The Warriors’ dynasty
Curry and Durant led the Warriors to their fifth consecutive NBA Finals appearance, matching the record for the most in a row set by the Bill Russell led Boston Celtics from 1957 to 1966. They became the first team in NBA history to have won three titles in four years since the 1970–71 Milwaukee Bucks
The rise of the Rockets
In the past few years, the Houston Rockets have become one of the most dominant teams in the NBA. Led by superstar point guard James Harden the Rockets have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the Western Conference
With a high-powered offense that ranks near the top of the league in scoring, the Rockets have been able to outscore opponents on a consistent basis. This has led to success in the regular season as well as in the playoffs. In fact, Houston has been one of the most successful teams in recent years winning the Western conference title in 2018 and reaching the NBA Finals in 2019.
Despite their recent success, the Rockets still have some critics. Some people feel that their style of play is not conducive to long-term success. Additionally, they have yet to win an NBA Championship However, there is no doubt that Houston is a team that must be reckoned with in the Western Conference
The Lakers’ rebuild
After years of struggles, the Lakers are once again a force to be reckoned with in the Western Conference Thanks to a combination of young talent and experienced veterans, the team has put together one of the most complete rosters in recent memory.
With stars like Lebron James and Anthony Davis leading the way, the Lakers are title contenders once again. But they’re not the only team in the West that can make a claim for that title. The Clippers, Nuggets, Jazz, and Rockets all have rosters that are capable of making a deep run in the playoffs.
The Lakers will have their work cut out for them if they want to make it to the NBA Finals But with a roster that is built for success, they have as good a chance as any team in the West to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy at the end of the season.
The Clippers’ window of opportunity
In the 2010’s, the Clippers have been one of the best teams in the NBA. They have made the playoffs 7 times, including 6 straight trips from 2013-2018. They’ve won 3 division titles and have been to the Western Conference Finals twice, in 2012 and 2015. But despite all this success, they have never won an NBA Championship
The window of opportunity for this team is closing rapidly. Their star player Blake Griffin is 28 years old and has already had several serious injuries. He is signed through the 2020-21 season, but it’s unclear how much longer he will be able to play at a high level. The team’s other star player Chris Paul is 32 years old and will be a free agent after next season. It’s very possible that he will leave Los Angeles in search of a championship elsewhere.
The Clippers also have very little financial flexibility moving forward. They are currently over the salary cap and will likely stay over the cap for the next few seasons. This means that they will have a hard time signing impactful free agents or making trades for other star players
If the Clippers want to win an NBA Championship they need to do it soon. Their window of opportunity is closing fast.
The Jazz’s surprise season
The Utah Jazz have been one of the most pleasant surprises in the NBA this season They currently sit at the 4th spot in the Western Conference with a record of 44-28. They are led by their young core of Donovan Mitchell Rudy Gobert and Joe Ingles These 3 players have been All-Stars this season and have been great on both ends of the floor. The Jazz also have a deep bench that has contributed to their success. They are a well-rounded team that has been able to compete with the best teams in the league.
The Thunder’s new Big Three
Though not initially thought of as a “Big Three” when the season started, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook Paul George and Carmelo Anthony have gelled into one of the most dynamic and dangerous trios in the NBA.
All three players are averaging over 20 points per game with Westbrook leading the way at a triple-double friendly 29.8 points, 10.5 assists and 9.9 rebounds per contest. George is second on the team in scoring at 22.1 points per game while also adding 5.6 rebounds and 3 assists per contest. Anthony is rounding out the unit with 21.8 points and 5.9 rebounds per game while playing excellent defense as well.
The Thunder currently sit at third place in the Western Conference with a record of 28-14, only behind the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors With Westbrook, George and Anthony all playing at an All-Star level, it will be interesting to see if they can make a run at dethroning one of those two juggernauts come playoff time.
The Nuggets’ breakout season
Heading into the season, there were plenty of questions surrounding the Nuggets. Could they take the next step after last year’s disappointing playoff exit? Could they fend off the young upstarts in Portland and Sacramento? Would Nikola Jokic make another leap?
Those questions have been answered emphatically. The Nuggets are one of the best teams in the NBA, and they look poised to make a deep playoff run.
Jokic has been nothing short of amazing, averaging 20.5 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 6.9 assists per game He’s one of the best passers in the NBA, and he’s a nightmare matchup for opposing defenses. Jamal Murray has emerged as a star in his own right, averaging 18.5 points per game while shooting over 40 percent from three-point range The Nuggets also have one of the deepest rosters in the NBA, with players like Gary Harris, Paul Millsap, and Will Barton providing valuable contributions off the bench.
The Nuggets have been one of the most pleasant surprises of the season, and they look like a team that could make noise in the playoffs.
The Trail Blazers’ title push
The Portland Trail Blazers have been one of the NBA’s most pleasant surprises this season. After a disappointing 2012-13 campaign, the Blazers have come out of nowhere to challenge for the Western Conference title.
Led by All-Star point guard Damian Lillard Portland has vaulted to the top of the standings thanks to its high-powered offense. The Blazers rank second in the NBA in scoring, and they have shown an ability to score in bunches. They have already posted eight wins of 20 or more points, which is tied for the most in the league.
With Lillard and shooting guard Wesley Matthews leading the way, the Blazers have one of the best backcourts in the NBA. But they also have a dynamic frontcourt duo in Power Forward LaMarcus Aldridge and center Robin Lopez. Aldridge is a two-time All-Star who is averaging 23.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per game while Lopez is one of the best defensive centers in the league.
The Blazers also have plenty of depth, as they have eight players averaging at least 9.0 points per game Swingman Mo Williams has been a great addition off the bench, averaging 11.7 points and 5.6 assists per game while shooting 42 percent from three-point range.
With all of these pieces in place, the Blazers look like a team that is primed for a deep run in this year’s playoffs. They will be a tough out for any team in the West, and they could be raising a banner come June.
The Pelicans’ playoff push
The New Orleans Pelicans are currently in the thick of a playoff push in the Western Conference They are currently sitting in the 8th seed, just half a game back of the 7th seed Portland Trail Blazers Their remaining schedule is not easy, as they have games left against the likes of the Los Angeles Clippers Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz However, if they can manage to squeak into the playoffs, they could be a tough out for any team due to their star power in Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday
The Mavericks’ young core
The Mavericks have a young core that they hope can lead them back to the playoffs. Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis are two of the best players in the Conference, and they are surrounded by a group of talented young players The Mavericks have a lot of potential, and they could be a dangerous team in the playoffs.