NBA Western Conference Playoffs: Predictions for 2011
With the next season months away from even starting, I figured I would try to predict which teams make the 2011 Postseason.
Some teams are going to cut players and some are going to gain players, but it's never too early to guess right?
I'll probably make another one of these later when the season starts.
So let's get started...
Oklahoma City Thunder
With the Oklahoma City Thunder clinching the No. 8 seed last year in the playoffs, some of you might be wondering why they are here.
Well I'll tell you:
The Thunder got the No. 8 seed last year but they are a very young team. They have very young players, all in their early 20s.
Kevin Durant seems to lead their young team and does a great job of it. He was last year's scoring champion and shows a lot of potential or improvement.
It's pretty obvious that Kobe and LeBron are one and two in any order of best players in the league, but what about three and four? I certainly think this is between Kevin Durant Dwyane Wade. Last year D-Wade was No. 3, but I think this year Durant is going to take that from him.
The Thunder also got some good draft picks in Cole Aldrich and others to strengthen their big guys. The one thing they lack they're fixing.
This seems like an easy pick to me and I don't think they're going to be the No. 8 seed next year.
Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups. Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups. It just works.
They have been in the playoffs year after year and this is why.
If they are both playing, this franchise is definitely going to the playoffs.
The Dallas Mavericks seem to be keeping Dirk Nowitzki. They also have Jason Kidd.
Must I say more?
They have two key players and with that alone I think they can get a spot in the playoffs.
With Greg Oden back and Andre Miller, Brandon Roy, and LaMarcus Aldridge all in the starting lineup, this one was a no-brainer.
Oden was struck by injuries last year, but his team still made the playoffs. Brandon Roy is young and shows potential. He can play better this upcoming season than he did last year.
When it's all said and done, don't be surprised when this team is back in the playoffs.
With Yao back in action, their starting lineup, barring any free agent acquisitions, is as follows: PG Aaron Brooks, SG Kevin Martin, SF Trevor Ariza, PF (possibly) Luis Scola, C Yao Ming.
Even without Scola, it's still an impressive lineup.
It's such a good lineup that it's safe to say now that if nobody gets any serious injuries, they're going to the playoffs.
This prediction is semi-safe. They have Mehmet Okur coming back, along with Andrei Kirilenko to join one of the best point guards in the league, Deron Williams. However, Carlos Boozer is gone, so the real question is: How effective was Carlos Boozer to the Utah Jazz?
Well we just have to wait and see.
I believe he won't be that important and the Jazz can make another playoff run.
San Antonio Spurs
They have all their big three returning to the lineup. How exciting is that? Especially after last year's upset to the No. 2 Dallas Mavericks in which they even denied them a game seven.
This team can be good if its key players show good teamwork and get the ball in the post.
In my eyes, if they return to what made them good, they can be a serious competitor in the West.
Los Angeles Lakers
This is probably the safest pick of all. The Lakers just won and aren't really losing anybody this free agency period.
The Lakers seem like a sure bet for the next postseason and even the No. 1 seed.
It wouldn't even seem to outlandish to make a prediction right now that they're going to win it again next season.