NBA Western Conference Playoff Predictions
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NBA Western Conference Playoff Predictions

With the off-season in full effect and free agency slowing down, there's nothing better a "way too early" prediction. This is my listing in order by seeding of what I think the playoff picture may look like come next post season.

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The Western Conference is the definitely the stronger of the two conferences and after this offseason, I don't even think it's close. With star power like Steph Curry, James Harden, Kevin Durant and others already in the West and now adding Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony and swapping Kawhi Leonard for Demar DeRozan, the West isn't getting easier. Personally, the first few seeds are pretty easy, but after the 3rd seed, these can get very interesting. Let's take a look at who I think is going to make the Western Conference playoffs.

1. Golden State Warriors

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I feel like this is obvious, but there are a few factors that contribute to their dominance. The first thing is that they were able to maintain their core group from last year outside of not retaining Javele Mcgee who went to the Los Angeles Lakers. The other factor is their off-season acquisitions. By resigning Kevin Durant and Kevin Looney, picking up Jacob Evans in the 2018 NBA Draft and signing Jonas Jerebko and Demarcus Cousins for low end deals, the Warriors may be the best they have ever been. Five All Stars and a deep bench… looks like they'll be going for their fourth championship in five years.

2. Houston Rockets

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Hard for the Rockets to go anywhere but up. They were one game away from beating the Warriors in the Conference finals and had a great to do so if not for Chris Paul getting injured (which was kind of expected). Unfortunately, they lost out on their "3 and D" guys in Trevor Ariza and Luc a Mbah Moute to free agency, but where they lose out on defense, they should make up in buckets by signing Carmelo Anthony. I expect this to be all buckets, lots of threes and even more hundred-point games.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder

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Addition by subtraction: that's the key to the Thunder's improvement this offs-eason. By buying out Carmelo Anthony, who was a net negative on the court, especially defensively and even worse in the locker room due to his unwillingness to come off the bench, the Thunder rid themselves of a locker room cancer. The "Big 3" idea was cool, but this team is better off being led by two elite players, Russell Westbrook and Paul George, with Steven Adams manning the middle. Adding Dennis Schroder and Nerlens Noel while also getting back Andre Roberson from injury should help keep the Thunder contention as they strengthen both their starting lineup and bench after an underwhelming 2017-2018 season.

4. Utah Jazz

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After coming off a surprising break out season, Donovan Mitchell and the Jazz have a lot to build on as a team on the rise. Last season for them was a roller coaster ride that ended with them losing in the second round of the playoffs in a year where they were projected to miss the playoffs. Granted the talent in West only grows as players like Demar Derozan and Melo are added, but Mitchell and Ruby Gobert are a good one-two punch on offense and defense to continue to build off.

5. Los Angeles Lakers

Krispy Flakes, Los Angeles Lakers Rebuild

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Faith in Lebron James. That's really it. Without adding Lebron, I'd say this team was another year or two away, but Lebron is good enough to speed up that timeline. Their free agent signings in Rajon Rondo, Lanee Stevenson, Javale Mcgee, and Michael Beasley are questionable but with all of them on one-year deals, they should all be more motivated. These pickups combined with the young talent of Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and Josh Hart, this team screams play making with a lack of three-point shooting. This is a somewhat confusing squad in a tough conference, but they have the best player in the league to rely on.

6. San Antonio Spurs

Krispy Flakes, San Antonio Spurs Rebuild

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The Spurs are simply a perennial playoff team every year. Last year they were the 8th seed without Kawhi Leonard. This year they go into the season without Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard, and Danny Green, instead they will rely on Lamarcus Aldridge and the newly acquired Demar Derozan. Greg Popovich with two all star caliber players is hard to take out of the playoff picture.

7. Minnesota Timberwolves

Krispy Flakes, Minnesota Timberwolves Rebuild

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The Timberwolves are coming off a season in which they snapped their playoff drought, but now they need and should build off. There's some locker room beef as their three alpha personalities in Jimmy Butler, Karl Anthony Towns, and Andrew Wiggins reportedly can't seem to stand each other. Nonetheless, talent is talent and their collection of talent should at least produce consecutive playoff appearances.

8. Portland Trail Blazers

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With the New Orleans Pelicans taking a huge hit by losing the Demarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo in free agency, I believe that if Damian Lillard and CJ MoCollum remain on the team for the entirety of the season, they're capable of sneaking into the playoffs. Their duo alone may not make much noise once they get there, but they can give any team in the West buckets.

Personally, I believe that seed four through eight are a toss up where these teams could make it but in different orders or teams like the Denver Nuggets or who knows even the Phoenix Suns could make a push to be one of the eight teams that get to experience the postseason. The Western Conference definitely is going to be a dogfight this upcoming season and I can't wait to see who makes the cut and who just barely missed the playoffs.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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