The Race to One and Done
The Western Conference is interesting to say the least. The Jazz are the 4th seed, the Rockets are back to the 3rd seed, and the Grizzlies are still doing their best Spurs impression by staying relevant. Perhaps the most surprising thing is the fact that there are only 7.5 games between the 8th seed Nuggets and the 15th seed Suns.
Right now every team is as follows: Nuggets, Blazers, Kings, Mavericks, Pelicans, Timberwolves, Lakers, and finally the Suns. I’m aware that this is really between the Nuggets, Blazers, Kings, and Mavericks. It looks like the Suns, Lakers, T-Wolves, and Pelicans will be trying to get a good pick in this year’s stacked draft. So I’m going to make a case for each team on how they can reach the playoffs… and eventually lose to the Warriors.
They just need to improve their road record and continue to play above .500 at home. They are currently 6-4 in their last 10 games, however with the Blazers just a game and a half behind them, they could use a winning streak. They are currently 0-2 against the Warriors and will likely be swept, but it will be good experience for their young guns. Who knows, their big men might be able to win them a game or two.
Trail Blazers 23-31
They need to catch fire like they did last year. I’m not sure where or who sparks this team, but with Dame and CJ they have the firepower to go on a stretch of winning games. They are currently 5-5 in their last 10 games, and that won’t get it done. They need a spark from somewhere, and they will need the Nuggets to slip. Once they get in the playoffs, they could give the Warriors a good series, but I still think they will be one and done. They lost all four meetings with the Warriors this year, and I don’t expect much to change.
Sigh… They need to get Boogie into the playoffs at least once in his career, but also they need more talent from the draft. The Kings are also 5-5 in their last 10, but with Rudy Gay out for the season I don’t see much hope. 2017-18 season should be their playoff goal. I will say a playoff series of Cousins vs. Green would be the best Christmas present I could ever ask for.
This is the surprise team that I can see snagging the 8th seed. They are 7-3 in their last 10 games, if they can keep this up and then give Dirk some rest at the All-Star game, they can really make some noise. They are currently 0-2 against the Warriors. So this will also be a one and done playoff run, but who doesn’t want to see Bogut and Barnes go up against their old team. Barnes vs. KD will be fun to watch, I mean KD will win the match up, but it will be fun.
***Disclosure this was written on 2/10/17***