Community Shootaround: Western Conference Playoffs

Entering the New Year, there’s a clear separation between the haves and have-nots in the Western Conference. Six teams have 22 or more wins while eight teams are at least six games under the .500 mark.

Regardless of that disparity, eight teams have to make the playoffs and the last two spots are up for grabs. The surprising Thunder currently hold the No. 7 spot with an 20-15 record. However, this was supposed to be a rebuilding season after they traded stars Russell Westbrook and Paul George. It’s fair to wonder if they can sustain their success with a guard-oriented offense and a prime trade candidate in wing Danilo Gallinari, who has an expiring contract.

Outside of the Warriors, any of the West teams with losing records could make a playoff push. The Spurs, who have the eighth-best record at the moment despite their 14-20 record, can rely on the veteran duo of LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan and the coaching wizardry of Gregg Popovich.

The Trail Blazers’ season has been a head-scratcher but they were only a half-game behind San Antonio entering Monday’s action.  They’re due for a hot streak as long as Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum stay healthy.

Suns center Deandre Ayton has finished out his suspension and they have a formidable backcourt duo in Ricky Rubio and Devin Booker. It seemed unrealistic to think the young Grizzlies can finish in the top eight but they have caught fire during their current trip and they do possess the likely Rookie of the Year in Ja Morant.

The Pelicans are starting to heat up after a woeful start and Zion Williamson is expected to debut this month. The Timberwolves need to get Karl-Anthony Towns healthy and focused but he’s capable of leading a turnaround. The Kings have been a huge disappointment but there’s too much talent on their roster to count them out, especially with De’Aaron Fox back in action.

That leads us to our question of the day: Which teams will claim the last two playoff spots in the Western Conference? 

Please take to the comments section to weigh in on this topic. We look forward to your input.

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9 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: Western Conference Playoffs

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      The Blazers are only a playoff team with a healthy Nurkic, and even if he returns before April it’s extremely unlikely he will get in game shape quickly enough to give them the help they desperately need.

  1. San Antonio and Portland.

    OKC will sell off at deadline, Pelicans too young and love being 2nd rate (Gentry sucks,) Blazers battle tested vets who have been there.

  2. Warriors are tanking for a lotto pick. All 4 allstars sits. Play 3 G league players tonight. That is tanking for a draft pick.

    • Do you think Klay Thompson should have played tonight? You think Steph Curry should have played tonight? Okay maybe Draymond Green but he’s played every game since December 13th. They gave him a night off.

      Sure they’re tanking but tonight is not an indication and actually they are doing it the right way. Well, Actually there’s nothing they can do about it.. it’s just how the cookie crumbles this year… Fortuitously

  3. If I had to bet, I would say Portland and S.A.

    However, the nihilist in me would like to see Zion come back, play great, and sneak into the playoffs. The get swept, Zion gets hurt again, they whiff with the 15th pick, and the cycle of mediocrity continues.

  4. Otogar

    Even if they sell Gallinari, CP3, Shai and Adams form a good core. The last spot will go to either Portland or SA… but one thing we’ve learnt in the last 20+ year’s is you don’t bet against the Spurs making the playoffs. OKC and SA.

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