The NBA, for the most part, is very cut and dry. Though every fan would like to think that their team has a shot at winning it all, there are only a handful of teams every year who have a legitimate shot at capturing the title. This holds true even more in the era of Big Threes and Superteams.
The Western Conference is an absolute bear, in that teams have to dig deep and fight to earn their spot in the postseason. Every year, there are a number of "bubble teams" that are not necessarily in the top tier, but they're certainly formidable opponents. That leaves the middle of the pack crowded with several teams competing for just a few spots.
Five teams in the Western Conference, because of their wealth of talent, appear to have playoff positions locked up for next year: the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers.
The Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Hornets have some young talent to work with, but they're still a few seasons away from competing for playoff spots.
I'll break down the other eight teams in the Western Conference and their chances of snatching one of the remaining three playoff spots.