A Closer Look at the Western Conference Standings

Yesterday we took a look at the Eastern Conference standings and today it’s time to go West. Much like the Eastern Conference it feels as if the winner of this one is a foregone conclusion, but unlike the East there are some very interesting teams that could be give them trouble on the way to the Finals.

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The Golden State Warriors are obviously the big story here as they are running an all-time great +11.7 point differential which is actually better than their differential from last season where they won an all-time record 73 games. They were a juggernaut last season, but adding Kevin Durant to the core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green has turned them up another level. There are still questions, but these guys are the favorites for a reason.

Let’s take a closer look at the rest of the playoff picture and see where things stand as we cross the quarter mark of the season.

 

Team Wins Losses GB PPG OPPG DIFF 5Dimes WC Odds
Golden State Warriors 22 4 117.8 106.1 11.7 -230
San Antonio Spurs 20 5 1.5 103.6 97.9 5.7 +500
LA Clippers 19 7 3 109.9 101.1 8.8 +700
Houston Rockets 19 7 3 112.8 105.9 6.9 +3300
Memphis Grizzlies 18 9 4.5 97.4 97.3 0.1 +4000
Utah Jazz 16 10 6 100.8 95.2 5.6 +3300
Oklahoma City Thunder 15 11 7 105.6 104.9 0.7 +2500
Portland Trail Blazers 13 14 9.5 109.8 111.4 -1.7 +5000








Sacramento Kings 9 16 12.5 102.6 104.7 -2.1 +25000
Denver Nuggets 9 16 12.5 105.6 108.8 -3.2 +12500
Los Angeles Lakers 10 18 13 104.4 111.0 -6.6 +17500
Phoenix Suns 8 17 13.5 107.1 113.2 -6.2 +50000
New Orleans Pelicans 8 18 14 102.8 107.0 -4.3 +25000
Minnesota Timberwolves 7 18 14.5 103.7 106.7 -3.0 +37500

Up next, who else? The San Antonio Spurs. This team just gets things done under Greg Poppovich. We’ve seen a leap from Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and the team just keeps on chugging along. While there are age questions here that make you wonder about them in the playoffs, but this team will win games and go deep in the playoffs. We’re yet to see the Spurs and Warriors meet up in the playoffs so it’s hard to say what might happen there. Maybe this will be the year.

The Clippers started this season hot and looked to be ready to finally breakthrough and do something this season, but they’ve somewhat came back to Earth of late and were dominated by the Warriors in a game last week. Chris Paul has been playing at an MVP level and Blake Griffin has done his thing, but the same questions that always haunt this team are there. DeAndre Jordan free throws, the bench, too much complaining and everything else. I simply don’t trust these guys and would need much more long odds than +700 to consider taking them here.

My favorite team on the board is the Houston Rockets at +3300. They have just been scoring at any other worldly level and they could pose a real scary threat to the Warriors in the playoffs. James Harden is probably the MVP and could be the best offensive player in the league right now. The Rockets beat the Warriors 132-127 earlier this year and that is just a preview for what this potential series could be. As of now that would be the second round match-up, but I could see the Rockets going as high as the two seed. They are currently riding an 8-game winning streak.

Memphis will fall back. The Grizzlies lost Mike Conley to injury and Chandler Parsons has been injured as well. While Marc Gasol is a great NBA center, it’s hard to see them hanging around. Much like last year they might have given themselves enough cushion to still make the playoffs, but it might be close.

Another fun team to watch is the Utah Jazz. They’ve had some injury woes, but they are playing with an elite level defensive (#3 defensive rating) and elite offense (#8 offensive rating). They should be making a big run here, they are 8-2 in their last ten, and I could easily see them as a top-4 team in the West. Rudy Gobert is frightening and Gordon Hayward is becoming a superstar. I see them where the Clippers are now in the grand scheme of things, but the lack of playoff experience is a red flag.

Russell Westbrook is doing amazing things in OKC, but I have no idea why this team is +2500, fourth best odds, to win the West. Who are they going to beat in the playoff? Spurs, no. Rockets, no. Utah, no. Warriors, hell no. They may end up having the MVP winner, but they aren’t going anywhere in the playoffs.

The Blazers took a step back this year and the Evan Turner signing has been a disaster thus far, but this is still a good team and they should be holding onto their playoff spot. Damian Lillard is just too good for them to fall that far back. There is always a trade looming with these guys as well and some people think they could move C.J. McCollum in a blockbuster. That’s hard to imagine, but as things are now they aren’t going to do well.

The top 8 in the West is pretty much set and it’s hard to see any of the lower teams managing to leapfrog their way in.

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