Head Honcho’s NBA Western Conference Preview and Predictions

The West is where all the fucking noise happened! KD left the Warriors, AD was traded to the Lakers, Russ was traded to the Rockets, and Kawhi, after winning a ring, lured PG to the Clippers. All of these moves formed some of the most formidable duos we have ever seen in the NBA at one time.

The West has so much talent this year and for the first time in a while it will actually be a fun regular season to watch! We don’t know who the fuck is going to come out of the West and you can probably make a case for maybe 6 teams to win the conference this year!

Let’s start with those 6. At the top you have the Lakers, Clippers, Nuggets, Rockets, Jazz, and Warriors. It would absolutely not surprise me to see any of these teams in the finals this year. They all have at least 1 bonafide superstar and those stars have enough talent around them to win the West.

Yes the Warriors can still win the West! They still have Steph Curry and Steph may put up one of the greatest shooting seasons we have ever seen this year. For the first time since his MVP years he will be the focal point of the offense and he is going to be fun to watch. Klay will not be there for most of the season but once he comes back we have seen what the two of them can do together. They also added D”Angelo Russell which gives them incredible depth once Klay does come back and don’t forget about Willie Cauley-Stein. Cauley-Stein will be a huge piece coming off the bench for this team.

People are quick to forget that the Lakers were 20-14 after their Christmas Day win over the Warriors. They were in 3rd in the West and they looked like a real contender. Then Lebron got hurt and missed the biggest chunk of games in his career. They went 7-11 over the next 18 games and they never recovered. There was a huge difference though with the Lakers after Lebron’s injury that no one ever talked about. After he got hurt, the young guys like Kuzma and company had to step into new roles they were not accustomed to. After Lebron came back, no one on that team went back to the role they had before the injury. They all tried to maintain the same role and that absolutely killed them in the last 3 months of the season.

In the offseason, the Lakers added AD in a trade that a lot of basketball “experts” say they actually lost. They gambled the next like 6 years of this franchise on winning one within the next 2 years. I am fucking here for it though! Their window is small with Lebron and they need to win now! Now you have 2 of the 5 best players in all of basketball plus some role players to make it work. It’s championship or bust in LA!

Speaking of LA, we may see a shift of power this year from the Lakers to the Clippers. After playing the Warriors tough for 3 games, they went and added Kawhi and PG13. I don’t think Kawhi is the best player in the league, but he is the easiest star to win with because he brings no drama, he is never in the news, and he will go down as one of the best 2 way players we have ever seen. The 2nd best 2 way player in the game is now on his team and we saw what PG was capable of last year as the main scorer for the Thunder. He is an MVP caliber player and these two are going to be fun to watch.

The Nuggets are, of course, not getting any fucking love in the media, but I think they’re ok with that. They have one of the quietest, most under the radar, superstars the NBA has ever seen. Nikola Jokic does everything and he is fat as shit! He looks like the complete opposite of a basketball player but he is one of the most skilled all around guys in the entire league! Jamal Murray is turning into a star and he may get some All-Star buzz this year. The one piece that will make them even better this year is Michael Porter Jr. There is a reason they still took him in the lottery after he only played like 2 games in college. Porter is a fucking freak and you NEED to watch him play this year.

The Rockets have one of the most polarizing duos we have ever seen in this league before. Russ is probably the most controversial superstar ever, but he is absolutely a superstar, don’t get it twisted! What makes them polarizing right now is the fact that they have two of the highest usage rates in the history of basketball. How will both of them be able to work off each other and see enough ball to stay engaged? They figured it out in OKC and I think they will figure it out in Houston too.

The Jazz are everyone’s “sleepers” this year. So many people are picking them as their “sleeper” that it doesn’t make sense for them to considered fucking sleepers. They have stars in Mitchell and Gobert and they have all the role players they need. Mitchell needs to go from star to superstar though if the Jazz want to make a run in this loaded conference.

The next tier of teams will be fighting for those last 2 playoff spots and even these teams are fucking loaded! The Trail Blazers, Mavericks, Thunder, T-Wolves, and Pelicans would all probably be competing for the 4-5 seeds in the East. As it is, they will all be fighting for the last 2 spots in the West.

I can actually see the Blazers really competing all season out West, but when it comes down to it they just do not have the talent the other teams have. Adding Whiteside was nice, but it pales in comparison to what the other teams added. Dame is cold as fuck though and he is a darkhorse MVP candidate. Him and CJ make for one of the best backcourts in the NBA and they are always a threat to make a run at it.

I also really like the the Mavericks this year. Luka is not just any second year player. The guy is a fucking stud! It’s not just his talent and ability, but his attitude that make him great. He has all the intangibles and he knows the game like an 8 year vet. I also think people forget how good Porzingis can be. I hate his fucking guts for being a spineless bitch in NY, but he is an all world talent.

Out of this group of teams, the Pelicans seem to be getting the most buzz, which should be obvious because of the offseason they had. They drafted Zion, and got a fucking haul for AD. They will be an extremely intriguing team this year, but I think it’s one or two years too soon to be thinking about playoffs, especially after Zion got hurt (preseason rules again).

The Thunder are one of the most confusing teams in the league. I think too many people are forgetting what Chris Paul is capable of, even at his age, when he is healthy. If he doesn’t get injured 2 years ago in the WCF, they almost undoubtedly beat the Warriors that year. The question is can he stay healthy. If he does, he can make everyone on this Thunder team better. SGA is going to be a star in this league and Paul will absolutely help him reach new heights this year. They have some pieces to make some noise, but in my mind it all hinges on Paul staying healthy.

The Timberwolves have probably been the most frustrating team of the last 4-5 years. I’m not sure if KAT is just not living up to the hype, or if they have truly wasted his fucking talent by pairing him with guys like Wiggins, Butler and Rose. People talk about CP3 or Wall having the worst contract in basketball but what about Wiggins?! Wiggins is a horrible fucking teammate and has not helped the T-Wolves get better at all! The entire style of play for this team needs to be changed for them to succeed. KAT seems to be talented enough to carry them to the playoffs if given the right opportunity.

The bottom of the barrel in the West even has plenty of fucking talent. You have the Suns, Spurs, Grizzlies, and Kings all just waiting for their time to come with the super young talent they have.

The Kings may have my favorite player in the league in De’Aaron Fox. He is fucking electric and he is the next great PG in this league! They also have Buddy Hield (for now) who is turning into a real good player in his own right. This team has the talent to play with any team on any given day, they just are too young and are missing a piece or two to be able to compete over a full season. Give it two or three years and the Kings will be a playoff team and Fox will be an MVP candidate.

As long as Pop is coaching the Spurs, I will never count them out. I don’t care who they have, he has a way of making it work and getting his team to the playoffs. Aldridge was a star last year, Derozan is an All Star, and they will get Dejounte Murray back this year after missing all of last year. They are definitely a team that can shock the NBA world by making a run at the playoffs.

The Suns are loaded with young talent too! Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, and Ty Jerome make for quite the interesting young core. If the Suns can keep them together, they can really develop over the next 3 years, especially with vets like Rubio and Saaric there to help them.

I left my favorite draft pick this year for last. Ja Morant is going to be a fucking superstar! If the Knicks had the first pick I honestly would have wanted them to draft Ja before Zion. This kid is an absolute freak and he can do it all. If he truly works on developing his jumper watch the fuck out! They won’t win shit, but they have about as good a building block as you can have with Ja.

Predictions

1-Denver Nuggets

2-Los Angeles Lakers

3-Houston Rockets

4-Los Angeles Clippers

5-Utah Jazz

6-Golden State Warriors

7-Portland Trail Blazers

8-Oklahoma City Thunder

9-Dallas Mavericks

10-Minnesota Timberwolves

11-New Orleans Pelicans

12-San Antonio Spurs

13-Sacramento Kings

14-Phoenix Suns

15-Memphis Grizzlies

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