Western Conference Power Rankings: Pre-Season

Western Conference Power Rankings: Pre-Season

A conference in need of Lakers Rules.

2010 lakers.jpg

More details on the teams in the divisional previews: Northwest, Pacific, Southwest.

Group 1: Legit Conference Champion Contenders
1. L.A. Lakers

Group 2: Legit 'If It Weren't for the Lakers' Teams
2. Dallas Mavericks
3. San Antonio Spurs

Group 3: Legit Playoff Teams
4. Denver Nuggets
5. Portland Trail Blazers
6. Oklahoma City Thunder

Group 4: Playoff Contenders
7. Utah Jazz
8. Houston Rockets
9. Memphis Grizzlies

10. New Orleans Hornets
Group 5: Mediocre-to-Bad Teams That Could Make Noise in the East
11. L.A. Clippers
12. Phoenix Suns
13. Golden State Warriors
14. Sacramento Kings

Group 6: LMAO!
15. Minnesota Timberwolves

There's a world of difference between each group and that gap gets smaller as you go down the list.

Unlike the East, everyone in a Group 1 with the Mavericks and Spurs would not be interchangeable. The Lakers are the only legit title contenders in the West, in a class of their own in the West.

The Mavericks and Spurs look about equal, maybe interchangeable as the season goes on. The Mavericks are more likely to enter Group 1 and the Spurs are more likely to fall, but both could be powerful or irrelevant in the playoffs.

The questions surrounding the fate of Carmelo Anthony are the elephant in the room, but he's still a Nugget. As long as he is, they should stay a step ahead of the Blazers, who of the four deep enough to stay ahead of the Thunder. Every Group 3 team is a legit rung above the ladder of every team in the East's Group 2, placing the Thunder behind the Bulls, just to show the regular season should still play out to display a power tilt in the West's direction -- just less powerful that in recent history. 

Group 4 isn't awful. They're all probably less powerful than the Hawks and Bucks, but miles ahead of the teams contending for the East's #7 and #8 seeds. The Hornets are at the bottom and probably won't make the playoffs, but they should keep things interesting enough to legitimately fight for the #8 seed.

Group 5 would be overachieving to seriously contend for a playoff spot. As bad as the Kings are, with ten teams in front of this bunch and all four teams to break that Axiom of 25, they'll be so close that one or two will seem to be in contention for a spot. The order within this group is basically the team most likely to be that team. The top three in this group are definitely in the same class, if not better, that Group 3.

Group 6 has Darko starting at center.

I won't do these weekly, maybe bi-weekly, more likely monthly.


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