The NBA Teams to Watch in the West


Ben Wease, Staff Reporter

With the start of the NBA playoffs quickly approaching on April 15th, there are four teams that everyone should be aware of in the Western Conference, each with an intriguing story line.

Everyone knows that the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs will be making it far in the playoffs, being the top two ranked teams in the West.

Unfortunately, the Golden State Warriors may have just hit an upsetting speed bump two weeks ago on Tuesday night against the Washington Wizards. Within the first two minutes of the game, Kevin Durant suffered a knee injury which was later diagnosed as a grade 2 MCL sprain and a tibial bone bruise.

Durant will be reevaluated in a few weeks, hoping to return before the end of the regular season. The Warriors have already signed veteran forward Matt Barnes for the rest of the season in case Durant’s injury keeps him from returning. However, they are not the only team to be watching closely.

Many people have overlooked the success of the San Antonio Spurs because of the amazing Golden State Warriors. According to FiveThirtyEight, the Spurs have a twenty percent chance of winning the championship, which is fifteen percent better than the defending champs, Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Spurs are sitting comfortably in their second seed position, but it is possible for them to overtake the Warriors, who are leading the West. They are on pace to win sixty four games this season and to also overcome the four game deficit to reach the top seed in the West. The real question is how much does this seeding matter, and is it worth the risk of potentially injuring their starters?

The Utah Jazz and LA Clippers are ranked fourth and fifth in the Western Conference. As a result, they would play each other in the first round of playoffs, and if you look at the previous years of both these teams, the Jazz are just 2-16 against the Clippers since the 2011-12 season. The Clippers are, without question, the favored team in this match up.

With a pretty good season so far, the Utah Jazz will need a healthy Rodney Hood if they are trying to make a run in the playoffs. Hood is the starting shooting guard, and is excellent at breaking down his man and even better at creating shots in crucial situations, which is an excellent talent to have.

Whenever he is out of the lineup, the Jazz do not have a primary scorer on the court to help lead the second rotation of players.

Recently, the Clippers have been playing below average. They started the season out with a bang going 14-2; however, they have recently gone 5-5, bringing them to 40-27 overall. If they want to be a threat in the playoffs they will definitely need to step up their game.

The Clippers still have a chance to prove to everyone that they belong in the championship game. Recently, Chris Paul was cleared to return to the court after undergoing thumb surgery. The return of Paul is exactly what Blake Griffin needs, as both of these superstars have not been on the court together since December. Simply put, the competitive mentality of Chris Paul cannot be understated, as his leadership transforms this entire squad.


What are you looking forward to seeing in the NBA playoffs? Let us know in the comments below.

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