So, while my colleague Steve Danziger is handling the action in the east, I’ll be looking at the weekly action from the other 14 teams in the Western conference. Any questions? No? Ok, then, let’s dig in.
San Antonio Spurs
What else is new, right? Every year, everyone (myself included) thinks the Spurs are finally going to decline because they’re just too dang old, and it never happens. the team is running smoothly as ever, getting an easy win over the hapless Wizards last night. Tim Duncan is putting up numbers that resemble what he did during his heyday, and Manu Ginobili is finally settling after a rough start. No team scares me more than the Spurs right now. If the Grizz were to play them in the playoffs, in would be a very intense series, and it would likely go seven games.
Yes, they lost last night, but the ejection of Andre Iguodala had a lot to do with that. After a rough start, it looks like the Nuggets have finally gotten things together. Ty Lawson is finally starting to shoot better, and Kenneth Faried continues to average a double-double. This team still doesn’t look like the title contenders many made them out to be, but based on their recent improvements, they should make the playoffs once again.
Golden State Warriors
For a long time now, the Warriors have been fun to watch, but not very good. that second part may change this year, as they are off to an impressive 8-6 start. Harrison Barnes might turn out to be the star we thought he could be, as he turned heads with a thoroughly impressive dunk over Nikola Pekovic in a win against Minnesota Saturday night. This team is still struggling defensively, and it won’t reach full power without Andrew Bogut, but a lot of scoring, and strong bench play from Carl Landry – a potential 6th man of the year candidate – have the Warriors looking like a potential playoff team.
Yes, Kevin Love is back, but everyone around him is going down, and this team is really short on players. Luke Ridnour and Malcolm Lee have both gotten major minutes, and have struggled to carry the load. When Rubio comes back, this team could be scary, but for now, they might be asking Love to do a little too much, and their slide in the standings will continue.
Los Angeles Clippers
After a strong start, the Clips have fallen off a bit, dropping a home game to a Hornets team that was missing Anthony Davis last night. The Clippers seem like a team that could run hot and cold all year. CP3 and Blake can be deadly at times, and Jamal Crawford can shoot the lights out like nobody’s business. Unfortunately, there’s not a a whole lot of depth beyond that (Willie Green is in their starting lineup…no, seriously), and the team could struggle when any of their stars have off nights. the sooner Chauncey gets healthy the better, but if he struggles to play at the level he did last year, the Clippers could be in bigger trouble than most people think.
The west is strong enough that those are the only two teams that truly qualify for the “fallin’” section. The Kings and Hornets have bad records, but each are coming off wins, and the Hornets shoudl rack up some victories when Davis rejoins them. It’s a very steady conference, and as the season goes on, the battle for the last playoff seeds should get really intense. Luckily, as long as the Grizzlies keep up their winning ways, they won’t have to worry about any of that.