Now, that All-Star weekend has passed, the 2018-2019 NBA season will ramp up once again. Over the course of the season, we have seen how the Eastern Conference is starting to look competitive once again and how the Western Conference remains as ferocious as ever as teams continue to claw their way into the playoffs. Today, we will be looking at the top five teams in the Western Conference and how these teams stack up with one another
1. Golden State Warriors
The most dominant team in the NBA has yet to lose their touch. Earlier in the season, rumors of tension between key players, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green had looked as if it would put a dent on the team’s chemistry, but as always, the Warriors prevailed despite the differences on the court. With Demarcus Cousins’ inclusion in the starting five, the Warriors will have enough offensive firepower on the court to thrust any team they play into a defensive schizophrenic attack. Kerr will continue to play around with his rotations to make up for the lack of the depth on the bench, but the Warriors look suited to take home the top seed in the Western Conference unless the Denver Nuggets continue their polarizing run this season.
2. Denver Nuggets
The most surprising team in the NBA keeps on turning heads with their performance as of late and are only two games behind the Golden State Warriors. Nikola Jokic, the Joker, has been a cornerstone in this teams’ meteoric rise along with key players improving their play such as Jamal Murray, Malik Beasley, and Mason Plumlee. Jokic provides the team with the offensive punch through his beautiful facilitation of the ball while the rest of the team helps make up for the Joker’s deficiencies on the defensive side of the court. Just look at the clip below where Jokic did a little bit of everything to help his team win against the Sacramento Kings.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder have been on a tear ever since they let go of Carmelo Anthony last summer. Paul George has been making his case for MVP with his play as of lately, averaging 33.4 points a game at a 49% clip the last five games before the All-Star break. Alongside George, Russell Westbrook has put up historic numbers this past season by continuously putting up triple-doubles night in and night out. This dynamic duo could improve even more as they develop their chemistry throughout the season, but for now, they need to prove themselves come playoff time to show that they are can carry this momentum into the postseason.
4. Portland Trail Blazers
With the addition of Enes Kanter who was recently waived from the New York Knicks along with Rodney Hood from a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Portland Trailblazers have added even more bench depth to their roster. The dynamic guard combo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are holding nothing back this season and have only pushed forward an underdog narrative that they cannot be ignored. Just look below at these highlights of Lillard eating the competition at the All-Star game where he built the momentum for team LeBron to come back from being down 106-120.
5. Houston Rockets
After starting off the season out of the playoff picture, the Houston Rockets have resurrected in the Western Conference behind James Harden’s heroics. The Rockets were hit with the injury bug with Chris Paul, Clint Capela, James Harden, and Eric Gordon being forced to sit out games due to injury. Heading into Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Rockets are looking forward to having Capela return to the starting lineup, which would mean the Rockets would finally be at full strength. This team is capable of winning more games, but the rest of the season will determine their chances in the playoffs.