Any true NBA fan is anticipating this NBA playoff season like a kid waiting for Santa. This is what we live for and this year's Western Conference race couldn't have been scripted any better had an Oscar winning writer been commissioned to write it.
Everyone has their favorite team and very valid arguments why teams 1 through 8, heck, even 1-9, have a shot to take it all the way. We know their strengths but do we recognize their weaknesses? Let me offer a few key weaknesses for your consideration and see if you can match the team with the best fit. Watch out! More than one might apply to a few teams.
1. Lack of a strong bench. Without this, the starters will wear down before they reach the finish line.
2. Devastating injury to a key player. This one will be too great to overcome.
3. Strong 2 man team but that's it. Who else is going to step up?
4. Too old, too tired, too bad.
5. Too young, too little experience.
6. Too big of a change, too late in the season.
7. Too small.
8. No change by the trade deadline.
9. Not enough D.
Almost all teams can identify with one or two weaknesses but it is nearly impossible to deny that:
1. LA needs better production from their bench. Heaven forbid Bynum and Gasol take longer than expected to return. This would spell doom for the Lakers in the playoffs. For that reason, you could even apply 2 - devastating injury to key player.
2. Houston is great but no Yao, no wow in the playoffs. I just can't see it, as much as I'd like to try.
3. Two man deep. This goes for both Utah and Denver. Williams/Boozer, AI/Melo. Who else will step up on these teams? OK, maybe I'm not giving Korver enough credit but, hello out there.....?
4. Spurs - their March is 5-6 when last March was 9-2 at this point. This is not how they usually finish. Age and fatigue are nipping at their heels. I don't see them finding the strength to pull this off. If anything does them in, it's this.
5. Hornets rock but need time to mature. The playoffs are not for the faint of heart or the new kid on the block.
6. Big=Shaq. Massive style change for the Suns to have to adapt to in such a short period of time. Throw in number 9 (no D) for good measure, though this is improving.
7. Too small? Hello Golden State Warriors. The new Suns, possibly even better (though I think with much less control.) There are too many great Centers in the West to have to play through to take them seriously. If the Suns couldn't pull it off, I don't see how GS does either.
8. As Billy Joel would croon, 'I love you just the way you are" but that's not true for Denver. Artest was knocking. You should have answered.
9. No D? Isn't this why every team fails in the finals? They say DEFENSE wins championships so the only team that comes out on top brought this with them to the dance. That means 7-8 of these teams didn't.
Now, remember folks, I am only pointing out flaws here and not telling you why each will win. We could go on in perpetuity on why each team stands on its own merit which is exactly why this site is so popular. I'm taking that "glass half empty view" in what looks like an otherwise unbelievable crop of teams, all worthy this year of making it through 16 gut-it-out playoff games.