Jay C. Brandriet
Football is about to start. You wouldn’t know it from the recent sports coverage. This has been the most exciting summer I can remember in the NBA. Players are moving at an all time high, and changing the face of the league. The western conference is loaded and as deep as ever.
I have no idea how it will turn out, or where the teams will be seeded.
Here is my best guess at the NBA’s wild west.
#1- LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
THE FIT SEEMS HAND IN GLOVE READY
I’ve never thought of the Clippers as first in anything. They were already good. They were hard nosed, and seemingly tough minded. They were ready for a particular star. Instead, they landed two. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will take charge with their two way skills. I see the chemistry as a certainty. Doc Rivers coaching is a key part of my confidence in Los Angeles.
#2- LOS ANGELES LAKERS
THEY DID JUST FINE WITHOUT KAWHI
L.A. missed out on a trio for the ages. They recovered well and added noteworthy names. It won’t be easy to out rebound the Lakers. LeBron James is rested, down in pounds, and ready for an MVP caliber season. He’s going to put on a passing clinic. A prime Anthony Davis is his side kick? That will work.
#3- UTAH JAZZ
THEY ADDED PERFECT “JAZZ GUYS”
The Jazz made super additions to an already 50 win team. Mike Conley Jr., Bojan Bogdanovic’, Ed Davis, and Jeff Green are exactly who Utah needed. They are “Jazz guys.” This team gets quality three point shots, and now they should be expected to knock them down. Donovan Mitchell is ready to make the important jump from year two to three. Rudy Gobert is the best defender in the sport. He’s looking forward to making sure everyone knows it.
#4- DENVER NUGGETS
MAKES SENSE TO RUN IT BACK
I probably didn’t take Denver serious enough last year. They were 34-7 at home, and feel like a stable unit. They are versatile. Nikola Jokic’ is the NBA’s most under talked about superstar. It’s like watching a young Arvydas Sabonis. They are bringing this core back to try it again. Adding Jerami Grant is another quiet reason to think the Nuggets are legit.
#5- HOUSTON ROCKETS
“THIS IS A RELEVANT, SEXY, HAIL MARY.” (Chris Broussard)
I get the arguments against Westbrook joining Harden. I think more of it than the crowd does. In a vacuum, I see it like this. The Rockets have some tested starters, and an offensive head coach. The 2017 MVP was Russell Westbrook. The 2018 MVP was James Harden. The current year is 2019. Wouldn’t they have to be dangerous?
#6- GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
THE MOST INTERESTING TEAM
I’m not sure this group is done winning. In 2019-20, they might be on pause. They lost more than just KD. A motivated Steph Curry and Draymond Green should keep this team afloat. Why is everyone brushing off D’Aangelo Russell? Whether he’s an odd fit, or a later asset to trade, he’s a major talent. The Culture will figure it out. The potential return of Klay Thompson is that extra bit of interesting.
#7- SAN ANTONIO SPURS
STILL JUST ENOUGH IN THE CUPBOARD
Legend coach. Two top 30 players in Aldridge and DeRozan. Throw in some nice role guys. I assume they can execute their way to May once again.
#8-NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
I’M PROBABLY A YEAR EARLY
The Pelicans went from non existent to getting my attention. They have a lot of active bodies on paper. Jrue Holiday, Lonzo, Ingram, and JJ Redick. Ask Jazz fans about Derrick Favors. I think Zion will give New Orleans a spectacular 18.5 points a night his rookie year.
Portland has an awesome back court, but they lost some important pieces.
Dallas, and Sacramento seem awfully good too. Who knows?
Jay C. Brandriet