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NBA Western Conference: 15 Bold Predictions and Power Rankings

Kevin VestrandContributor IOctober 26, 2010

Kobe Bryant And The Lakers Again Sit Atop The Western Conference.
Kobe Bryant And The Lakers Again Sit Atop The Western Conference.Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Yesterday I covered the Eastern Conference and what I expect to happen as the new NBA season unfolds. Now let's take a look at the West and how the major changes within it this offseason will affect it.

1: Los Angeles Lakers - Come on, you weren't expecting anything else were you? Be on the lookout for rookies Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter to make a bigger impact for the Lakers than initially expected.

2: Dallas Mavericks - Jason Kidd finally shows a sign of old age and loses minutes to both Jason Terry and spark plug Rodrigue Beubois.

3: Oklahoma City Thunder - Russell Westbrook emerges as a top five point guard, James Harden scores a ton off of the bench, and still no one will be able to pronounce Thabo Sefolosha correctly.

Oh, and that Durant kid wins the MVP.

4: Houston Rockets - Chase Budinger becomes everything Adam Morrison was supposed to be. 

5: San Antonio Spurs - The Spurs are headed in the wrong direction fast. Expect a new "big three" soon...to the tune of Hill, Anderson, and Blair. 

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6: Portland Trailblazers - Sam Bowie, oops, I mean Greg Oden, finally plays a full season. The Blazers make the playoffs despite having every small forward in the league on their roster with an extreme lack of depth in the front court. 

7: Los Angeles Clippers - You saw it here first. Eric Gordon, not Blake Griffin, reveals himself as the best young player on the team. Still Griffin wins rookie of the year with a stellar campaign of his own.

8: Utah Jazz - Al Jefferson is a much better, and much less hairy-chested version of Carlos Boozer. Both good things. Deron Williams continues to dominate, making it even more clear he is better than CP3.

9: Denver Nuggets - Get ready, here it is...Carmelo will play for the Nuggets all season, AND sign a contract extension with them.

Extra Note: JR Smith and Chris Anderson open a tattoo shop together and give up basketball.

10: Phoenix Suns - With the golden days well behind them, Steve Nash loses interest and signs a contract with Manchester United.

11: Memphis Grizzlies - Both Mike Conley and O.J. Mayo will find themselves in new cities this year.

12: Golden State Warriors - With Don Nelson gone, the Warriors finally find steady minutes for Anthony Randolph. Then realize he now plays for the Knicks, thus revealing how poorly run their franchise is.

13: Sacramento Kings - Anybody who stands in the way of rookie DeMarcus Cousins is subsequently eaten by the 270 lb man-child. A la the Toronto Raptors mascot.

14: New Orleans Hornets - Chris Paul leaves, Peja Stojakovic continues to disappoint, Marcus Thornton averages 18 points per game—all for a team nobody will be watching.

15: Minnesota Timberwolves - Putting all jokes aside, simply put...the most embarrassingly run team in sports. They have no direction whatsoever.

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