On Wednesday, we asked you for your thoughts on what you’ve seen so far this season from the Eastern Conference teams, including whether certain hot and cold starts are for real or whether certain teams are due for course corrections. Today, we’re shifting our focus to the West.
As in the East, there are some early-season results in the Western Conference that don’t come as a real surprise. For instance, the fact that the Timberwolves and Grizzlies are tied for the West’s worst record at 2-5 isn’t a shock — especially since they’ve been missing their respective stars, Karl-Anthony Towns and Ja Morant.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Lakers (6-2) and Clippers (6-3) were considered the class of the conference entering the season, and nothing we’ve seen so far from them suggests that shouldn’t remain the case going forward.
However, both Los Angeles teams currently trail the impressive Suns, whose 6-2 record has made them the No. 1 seed in the conference. Perhaps it’s not a total surprise that Phoenix is off to a hot start after going 8-0 in the bubble, but even those who were bullish on the Suns may not have expected them to look so good so soon, led by new point guard Chris Paul and his backcourt partner Devin Booker.
Outside of those five teams and the 2-4 Rockets – who have been hard to get a handle on due to the James Harden drama and their early COVID-related absences – virtually every other club in the West can be classified as “middle of the pack.”
Four of those teams – the Pelicans, Jazz, Warriors, and Kings – have 4-4 records, while five others – the Nuggets, Mavericks, Spurs, Trail Blazers, and Thunder – are at 3-4.
Some of those clubs entered the season with much higher expectations than others. Denver and Dallas, for instance, likely aren’t thrilled to be tied with Oklahoma City in the standings. But after just seven or eight games, it’s hard to be too concerned or too excited about a record right around .500. The question now will be which of those teams can start pulling away from the pack and which ones begin falling off.
What do you think? What are your early impressions of the Western Conference race based on what you’ve seen so far?
Can the Suns maintain their hot start and vie for home court advantage in the playoffs, or is regression on the way? Do you expect some of those teams hovering around .500 to break away or fall off soon, or do you believe we’ll see many teams engaged in a tight, competitive race in that part of the standings all year long?
Head to the comment section below to share your thoughts!