NBA Western Conference: Who Will Be the Odd Man Out

Mike OwensCorrespondent IMarch 22, 2008

With nine teams in playoff contention out in the crazy West, 50 wins could mean a pick in the 2008 lottery.

At this time, Denver is the odd man out in the West. With that, you are looking at a 41-win team missing the playoffs if they started today (for those keeping tabs, that puts them at fourth in the East).

Even crazier is the fact that they only have to go 9-4 the rest of the way and they would crack 50 wins, a number that used to signify playoffs.

While they may be odd man out today, they have been playing very well recently. Denver 4-2 over their last six games, a stretch they could easily have gone 5-1 over if not for their lack of defense. 

Now, with that said, come three or so weeks from now, the Nuggets probably should not be the odd man out. No, that award will belong to the Dallas Mavericks.

Before the frenzy of negative comments start, look at the way they have been playing.

The Mavs lost two games in a row and have not beaten a playoff team since Feb. 4 when they won at Orlando. That’s an 0-10 stretch against playoff teams, including losses to New Jersey and Philadelphia, two games they should win. 

If you look at their upcoming schedule, it is not very kind either. With games coming up against San Antonio, Golden State and Denver this month alone, they could very well be out of the playoffs by the end of the month.

Looking ahead to April, they have five games against playoff teams, as well as a game against a solid Portland team. 

While Denver has a tough schedule to end the season as well, they have at least shown the ability to beat playoff caliber teams. This month the Nuggets have taken out New Jersey, Phoenix and San Antonio. They also lost close games to the 76ers and Spurs.

At this point, you have to be worried if you are a Dallas fan.  

The Mavericks are not playing well and have basically been a .500 team for the last two months.  If they do not get their act together, the playoffs might be an afterthought for them this year, and they might be making plans for an early vacation.