NBA Western Conference Contenders

Taylor LunemannCorrespondent INovember 5, 2008


Well the NBA season is officially underway and it is set to be an exciting and competitive season in the Western Conference. Many of the same teams are expected to contend for the championship, while others are looking as though they are dropping off. I will put my two cents into what I expect from this conference this year.

            I will start off with the favorites this year, the Los Angeles Lakers. This season will depend on how well their young center Andrew Bynum has progressed. If he has become a force to be reckoned with, then the Lakers have a very good shot at the playoffs. Their biggest weaknesses is Derek Fisher’s age and lack of ability to be a true point guard in the NBA, and the fact that they start Vladimir Radmonovic. I really question why they would possibly start him as his number one joy in life is injuring himself while snowboarding. Not to mention he is quite terrible and there are far better options on the bench, such as Lamar Odom. The Lakers also possess arguably the best offensive threat in the NBA in Kobe Bryant, which is never a bad thing to have on a team. Pau Gasol needs to improve off of his performance after being traded last year, as he is seven feet tall and can barely dunk. As embarrassing as that is, it is even more embarrassing for Sasha Vujacic, who just recently moved out of his mom’s house, and he his name is simply Sasha, come on now.

            The New Orleans Hornets are definitely a great team this year as they came out of nowhere last year. Chris Paul is one of the best point guards in the league and opens up many shots for every player on this team. The Hornets might need to find some more depth, they brought in James Posey, who is randomly good, but they are starting Mo-Pete. They also need to drop Mike James because he is terrible, either that or Chris Paul should just play forty-eight minutes a game. Their biggest problem is their lack of depth, which might end up being their downfall.

            I guess I have to throw in the Utah Jazz into the mix for contenders, although they play in a division in which every team is terrible with the exception of Portland. So making the playoffs will be no problem for them. Their team is not the greatest, but they have a ton of average players around Deron Williams, who is a good point guard when he is not injured. Ultimately, I do not believe the Jazz can compete with their two best players on the bench are Brevin Knight and Kyle Korver. They need to find some real depth, not just wannabes.  

            Another team that is looking to be pretty good this year is the Phoenix Suns. Amare Stoudemire is an absolute stud, and if Steve Nash and him can feed off each other, they will have some success in this conference. They have some big problems with the other three players on the team, Raja Bell only prides himself on hustle, does not possess any real talent, Shaq is about forty-five years old, and Matt Barnes only shoots threes. They have some talent on the bench with Leandro Barbosa, regardless of his terrible shot form, Grant Hill, assuming he plays more than his average fifteen games a year, and Boris Diaw, who dominates and is even capable of triple-doubles when he actually plays. It is a solid team, but other teams know Steve Nash is terrible at defense, and can get easy matchups against him.
            Finally, I will briefly talk about three teams that have fallen off the radar. The San Antonio Spurs finally realized they have an average age of thirty five, and came back down to earth. The Golden State Warriors traded away their best player, and are trying to become less thug, which does not benefit them. And the Dallas Mavericks are set to be extremely average at best, with the players they have, Jason Kidd is good, but clearly past his prime, Dirk fades on wide open jumpers, and Josh Howard just thinks he is way too cool for his own good.

            So when you are looking to have a nice night in and watch some NBA, I beg of you, do not waste your time by watching our Minnesota franchise, it will only end in disappointment, If you feel the need to be entertained, please, just watch the Lakers or Hornets, they are good teams that are actually fun to watch. And what is the best part of all when watching other teams? They do not pride themselves on having Mark Madsen on their roster.