The Western Conference is always a dog fight, with the best players in the world going at it on a nightly basis to try and take their teams to the playoffs in the hardest conference, having the chance to miss the postseason even if they end up with a winning record throughout the season.
Naturally, competition is at the highest of levels in the Western Conference, and this season hasn’t been the exception to that rule, with the playoff picture still taking shape even though the regular season is about to end in just a couple of days.
Today, we’re going to talk about those players that have led their teams to playoff contention, letting you know about the top 10 players in the Western Conference of the 2017-18 regular season.
Honorable mention: Jimmy Butler
10. Karl-Anthony Towns
Karl-Anthony Towns has been able to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves with Jimmy Butler sidelined, and he’s one of the few players to average a double-double throughout the season, leading the league in that regard with 64 (up to this date).
The young big man has continued to be a reliable scorer from beyond the three-point land while also making a huge impact on the defensive end of the floor with his top-notch rim protection ability, putting season averages of 21.2 points and 12.3 rebounds.
9. LaMarcus Aldridge
With Kawhi Leonard out for most of the season, the San Antonio Spurs have been LaMarcus Aldridge’s team, and he’s finally looking like the dominant low post scorer he was during his Portland Trail Blazers tenure a couple of seasons ago.
The Spurs’ offense has flown through Aldridge, while he’s also put a lot of effort in the defensive end of the floor and trying to dominate both sides of the glass, his biggest liability during his first season under Popovich’s command. Throughout the season, he’s averaged 23.3 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.1 dimes per game.
8. Chris Paul
Chris Paul’s addition has been one of the main reasons why the Houston Rockets have completely torched every opposition this year, being able to embrace a lesser role as the second man on board playing next to James Harden.
Paul’s presence has provided a huge boost in the defensive end of the floor, while he helps to take a lot of pressure off Harden’s shoulders as another playmaker on the floor, and he’s put season averages of 18.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 7.9 assists and 1.7 steals per game.
7. DeMarcus Cousins
DeMarcus Cousins was playing the best basketball of his career before suffering a season-ending Achilles injury, and he was finally set to make his postseason debut after leading the Pelicans all season long next to Anthony Davis.
Cousins was one of the team’s primary playmakers, was a consistent scorer from three-point territory and one of the deadliest rebounders and shot blockers of the league, putting season averages of 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks per game.
6. Stephen Curry
Stephen Curry was on a tear all season long with his usual dominant self as the best shooter in the history of the game, but hasn’t been able to shake off his longtime ankle problems and is set to miss the first round of the playoffs.
Nonetheless, he’s still been the best player for the Dubs all season long when he’s been able to suit up, and they’re definitely going to miss his production of 26.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 6.1 dimes per game while he’s on the shelf recovering full strength.
5. Russell Westbrook
After breaking all kind of records the past season and writing his name on history books, Russell Westbrook is on the verge of averaging a triple-double again this year with season averages of 25.6 points, 9.9 rebounds and 10.1 assists per game.
But what’s been most impressive of the reigning MVP this year is his ability to adjust to playing with 2 scorers as Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, settling for fewer shots and trusting his teammates way more than he used to do earlier on his career.
4. Kevin Durant
Draymond Green has to be jealous because Kevin Durant has emerged as the Golden State Warriors best defensive player and rim protector leading the team in the shot blocking area while also providing lights out shooting as usual.
Durant has carried the Dubs through Curry’s injury, proving that he’s way more than a scorer as the team’s primary ball handler when Steph’s not on the court, putting season averages of 26.5 points, 6.9 boards and 5.4 helpers per contest.
3. Damian Lillard
Once again, Damian Lillard’s being snubbed of the credit and recognition he deserves, as he should be getting way more praise than he’s gotten after leading the Portland Trail Blazers all the way to the 3rd seed in the Western Conference this season.
Lillard has been one of the most dominant scorers in the league all season long, has slightly improved on defense and has proven once again to be the clutchest player in basketball, putting season averages of 26.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.1 steals per game.
2. Anthony Davis
Nobody trusted the New Orleans Pelicans after DeMarcus Cousins fell down with injury, but that’s when Anthony Davis entered beast mode and single-handedly carried the team to playoff contention even without their second best player on board.
Davis is having once again an MVP caliber kind of season, but he’s never going to be in the conversation until he’s able to translate those great personal performances with team success. Still, his season averages of 29.1 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game are quite impressive, even for him.
1. James Harden
James Harden has pretty much outplayed every single basketball player in the world, and he’s the clear front-runner to win the MVP award this season after being snubbed two years in a row, leading the Houston Rockets to the best record in the NBA.
The Rockets are the favorite to take home the O’Brien trophy this season and that’s mostly thanks to Harden, the most dominant and versatile offensive player all year long, and the league’s leading scorer with his averages of 30.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 8.7 assists and 1.8 steals per game.