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Eight Teams Bound for The Playoffs From The Western Conference

John DostoyevskyContributor ISeptember 26, 2010

Eight Teams Bound for The Playoffs From The Western Conference

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    The NBA season starts in a couple weeks so it's time to start making predictions. Who will make the playoffs this year. which teams from last year won't, which teams that didn't last year will this year.

    Some people will agree others won't, but here it is. There will be several surprises. I appreciate all comments.

1. LA Lakers

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    The Los Angeles Lakers are a no-brainer, they are the best team in the NBA, that's another debate altogether so I won't get into that, they are the best in the West and that cannot be questioned.

    From the starters to the backups no one can compete. PG Derek Fisher, SG Kobe Bryant, SF Ron Artest, PF Pau Gasol, and center Andrew Bynum. Steve Blake is a good backup PG, Lamar Odom can play SF and PF.

    I could go on, but it's pointless from top to bottom no one can compete. Sure Andrew Bynum will miss games, but that is where the depth comes in.

2. Portland Trailblazers

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    The Trailblazers are a young team and a very good young team, with a few veterans to lead the way.

    The young guns are Brandon Roy, who averaged 21 points last season as well as 4.7 assists and 4.4 rebounds. Lamarcus Aldridge PF averaged 17.9 points, and eight rebounds per game. Finally you have, Greg Oden with 11.1 points per game, 8.5 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks.

    Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum will split time at SF, both are fast and good shooters who will continue to get better. 

    Veteran Joel Przybilla is a very good center as far as defense goes, not so much of a offensive presence you would look for in a center but you cant have everything. Then you have Marcus Camby, another veteran who averages 11.8 rebound, and two blocks he only scores 7.5 points a game, but you're not going to be scoring that many points against him anyway so it doesn't really matter.

    Then you have PG Andre Miller, who averages 14 points and 5.4 assists.

    Like the Lakers, the Blazers are very deep. with several big men who can split time, leaving them with fresh legs. I foresee the Blazers surprising everyone by being the second-best team in the West.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    The Oklahoma City Thunder will finish third in the West, given the fact that they have Kevin Durant, who while not being as good as Kobe or LeBron, but he is good. He can and will lead his team to the third spot in the West with Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green. While Nenad Krstic, Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison, and Cole Aldrich will split time at the PF and center positions

4. Dallas Mavericks

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    The Dallas Mavericks come in fourth place.

    They have a very good team starting with the Dirk Nowitzki, enough said. Shawn Marion, who the Suns should have never traded for Shaq, but Marion is a very good scorer, good rebounder, and an all-around good player.

    Jason Kidd is at PG, but he's not as good as he used to be. However, Kidd is still better than half the point guards out there today. Caron Butler will be starting at an unusual position of SG, while he has been a SF his entire career. Last year, Butler averaged 16.3 points and 6.2 rebounds. Brendan Haywood will be starting at center. Several years ago, we were all talking about how bad Brendan Haywood was, but he has become a stalwart at center as a defensive and rebounding presence.

5. San Antonio Spurs

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The Spurs are no longer as great as they were when they won their championships, but they are very consistent. There are several reasons for their consistency.

    One reason is Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobilj have played together for the past eight years—and over eight years they have developed very good chemistry.

    Richard Jefferson is an addition they made before last year, and they seemed to play together well because Ginobili was injured most of last season. With Ginobili healthy, the Spurs should continue to have a high level of performance. They also have a couple of young players, including DeJuan Blair, who can fill in for the older players such as Duncan.

6. Memphis Grizzlies

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    The Grizzlies have their own Gasol in Pau's younger brother Marc Gasol, who I believe over time will become the better of the two brothers.

    Marc Gasol has a very good low-post presence, as well as being a very good rebounder. Zach Randolph is the PF for the Grizzlies, and he is now averaging a double-double with 20 points and 10-plus rebounds a game. Rudy Gay is the SF, and he averages close to 20 points and five rebounds a game.

    The SG for the Grizzlies is OJ Mayo, who averages 17 points a game. The PG is Mike Conley, who has gotten better each year and will continue to get better as he progresses. Last season, he averaged 12 points and five assists per game. The Grizzlies obviously don't have the depth of the other teams, but that is why they are sixth and not first.

7. Golden State Warriors

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    The Golden State warriors are a young team, whom I project will have a very good year.

    Stephen Curry is an All-Star point guard who knows how to score and make his teammates score. He straight up makes the players around him better.

    Monta Ellis is still young, and he is a prolific scorer, who has deveopled a very good three-point shot.

    Last year, the Warriors' problem was that they didnt have a post presence—but they do now with David Lee. The former Knick averages 20 points and 11 rebounds. Andris Biedrins will be the PF this year to support Lee down low. At SF there is alot to be desired in Dorell Wright.

8. Sacramento Kings

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    The Sacramento Kings, I know what you're thinking but here me out.

    Tyreke Evans is a beast, he averaged 20 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 5.8 assists in his rookie season—the only other players to do that are Michael Jordan and LeBron James.

    Omri Casspi will be better this year, last season last he averaged 10 points, and 4.5 rebounds. Last year, Carl Landry averaged 16.8 points and 5.8 rebounds, splitting time between Houston and Sacramento. This season, Landry will have help from Samuel Dalembert, and first-round pick DeMarcus Cousins, who should step in immediately and produce.

Conclusion

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    1. LA Lakers

    2. Portland Trailblazers

    3. Oklahoma City Thunder

    4. Dallas Mavericks

    5. San Antonio Spurs

    6. Memphis Grizzlies

    7. Golden State Warriors

    8. Sacramento Kings

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