NBA Western Conference
Unlike the Eastern Conference the Western Conference is in my opinion wide open. You will see in the betting that The Oklahoma City Thunder are favourites at around even money. However I believe that there are at least three teams that could rival the Thunder in a Western Conference match up. Here are three teams that I think have a good chance of winning the Western Conference.
1. Obviously as already mentioned the Oklahoma City Thunder are the favourites for the Western Conference and they certainly do have a chance. Currently they have the best record in the NBA and with two solid star players in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook they will certainly make an impact in the playoffs. Westbrook and Durant might be the best tandem in the NBA right now; between them they have averaged over 50 points per game, just under 13 rebounds per game and 9 assists per game. Certainly the Thunder will have their supporters and it is easy to see why. As well as having an outstanding duo in Durant and Westbrook the Thunder also boast a remarkable home record of 15-1 with their only loss coming to Portland way back on January 3rd. If the Thunder can finish the Western Conference and obtain home field advantage then obviously with such an outstanding home record they will prove tough to beat at home during the playoffs.
2. As per usual no one is talking about the San Antonio Spurs but they are still there as they usually are in second place in the Western Conference. They have been improving steadily throughout the year and if they can stay healthy they have a real chance of winning the conference. Tony Parker and Tim Duncan lead the way for the Spurs and while Duncan is getting older now at 35 he is still as good as ever, although he is playing less minutes now so many people are not recognising his numbers as being quite as great as they are. Duncan is only playing approximately 28 minutes per game and yet he averages over 14 points per game and over 8.5 rebounds per game. Coach Gregg Popovich is extremely experienced and has taken the decision on a number of occasions to rest his starters; this is in my opinion a wise move as the Spurs are not as young as many NBA teams and it is extremely important that they keep their started healthy and rested.
3. The third team of interest for the Western Conference is the Los Angeles Clippers. At the beginning of the season I thought that the Clippers would have an excellent chance of winning their division and at 11/4 that would have been a nice wager as they are now closer to even money. However they have not preformed quite as well as I had hoped. With a record of just 20-12 it looks like they will be conceding home field advantage in the conference finals and as they are only 8-7 away from home it will prove very difficult to capture a conference title without home field advantage. Having said that, they have two of the best new up and coming stars in Chris Paul and Blake Griffin; from a stamina stand point these two players are young and have a good chance of staying healthy and enduring a tough season. The Clippers have also lost an extremely experienced player in Chauncey Billups who will prove irreplaceable if the Clippers make the playoffs. Billups would have been extremely useful in the playoffs not only because of his experience but also because of his deadly accuracy from three point land. Certainly you would have to think that the loss of Billups has hurt the Clippers chances of making a deep run in the playoffs.
Two other teams that should be watched closely for the remainder of the season are Dallas and the Lakers. These are experienced teams and while this season will prove difficult for some of the older players when it comes to the post season I do expect them to be ready to give it their all if they can avoid injury.