakers will be #1 in the Nba and therefore the west. And he is also right, I think from 8 to 2 is too high a leap for the Thunder. If Dallas signs Shaq to a 4 year contract, taking him between Jabbar and Parish for retirement age, I think they will be 2nd. He would give them the post up scoring they lack. Brendan and Tyson are weak side rebounders. Dirk is a perimeter shooter/closer, like Kobe, but not a perimeter defender like Kobe. Marion and Butler are quality wings, Kidd is a quality power point, and Beaubois and Barea will give them regular season speed, but may disappear in the playoffs. I think if they keep Nash, 3 is reasonable for Phoenix. A lot of the spoon fed dunks Stoudemire got, Robin “Weak Sister” Lopez could get if he stays healthy. 4 is probably not too high for Houston in the unlikely event Ming Yao is healthy all season. 5 is probably too high for Denver, with the injuries they already have, to Martin and others. 6 may be okay for Salt Laker City, if Okur comes back sooner than expected.. 7 maybe be right for OKC. 8 may be too high for San Antonio, if Jefferson signs with the Clippers, so may be more likely for Portland.

      • No shaq says:

        Dallas already denied Shaq. Thunder are that good, and they won a lotta games for an eight seed last year.

      • Simon1823 says:

        Keep in mind though, OKC had no major injuries at all throughout last season. Even at 100% healthy, they only won 50 games. They are missing a lop post threat right now, so #2 is a far reach for them this year.