Yesterday, I offered up 15 thoughts for the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference. Today, you guessed it: I am doing the Western Conference. Here we go.
Dallas Mavericks– What a fun team. They are currently a top-five must watch, league-pass team along with the Los Angeles teams, Toronto, and Milwaukee. The Houston Rockets and Washington Wizards are last. Luka Doncic has of course been incredible. He has exceeded the hype surrounding him before the start of the season. What is left unnoticed by most casual NBA fans is that the entire team has stepped it up since last season.
Denver Nuggets– The Nuggets suffered yet another huge blow to their starting lineup in losing Paul Millsap. It will be interesting to see how Nikola Jokic will fare defensively without Paul helping cover a lot of ground on that side of the court. Also, does Mason “Plumlord” Plumlee start now?
Golden State Warriors– Just when you thought that Steph Curry could not carry any more of the karmic weight of the team, Klay Thompson says some “idiotic” things about LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers from a few seasons ago. Look it up. I’m starting to think Klay is actually quite a jerk. Sorry, Klaytheists.
Houston Rockets– You have to think general manager Daryl Morey has a trade or two up his sleeve this winter. Anyone else getting some 1995 Houston Rockets vibes from this team, or am I too stubborn to admit I was terribly wrong about Houston coming into the season?
Los Angeles Clippers– Can the Clippers really keep this play up all season? They are on pace to win 55-plus games, so I don’t think so. Nonetheless, I love this team. Well coached, bring it every night, and of course, Ralph freaking Lawler.
Los Angeles Lakers– The Lakers are a very good team when they are not playing against the Orlando Magic or the San Antonio Spurs. LAL is 1-5 against these two sub-.500 teams and 15-5 against the rest of the league. Huh.
Memphis Grizzlies– Memphis has cooled off a bit since their five-game winning streak in mid-November. Since November 21st, the Grizz have lost five of eight. But hey, Joakim Noah is back! Like Zach Randolph several years ago, maybe Memphis is exactly what Noah needs to revitalize his career. Probably not.
Minnesota Timberwolves– I thought a Jimmy Butler trade might not rule out Minnesota’s playoff-aspirations, but the Wolves have been even better than expected the past few weeks. Dare I say it: How sustainable is Derrick Rose’s play? I will eat a can of cat food if Rose continues to shoot above 40% from three-point range for the rest of the season.
New Orleans Pelicans– I can’t believe I am saying this, but the Pelicans are missing Elfrid Payton. Who would have thought?
Oklahoma City Thunder– The Thunder have been phenomenal since starting the season 0-4. Paul George is having a career-year. But the biggest reason OKC is slaying? Russell Westbrook is deferring to his teammates more often. His usage-rate is the lowest it’s been since oof Kevin Durant was still in town.
Phoenix Suns– What a disaster of a team. What a disaster of an organization. Is Igor Kokoskov a good coach? Will the Suns ever get an NBA point guard? Will the city of Phoenix start a riot to expunge Robert Sarver as owner of the team? Am I done asking depressing Suns’ questions?
Portland Trailblazers– The Blazers have regressed to the mean after a hot-start. Quick tangent: There are 14 of 15 Western Conference teams competing for a playoff spot this season. I firmly believe the Blazers will be one of the teams on the outside looking-in by season’s end.
Sacramento Kings– Is De’Aaron Fox an all-star this year? So far, yes. The Kings barely missed my top-five league pass teams ranking.
San Antonio Spurs– It’s sad what is happening to head coach Gregg Popovich. It seems that he is getting too old for the modern NBA. The game has passed other great coaches by. It happened to Phil Jackson. Pat Riley and Red Auerbach moved to the front office at the right time. It will be interesting to see what Pop does between now and the 2020 Olympics.
Utah Jazz– What is going on with Utah? Houston is competing with the Jazz for the team I was most wrong about going into the season. Yikes.
There you have it. 30 teams, 30 thoughts.