The Wild Wild West has always been the most entertaining Conference in the NBA. The best players, the best teams, the best coaches, you name it; the West has always had it all, and this year won’t be different.
The Western Conference supremacy isn’t likely to end this season amid LeBron James’ arrival, the Dubs landing Boogie, and all of the standout rookies and a sophomore that are set to take the floor.
Even though the season is yet to begin, we can go ahead and take a look at the team’s rosters and projections for the upcoming campaign, so take a seat and enjoy our first Western Conference power rankings of the season.
15. Sacramento Kings
The Sacramento Kings have been used to being at the bottom of the standings for quite a long time now, and things aren’t looking very different for them this season even amid Marvin Bagley’s arrival.
Sacramento is a slightly better team this season, that we can’t deny, but they’re still ages away from being able to merely compete. Still, De’Aaron Fox is always a must watch, so Kings fans won’t be bored for sure.
14. Memphis Grizzlies
The Memphis Grizzlies are stuck in a very tough situation now, amid the end of the ‘Grit and Grind’ era. They’re set to have Mike Conley Jr back, but he’s not enough to lead them to contention.
This team is likely to trade Marc Gasol and even try and move Mike Conley before the trade deadline, not to mention Chandler Parsons is a prime buyout candidate. So, other than watching Jaren Jackson take the floor, there’s no much reason to tune in to watch the Grizzlies.
13. Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers will just have to start back from scratch, now that even DeAndre Jordan has left them and there’s no sign of their former big three anymore as they traded away Blake Griffin.
They have nice assets they could trade for picks, players of the likes of Tobias Harris and Patrick Beverley, but they definitely won’t be anywhere near playoff contention and will go back to being one of the league’s worst teams.
12. Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks got really better now that they landed DeAndre Jordan and drafted Luka Doncic, but they’re still a year or two away from being a legit threat in the Western Conference for sure.
This may be Dirk Nowitzki’s final season and after a hell of a career, he would like to go down fighting. They may make a bit of a push, but in the end, it won’t be enough to make it to the playoffs in the west.
11. Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns need a starting point guard, but other than that, they will be really fun to watch. Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton are a couple of most offensively talented this league has seen in years, and they’ve added a lot of defensive balance to their ranks as well.
They will make a lot of noise this season and upset several candidates for sure, but they still need a couple of years playing together and a primary ball handler in order to take a step forward.
10. Portland Trail Blazers
We don’t expect the Portland Trail Blazers to be nearly half as good as they were this prior season, and truth to be told, we wouldn’t even be surprised if they wind up trading Lillard, McCollum or both at some point of the year.
Portland has a good squad, but not good enough to get past the first round of the playoffs, so they should just go ahead and break their backcourt apart and start planning ahead for the future.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves
After putting an end to their long playoff drought, the Minnesota Timberwolves won’t make it back to the postseason this year, and they may wind up trading Jimmy Butler before the deadline.
This team lacks chemistry and their young studs don’t have the winning character needed to thrive in such a tough conference, so don’t be surprised if they even wind up trading Wiggins as well.
8. New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans added a couple of interesting pieces in Jahlil Okafor, Julius Randle and Elfrid Payton, and if the three of them can truly find consistency, they’re going to be really tough to beat.
Mirotic, Randle and Davis have the potential to be a deadly frontcourt in the up-tempo offense Alvin Gentry likes to play, but still, we believe Davis should just try and force a move out of the team.
7. Denver Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets will definitely be in the playoffs this season, now that the Timberwolves and Blazers will slide and they’ll have Paul Millsap at full strength for the entire campaign next to Nikola Jokic.
The Nuggets feature quite a dynamic backcourt in Harris and Murray, and considering how tough to beat they are in their home court, we wouldn’t be surprised if they mess around all to the 2nd round of the playoffs.
6. San Antonio Spurs
Truth to be told, we believe the DeMar DeRozan trade wasn’t a smart move by the San Antonio Spurs, not because DeRozan isn’t great (because he is), but because he doesn’t fit the needs of the team.
This team needs shooters, spacing, and defense, and DeRozan isn’t either of those things. Still, even without Parker and Manu, Gregg Popovich will work his magic and find a way to take this team to the playoffs.
5. Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz are legit, and Donovan Mitchell is legit as well. If Rudy Gobert manages to avoid injury, this team could upset pretty much every single squad in the NBA, and we’re not kidding here.
Coach Snyder features a great defensive system and he finally has a couple of sharpshooters in Ingles and Mitchell, who’s only going to get better as he gets more experienced. Also, having a perennial DPOY candidate won’t hurt your chances.
4. Oklahoma City Thunder
Don’t sleep on the Oklahoma City Thunder. You can never sleep on Russell Westbrook. This team has really gotten better by letting Carmelo Anthony walk and adding Dennis Schroder and Nerlens Noel.
They have the determination to win and a much-enhanced roster, and keeping Paul George gives them another shot at a Championship. They underperform against lesser squads, but they have what it takes to put together a historic playoff run.
3. Los Angeles Lakers
Whenever a team lands LeBron James, this team instantly becomes a true Championship contender, not only because of his presence but because other studs want to play next to him to have a shot at the ring.
The Lakers made some great free agency signings and already had quite a promising young roster, so they’re a lock to put an end to their playoff drought and have a true shot at making the Conference Finals.
2. Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets are a slightly better team than the Los Angeles Lakers, but they’re not as good as they were the prior campaign as they let Mbah A Moute and Trevor Ariza go via free agency.
Also, Carmelo Anthony may wind up hurting this team unless he embraces a lesser role. The Rockets are good and D’Antoni’s an offensive genius, but they will most likely find a way to choke in the playoffs as they always do.
1. Golden State Warriors
And obviously, the best team in the Conference, the NBA, the decade and arguably basketball history has to be the Golden State Warriors, especially now that they’ve also added DeMarcus Cousins to their roster.
These guys will feature 5 All-Stars in their starting 5 when healthy, and so far, nobody has found the way to stop them, so they may be up for a three-peat this season, barring a disaster or a major surprise.