The Western Conference is noticeably more competitive than the Eastern Conference, and as a result, superstars such as Kevin Durant and Chris Paul have no titles to show for their time in the league. These are the five players who can avoid criticism by living up to the hype this season:
Kevin Durant - Oklahoma City Thunder
Kevin Durant already has a decorated career, with All Star Games, scoring titles, and an MVP trophy. However, he will never gain ground in the all-time great conversation if he does not win a title. Oklahoma City has made deep playoff runs behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, but the only time they made it to the Finals, they were eliminated by the Heat. Kevin Durant has possibly the most pressure out of anyone to win a championship this season.
Chris Paul - Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers are making a good case for being the best team in the Western Conference. They have the talent and coaching, but they just need to put it all together. Chris Paul is the clear cut leader in the locker room and on the court for this team, and he will need to put together an MVP-like season and lead a deep playoff run to silence the critics.
Chandler Parsons - Dallas Mavericks
Chandler Parsons is the recently acquired X factor for the Dallas Mavericks, who just might be the most underrated team in the league. They have an extremely talented roster and had an excellent offseason as well. Chandler Parsons must step up and fill the hole for the Dallas Mavericks team that brought San Antonio to six games in the first round of the playoffs last season.
Kobe Bryant - Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe Bryant does not necessarily have to win a championship to secure his legacy in L.A., but he does need to make the playoffs. After an absolutely embarrassing season from the Lakers last season, they need to redeem themselves behind their star player. Even the number eight seed would be good enough.
Shaun Livingston - Golden State Warriors
Shaun Livingston was one of the only offseason moves that the Warriors made, and they are hoping that he will bring them over the hump. Last season's game seven loss to the Clippers is fresh in the minds of this Warriors team, and Shaun Livingston will need to provide that spark off of the bench to lead this team deeper than they have been before.
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