When we asked last week whether the Rockets would earn a spot in the 2014 NBA Finals, only about one in six of you said yes. That's a fairly strong signal that Houston isn't the favorite to come out of the Western Conference, but there doesn't appear to be a consensus on which team is the frontrunner.
Popular betting site Bovada.lv lists Oklahoma City as the team most likely to represent the West in the Finals, with 6-to-1 odds to capture the 2014 title. However, the Thunder have stood relatively pat this summer, while losing their best scorer off the bench (Kevin Martin). As Grantland's Zach Lowe outlined in his latest piece, many of OKC's main competitors in the West look at least as dangerous as they did last season, if not moreso.
Last year's Western champs, the Spurs, should remain a serious contender even as Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili move into their late 30s, having tweaked the edges by adding players like Marco Belinelli and Jeff Pendergraph. Teams like the Clippers and Warriors added key complementary players like J.J. Redick and Andre Iguodala, respectively, and appear to be gaining on the conference's top teams. The Nuggets, having lost Iguodala could take a step back, but the club won 57 games last season, so even a moderate drop-off should leave Denver in the playoff picture. The Grizzlies, who might have the NBA's best defense, also can't be ruled out, especially after earning a spot in the Western Finals this year.
What do you think? Which team do you like to win the West next spring?