NBA Preview: Best of the West to Challenge Cavs in Finals

Eddy Tabakovic
Staff Writer 

The NBA season has officially started and teams have taken the court. Many key moves have been made by teams during the off-season which will have a huge impact on their success. Power rankings will be updated throughout the season and it will show which teams have regressed and progressed. Only time will tell who will stand at the top!

The Cleveland Cavaliers made it to the NBA Finals last season and are the favorite to come out of the East again this year. Photo courtesy of Yahoo images.

The Cleveland Cavaliers made it to the NBA Finals last season and are the favorite to come out of the East again this year. Photo courtesy of Yahoo images.

    The Contenders

  1.   Cleveland Cavaliers
  2.   San Antonio Spurs
  3.   Golden State Warriors
  4.   Houston Rockets
  5.   L.A. Clippers
  6.   Oklahoma City Thunder

The West is just way more talented than the East. In reality, the Cavalers are the clear cut favorites to reach the Finals with such a weak Eastern conference. The West, however, is a different story. The Spurs, Warriors, Rockets, Clippers, and Thunder all have a chance at making it to the Finals. The biggest problem most of these elite teams have is staying healthy. The Warriors proved how important being healthy is last season, winning the championship.

The Upper Level

  1.   Chicago Bulls
  2.   Memphis Grizzlies
  3.   New Orleans Pelicans
  4.   Washington Wizards
  5.   Atlanta Hawks
  6.   Miami Heat
  7.   Indiana Pacers
  8.   Toronto Raptors

You could call this the latter of the East. The Bulls may be the only team to challenge the Cavs for the 1 seed in the East. The Grizzlies have their core 3, but at most times that hasn’t been enough to defeat the upper West. The Pelicans have been hit with injuries, but when you have Anthony Davis (aka the next LeBron) you should do well.  The Wizards had a breakout season last year and look to build on it while the Hawks have regressed a little from the loss of starting small forward DeMarre Carroll. The Heat and Pacers are both getting back their star players in Chris Bosh and Paul George and look to have a better season. The Raptors were swept last season in the 1st round and are not the team everyone believed they could become.

The Uprising

  1.   Milwaukee Bucks
  2.   Utah Jazz
  3.   Dallas Mavericks
  4.   Phoenix Suns
  5.   Brooklyn Nets
  6.   Boston Celtics
  7.   Detroit Pistons

The Bucks are my dark horse in the East. They proved they can play last season, but they are the youngest team in the NBA. The Jazz have a pretty good team this year but injuries have also plagued them as well as the Mavericks who are not healthy. The Suns are too small. They have been known to play with three guards which I don’t see working in the NBA. The Nets need to pray that Brook Lopez can actually stay healthy for more than 30 games in a season. The Celtics are on the rise and I see them moving up as the season goes, same for the Pistons.

The Lower Level

  1.   Portland Trail Blazers
  2.   Denver Nuggets
  3.   New York Knicks
  4.   Sacramento Kings
  5.   Charlotte Hornets
  6.   Orlando Magic

The Trailblazers were absolutely destroyed during the offseason with 4 starters leaving. The Nuggets have a new point guard in Emmanuel Mudiay who looks to be a contender for Rookie of the Year. The Knicks look so much better this season, but I don’t see them moving up much. The Kings have had their problems with their players and look to get on track this year. The Hornets and Magic are both developing teams who are looking to move up in the weak East.

The Steerage

  1.   Minnesota Timberwolves
  2.   L.A Lakers
  3.   Philadelphia 76ers

The Timberwolves, Lakers and 76ers look to develop their young talent and learn as the season goes on. Oh, and by the way, it’s Kobe’s 20th season and he’s still rocking.

 

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