Who exactly is the weak link out West?

Published: December 3, 2011

Las Vegas has recently posted their odds on who will win the 2012 NBA Championship, and not surprisingly, the Miami Heat are the heavy favorites at 2-1. The Lakers, not the defending champion Mavericks, are the Western Conference favorite at 5-1. The teams that have the worst odds (200-to-1) are both out East and that got me to thinking about the relative strength of each conference. After all, teams will play 48 of their 66 games in conference this year, so the strength of your conference can have a huge effect on where you sit at the end of the year.

Now we all know that anything can happen in free agency, and perhaps all the free agents will head east to balance out the conferences. But as it stands there is a sizeable difference in talent right now, especially at the bottom, where you can make a solid case for all 15 teams being playoff contenders out west. Don’t believe me, go ahead and try it. Pick a team, any team.

You wanna start with last year’s worst team, the Timberwolves? A team that embarrassed us two times last season. A team that is loaded with top 5 picks and a new coach who will scrap the triangle and bring in an offense that should fit their personnel perfectly. Is that the team that you want tell me is guaranteed to be in the basement this year? They have the two favorites for Rookie of the Year, and a win-now mentality, driven by the fact that they don’t have their own first round pick in the upcoming draft. A trade of young talent for a guy like Danny Granger or Iggy is not out of the question.

The Sacramento Kings seem like another obvious candidate until you look at their roster and realize that they have some of the most exciting young talent in the game- several of who can easily make “The Leap” this year. Tyreke, Cousins, Buckets, Jimmer all have All-Star potential. Heck, Jason Thompson (a guy Hornets fans were drooling over last year) is their 3rd string PF! Did I aslo mention they are 28 million under the cap?

Golden State? Crazy offensive talent combined with a new defensive minded coaching staff. Phoenix? You wanna bet against Steve Nash? Utah? A killer four man bigs rotation and some unique talent on the wings. Denver? Maybe if they lose everybody and don’t replace any of them.

Point is, there are no Toronto’s, Cleveland’s, Charlotte’s, or Detroit’s out West. There might not even be a Milwaukee or a Washington. Well, I guess there could be one. You know what they say- there’s a crazy person in every group. If you can’t find him, you are him. Without CP3, we might just become that guy in the Western Conference. The real question is: Long term, would that be such a bad thing?


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