While the Eastern Conference seems to be a two or three team race, the Western Conference is pretty wide open as six or seven teams have a realistic chance of advancing to the NBA Finals. Here are my Western Conference predictions.
1. Oklahoma City Thunder
Sam Presti’s blueprint how to build a team from scratch will pay off this season. The franchise has surrounded stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook with enough role players to take this team to a championship level. James Harden will need to continue to emerge as a viable third scorer while Kendrick Perkins must be a true defensive presence in the middle for that to happen though.
2. Dallas Mavericks
The defending champs lost a few key contributors in Tyson Chandler, J.J. Barea, and DeShawn Stevenson but replace them with Lamar Odom, Vince Carter, and Delonte West. I think there will be a bit of championship hangover for the Mavs and they will miss Chandler’s presence in the middle more than expected. If this team finds ...