With the rousing success of my previous article "Top benches in the Eastern Conference" naturally a Western Conference had to have been done. As with the previous article this is only based on the West and NOT THE NBA on a whole.
With several contenders so close to each other and are often a simple injury from being an afterthought in the race to become NBA Champion. Today I would like to look at some of the stronger benches in the Western Conference. While im sure some will disagree or debate the placing of certain teams, the overall fact is that all of these teams have excellent coaches, staff, and management that have made it all possible. A good bench is often the difference in going from the first-round to the Conference Finals. Without further ado I present the top 5 Western Conference Benches.
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GM Kevin Pritchard has assembled a very scary collection of players via the draft and shrewd trading. What doesn’t Portland have? They have three additional players Outlaw, Blayless, and Oden who would start on many other teams in the NBA. International players Rudy Fernandez, and Nicholas Batum add defense and the flair for the dramatic when they play. Adding Steve Blake to a very capable bench gives the Blazers two solid units that can contend with anybody especially if Oden remains healthy. Mostly I am extremely impressed with the team unity that is displayed for the viewing public. These players genuinely seem to like playing with each other and for coach McMillian. In today’s NBA chemistry is a huge plus, and very underrated
Dallas apparently has gone out and attempted to get all the 'marquee' talent available. By signing Tim Thomas, Shawn Marion, Drew Gooden and adding to Jason Terry, and Jose Barea the Mavericks have added to an already dangerous nucleus. While I am not convinced that they will make it to the NBA Finals it will not be because they lack depth, or experience as they have both traits in abundance throughout their roster at every position.
The defending champions scored a huge coup in bringing Lamar Odom back to Tinseltown. The Lakers may not have needed him to repeat but their chances have greatly increased with his re-signing. The Lakers are in need of a backup point guard as Jordan Farmer has greatly regressed. Shannon Brown may be asked to take up a larger role in the rotation. Luke Walton does all the little things well, and Sasha Vujacic may learn how to shoot, hopefully soon. No comment is required for Adam Morrison as anything he is able to provide will be a bonus to this team.
The Spurs have a extensive history of signing older players and using them to fill out their bench. This year Jefferson trade aside, the Spurs have some hope in their two very promising draft picks DeJaun Blair, and Dionte Christmas. These two rookies in addition to George Hill who is starting to justify his questionable draft selection, Theo Ratiff, Roger Mason, Antonio McDyess, Matt Bonner, and Michael Finley give the Spurs a bench that can limit the wear and tear on Parker, Duncan and Ginobili so that they can be ‘fresher’ come playoff time.
While there is a concern as to the status of T-Mac and Yao’s career status the Houston bench showed their mettle in the series with the Lakers last year. A bunch of lesser-names pulled together and put a bit of a scare into the eventual champions. Kyle Lowery, Brent Barry, Brian Cook, Joey Dorsey, Carl Landry and Chuck Hayes are role players that understand their roles and execute them well. As long as Rick Aldleman is coaching that team any of the aforementioned players will be able to seamlessly transition in and out of starting roles and maintain excellent production.