Community Shootaround: Western Conference Playoff Teams

On Monday, our Community Shootaround discussion focused on 2016’s Eastern Conference playoff teams, as we asked which of those eight clubs is most likely to slide down the standings next season. While the Heat received the most votes, the response was hardly unanimous.

In the Western Conference, however, it seems far more likely that there would be a consensus on which team is in for the biggest slide. The Thunder, after all, lost a perennial MVP candidate in Kevin Durant, and traded a three-team All-Defensive player in Serge Ibaka. The team still has Russell Westbrook on its roster, and was widely lauded for its return in the Ibaka deal, but it’s hard to imagine Oklahoma City as a top-three team and a Conference Finals participant again in the West.

So, as we examine the West’s playoff teams, let’s not focus on which team will slide the most. Instead, let’s discuss which teams’ moves you liked and which ones you didn’t.

The Warriors, of course, made the biggest splash of the offseason when they landed Durant, but is there room for improvement on last year’s 73-win squad, or will it take some time for the team to adjust to its new-look roster?

The Spurs and Clippers have brought back most of their key pieces, but it’s the end of an era in San Antonio, where Tim Duncan has announced his retirement. Adding Pau Gasol to the mix will help, and Duncan had already been surpassed by Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge as the club’s go-to players, but this isn’t the same Spurs team that won a championship just two years ago. As for the Clippers, if their core players stay healthy into the playoffs, there’s still optimism that the team can finally get over the hump, but Chris Paul‘s not getting any younger.

It’s been an eventful summer for the other three Southwest playoffs teams, with the Mavericks bringing in Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut while losing Chandler Parsons and Zaza Pachulia. Parsons ended up with the Grizzlies, who also retained Mike Conley with the largest contract in NBA history. The Rockets, meanwhile, saw Dwight Howard walk in free agency, but landed Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon.

Finally, the Trail Blazers, one of 2015/16’s pleasant surprises, have managed to bring back key restricted free agents like Allen Crabbe and Meyers Leonard, and also made a couple more head-turning moves in free agency, adding Evan Turner and Festus Ezeli on multiyear deals.

So what do you think? Did any of the Western Conference playoff teams besides Golden State and Oklahoma City drastically improve or take a step back this offseason? Or will the storyline in the West next year simply come down to the Thunder losing their best player to the Warriors?

Take to the comments section below to share your opinions on the Warriors, Spurs, Thunder, Clippers, Blazers, Mavs, Grizzlies, and Rockets. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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36 Comments on "Community Shootaround: Western Conference Playoff Teams"

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MT
Member
MT
2 months 11 days ago
No team looked like they did enough to unseat GSW and SAS as the top of the conference… But the Mavs and the Grizzlies seem to be the most improved. The Mavs have one of the best coaches in the league, who took an incredibly porous team into the playoffs last year. Now he has a legitimate center, a solid forward in Barnes, a shooter in Seth Curry, to play with. Not to mention the fact that Wesley Matthews will be another year removed from his Achilles injury. The Grizzlies, similarly, added pieces in free agency and the draft, and… Read more »
johnny G
Member
johnny G
2 months 11 days ago

Yes you are right on that part but the loss of their defensive genius assistant coach Greg Buckner will be felt which will make the Rockets in my mind the most improved team.

Alex (not Pav)
Member
Alex (not Pav)
2 months 11 days ago

I see the TWolves coming around after a few years. The Jazz also have a lot of length and if they can find a person or two to consistently score under duress … they could be another team.

Warriors will most likely get into the Finals unless there’s an injury that derails them.

Rsevenseas
Member
Rsevenseas
2 months 11 days ago

I think the Jazz did the most to fill in the gaps on their team. The added three veterans with 284 games of playoff experience to a team that had a total of 32 games of playoff experience on its roster in 15-16…mostly by Trevor Booker and Shelvin Mack

mathiasak04182000
Member
mathiasak04182000
2 months 11 days ago

Here’s what I got:
1. Warriors
2. Spurs
3. Clippers
4. Mavs
5. Thunder
6. Blazers
7. Grizzlies
8. TWolves

Chris Crouse
Admin
2 months 11 days ago

Twolves being in over the Jazz and Thunder (Russell is still there) is surprising.

JFactor
Member
JFactor
2 months 11 days ago

He has Thunder 5th

Rsevenseas
Member
Rsevenseas
2 months 11 days ago

My picks for the final West standings for 2016-2017

Golden State Warriors
San Antonio Spurs
Los Angeles Clippers
Utah Jazz
Portland Trail Blazers
Memphis Grizzlies
Houston Rockets
Oklahoma City Thunder

New Orleans Pelicans
Dallas Mavericks
Minnesota Timberwolves
Denver Nuggets
Phoenix Suns
Sacramento Kings
Los Angeles Lakers

Griffin03302016
Member
Griffin03302016
2 months 10 days ago

You have Dallas Mavericks out I would put them in

halos101
Member
halos101
2 months 11 days ago

if clippers stay healthy I don’t see a reason they cannot be the 2 seed

mikey
Member
mikey
2 months 11 days ago

Big if. Even then, the Spurs are more likely to take the second seed. Clippers will be a strong third though I think. The rest of the conference after this offseason is all up in the air. Those are definitely the top 3 seeds though.

halos101
Member
halos101
2 months 11 days ago

agree that it’s a big if

JT19
Guest
JT19
2 months 11 days ago

The Spurs still have a better team than the Clippers and it doesn’t help the Clippers that they share a division with the Warriors.

halos101
Member
halos101
2 months 11 days ago

I think we have a better team and I hope we make second round against the Spurs cause I honestly think we could beat them. But I’ve thought the clippers could make wcf before lol

TWolvesFan
Member
TWolvesFan
2 months 10 days ago

I think it’s going to be
Dubs
Spurs
Clippers
Trailblazers
Thunder
Memphis
Mavs
Twolves

Alex
Member
Alex
2 months 11 days ago

Dubs
Spurs
Clippers
Blazers
Grizzlies
Thunder
Mavs
Jazz

Chris
Member
Chris
2 months 11 days ago

Mavs are in a much better situation than they were last season when they were the 6th seed so why anyone would pick them to miss the playoffs is beyond me. People pick them to miss the playoffs every year and they shut them up. Every year.

lakersfan27
Member
lakersfan27
2 months 11 days ago

It wouldn’t surprise me if they missed the playoffs. Dirk is another year older, you don’t really know what you are going to get from Barnes, Bogut has always struggled to stay heathy(especially when given more minutes), their backcourt isn’t anything special. They are well coached and Rick always gets the most out of his players, but the Jazz should be better and the wolves could make a jump with thibs.

johnny G
Member
johnny G
2 months 11 days ago

As a Rockets man I see a very much improved team with addition of D’Antoni and the coup they pulled by hiring defensive minded assistant coach Greg Buckner whom the Rockets stole from a great Grizzlies defensive team the will be big. Also there two 1st round picks from last year that are looking great in Summer League games( Harrell and Sam Decker) and this 3 point shooting kid from Gonzaga undrafted. Even K.J. McDaniels looked awesome. Young bench!

CoachSanders
Member
CoachSanders
2 months 10 days ago

The Rockets got Jeff Bzdelick from the Grizz to be defensive coach. Buckner was already on staff, he just received a promotion.

Edward
Member
Edward
2 months 10 days ago

D cant coach

333ddd1
Member
333ddd1
2 months 11 days ago

Warriors have a major injury and they’d be in trouble. Still a great big 3, but no depth

SeanS
Member
SeanS
2 months 11 days ago

I think the point is if you have 1 injury you still have 3 All Stars. Warriors will be just fine.

halos101
Member
halos101
2 months 10 days ago

if durant went down it it would be the same team as last year without depth, and that would not work with warriors

eggy
Member
eggy
2 months 10 days ago

Thank u for being the only person to agree with me

JT19
Guest
JT19
2 months 10 days ago

Exactly. Most of the Warriors’ success (at least during the regular season) is the depth of their bench. Last season, they could easily go 10-12 deep during any game. They don’t have that same luxury anymore. They could still do something like LeBron’s Heat and Cavs did by alternating their stars with the bench players but they probably won’t have the same luxury of being able to sit their starters in the 4th quarter unless they have a huge lead.

Rsevenseas
Member
Rsevenseas
2 months 10 days ago

Remember GSW has a top 6 “starters” group if you include ZaZa at the C position. And while I think GSW is a bit thin in the bench SG/SF role, the group of Shaun Livingston , David West , Anderson Varejao, Ian Clark , James Mcadoo , and Kevon Looney if he makes the 2nd year improvement plus they seem to like Patrick McCaw is likely a top 10 bench.

Edward
Member
Edward
2 months 10 days ago

Varejello is useless except as a flopper

SeanS
Member
SeanS
2 months 10 days ago

I was referring to the postseason. Any team that loses a star will lose more games, I can’t argue with that. However, I think they are OK sacrificing a few “bench wins” in the regular season for a ring. Last year is a good example. Curry got hurt and they were still good but not good enough. This year if Curry gets hurt in the playoffs, they’ll have 3 all stars including an MVP player to fill in the gaps.

Curry sat out tons of 4th quarters this year, why would it be different next?

JT19
Guest
JT19
2 months 10 days ago

Oh yeah no of course, they’re still fine postseason wise since most teams go 7-9 deep. Was just pointing out that they’re going to have to balance the whole rest vs play thing again but without the benefit of a deep bench.

lakersfan27
Member
lakersfan27
2 months 10 days ago

They are still 9 or 8 deep. Even if they do lose one of the big four they have plenty of guys to step in.

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