The Western Conference is brimming with talented teams. On any given day, any of the eight playoff teams in the western conference can defeat any one of their playoff counterparts.
Largely the Western Conference is a tossup, but that isn’t going to stop me from trying to predict how the chips will fall.
Prediction #1: Spurs win the West again.
Over the past four seasons (2010-2014), the Spurs have the best regular season record in the NBA, 231 wins and 81 loses making a winning percentage of .740. I expect the Spurs to stay motivated, thanks in part to great coaching, and pursue the franchise’s first back-to-back championship.
Prediction #2: Spurs represent the West in the NBA finals.
The Spurs have figured out the Western Conference and have repeatedly shown they are the team to beat in the West. Over the last two seasons San Antonio cleared the air regarding Oklahoma City’s challenge to unseat the Spurs like the upstart 2011-2012 Thunder did.
Prediction #3: Spurs win NBA finals for team first repeat championship.
Really, whoever advances from the Western Conference will be the distinct favorites. However, since the world measures greatness by the number of championships and back-to-back championships a team has, I look for the Spurs to have an even larger chip on their shoulder than they did in the 2013-2014 season.
Prediction #4: Doc Rivers improves the Clippers to the second best team in the West.
The second best team in the West is a competition between the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder. I see Doc Rivers’ adept coaching paying off this season with the Clipper winning three to five more games next regular season. Making the playoffs hasn’t been the primary concern of the Clippers team - over the past three seasons the Clippers have made the playoffs three times. The issue has been making progress in the playoffs.
Prediction #5: Houston Rockets locker room feuds make them drop to the sixth seed.
After James Harden said “Dwight and I are the cornerstones of the Rockets, the rest of the guys are role players or pieces that complete our team,” the Rockets are looking at an even steeper uphill climb to compete with San Antonio this season.
How long will it take for those comments to be forgotten? How long till very good players like point guard Patrick Beverley, stop trying to one-up Dwight and James to prove they aren’t just role players? At least until Christmas and the distraction will cost them at least three games. In the 2013-2014 season three games is the difference between the fourth place Rockets and sixth place Golden State Warriors.
Prediction #6: Lakers barely make it into the playoffs then lose in the first round.
By shear will power Kobe wills the subpar Lakers into the playoffs. Unfortunately for Kobe, the top seed will most likely be San Antonio and the Spurs have shown they can shut down any one player. Carlos Boozer, Jeremy Lin and Steve Nash are nowhere near good enough compete with the Spurs. Despite Kobe’s best the Lakers will be eliminated from the playoffs in no more than five games.