The West is wild. I don’t know what is actually going on over there, but heading into the NBA playoffs the Western Conference is something to behold.
While the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics have clearly positioned themselves as favorites to make it out of the East, the West is a complete tossup. Let’s take a look at some of the top teams in the Western Conference and ask the questions about who can make a run to the NBA Finals in 2023.
The Denver Nuggets
Are the Denver Nuggets the best team in the Western Conference, or have they been the healthiest team in the Western Conference? Yes, it feels weird putting the Nuggets and the word “healthy” in the same sentence. Your feelings towards Denver will depend on how much emphasis you put in regular season performances. Also how much faith do you have in a center leading a team to the NBA Finals. We have seen time and time again in recent years, wings and guards have been the recipe to win in the NBA.
The Memphis Grizzlies
The Memphis Grizzlies are young. The first question is, are they too young? The other big question mark with Memphis is their half-court offense. Defensively they have been one of the best teams in the NBA, but at times have struggled on the offensive end. When the game slows down in the playoffs, will Memphis have the scoring punch to hang with the class of the West?
The Kings are just happy to be here. They will not tell you that themselves, but just making the playoffs is an incredible accomplishment for them. Sacramento will be able to score with the best of them in the playoffs, but the question marks are on the defensive end. Also, you could look at their bench and begin to have even more questions. Playoff experience will also come into question for the Kings with Sabonis and Harrison Barnes being the only players with significant playoff experience.
The Phoenix Suns
The Suns very well may be the most talented team in the league, and certainly the most talented starting lineup when healthy. That doesn’t mean they don’t have their own problems as well. You have to question their chemistry, with Kevin Durant just playing a handful of games with his new team. The Suns check almost all the boxes, but with so little time to get adjusted to Phoenix’s style of play, I wonder, “can Kevin Durant make it work?” Durant is one of the best plug and play players in NBA history, but leading Phoenix to the Finals this year would be something we have never seen before.
The Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors have been a disaster all season. Their defense has been atrocious and they have dealt with countless injuries. With that being said, they can still secure a top six seed in the West Conference Playoffs. While the status of Andrew Wiggins is in question, they still have the core that has lead them to 4 NBA Championships. Never underestimate the heart of a champion. While they have not been the team we thought they were going to be, is Golden State a team to be feared this postseason? For any team that has Steph Curry on the roster, the answer to that question is a resounding YES.
The Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers might be the hardest team to judge heading into the 2023 NBA Playoffs. On paper they should be a title contender. They’ve got Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, a proven coach in Tyron Lue, and a solid supporting cast of proven veterans. But they have not been as good as we thought they could be defensively. Additionally, injuries have always been the problem with LA. They will be a tough out in the NBA playoffs no matter what, but will they flame out again like they have in years past?
The Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles has completely revamped the Lakers roster…again. Will it work better this time around? Can we trust them to stay healthy? The good news is they still have LeBron James, Anthony Davis, D’Angelo Russell and a solid supporting cast of young players. The bad news is they have not been able to stay healthy and they do have a lot of younger players who will play significant minutes in the playoffs. The saying used to be, “don’t bet against LeBron James,” but is that now outdated for the NBA playoffs in 2023?
Who will win the West? Let us know your thoughts! Tweet: @WoodwoodSports or comment on your favorite social media platform!
For more content from the author, Jon Kloss, give him a follow on Twitter @jkloss29 and check out his wrestling account on YouTube.
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