How the West was won
Unlike the NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs Prediction I wrote earlier this year, I expect most of the elite teams in the West from the previous season to maintain the top spots leading up to the playoffs. The Western Conference is stacked with at least 10 teams who will battle it out for a playoff seed. Surprisingly, several low-tier teams have improved and will more than likely cause teams looking to grab playoff positions 6-8 to look over their shoulders in nervousness as the regular season draws to an end.
Check out my Western Conference Playoffs Prediction and voice your opinion.
Disclaimer – The following predictions are based on the current teams current roster and are subject to change throughout the year.
2013-2014 NBA Western Conference Playoff Standings Predictions
8. Dallas Mavericks
2012 – 2013 Reg Season Record: 41 – 41
2012 – 2013 Western Conference Rank: 10
Key Acquisitions: Monte Ellis, Jose Calderon, Shane Larkin, DeJuan Blair
I think the Mavericks are going to make a serious push for the 7th or 8th playoff position. They went out and found a legitimate scorer in Monte Ellis, while Jose Calderon should fit perfect with the fast paced offense in Dallas. The Mavs also added an interior tough guy (DeJuan Blair) and also acquired (in my opinion) one of the best point guards in the 2013 NBA Draft (Shane Larkin). My biggest concern is whether or not Monte Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki can share the ball. Both players love to shoot and work more efficiently with the ball in their hands.
2012 – 2013 Reg Season Record: 57 – 25
2012 – 2013 Western Conference Rank: 3
Key Acquisitions: JJ Hickson, Nate Robinson
The Nuggets have a solid roster that may have been better coached under George Karl. I’m not exactly sold on Brian Shaw as the head coach but only time will tell as to whether or not he can motivate this team into buying into a new coaching system. JaVale McGee is finally coming into his own offensively and he may finally make my list of the top-10 centers in the league. JJ Hickson (one of the most underrated players in the league) brings toughness to a team that couldn’t fight their way out of a paper bag during the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs.
I’m also excited about the addition of Nate Robinson (another 2013 most underrated player). If Nate Robinson can find his way into the regular rotation, he can provide more than enough scoring and energy to boost the Nuggets beyond the first round of the playoffs. Again, Brian Shaw could be the only down side for this team. Lets hope the great Phil Jackson taught him a thing or two about coaching.
2012 – 2013 Reg Season Record: 47 – 35
2012 – 2013 Western Conference Rank: 6
Key Acquisitions: Andre Iguodala, Jermaine O’Neil
The Nuggets have a legitimate all-star and lights out shooter in Stephen Curry, while Klay Thomson continues to emerge as the second best scorer on the team. Should you be excited about the Nuggets this season? Yes and No. The Nuggets have added more depth with the acquisition of Andre Iguodala and Jermaine O’Neil, unfortunately I’m not convinced Iguodala can provide the Nuggets with enough firepower to defeat OKC, L.A. Clippers, or the San Antonio Spurs. None the less, this should make for an exciting season for the Warriors.
2012 – 2013 Reg Season Record: 56 – 26
2012 – 2013 Western Conference Rank: 5
Key Acquisitions: None
What can I say. The Grizzlies haven’t made any significant improvements to their roster and as a team they have not added any additional depth that would make them any more than a second round playoff team. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol are arguably the best big-man combination in the league, unfortunately the Grizzlies organization made the idiotic mistake of firing former head coach Lionel Hollins. I’ve never been a fan of seeing the firing of great head coaches and this move by the Grizzlies organization may come back to bite them in the ass this season.