Preseason Rankings - Western Conference

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» Fri Oct 12, 2007 4:35 am
Preseason rankings: Western Conference

By Kenny Smith, Yahoo! Sports
October 9, 2007

As teams prepare for the new season, there are some familiar storylines to follow. However, there is also some new intrigue – perhaps enough to surprise us in June when the league champs are crowned.

My preseason rankings reflect potential playoff seeding, but some teams are better built for the regular season (like Dallas). Depth, age and experience all play a part on who dominates the regular season. Here's how I see the West with preseason play getting under way.

1. San Antonio Spurs – They really didn't add much to their team. Why? Because the foreign legion team of Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan is still the best. (Yes, Duncan is from the Virgin Islands, but they're foreign to me!) Depth, youth and experience makes them the blueprint franchise.

2. Phoenix Suns – I know Amare Stoudemire is out for the preseason, but that's no concern. The Suns are primed this year, and here are two things to watch for: 120 points per game (which means championship dreams) or Stoudemire, Grant Hill and Raja Bell in street clothes (that'd mean a lottery nightmare).

3. Dallas Mavericks – Avery Johnson has the challenge of getting rid of the Ghost of Playoff Failures Past. The inability to defend off the dribble and to have a true post-up scorer was exposed for the world to see in the postseason. Personnel changes are in their future.

4. Utah Jazz – They are for real. Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams aren't Malone and Stockton, but they're more like Malone and the new Jason Kidd. These two should take off where they left off in the playoffs.

5. Houston Rockets – The Rockets' biggest problem is chemistry. The questions are as follows: Is Steve Francis healthy or is he a head case? Is Rafer Alston streetball or street? And can Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady coexist?

6. Denver Nuggets – Having Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony for a full season should make Denver the most dangerous team in basketball. If basketball is the only story throughout the year, then look out.

7. Los Angeles Lakers – Kobe will be … well, Kobe. However, this is the year Lamar Odom plays like an All-Star all season and the Lakers take a step closer.

8. Golden State Warriors – The bodyguard Baron Davis and the upstart Warriors are great for the playoffs. But without depth in a lot of areas, they're looking like the eighth-best club in the West.

9. Memphis Grizzlies – They improved their team by adding Mike Conley Jr. However, the best improvement comes from just being healthy. Pau Gasol is arguably the second-best power forward in the West behind Duncan, and don't underestimate Damon Stoudamire's value.

10. New Orleans Hornets – CP3 (aka Chris Paul) needs three more studs to go with him. Tyson Chandler is a beast, but it ends there. The rest of the starters would be better served as being second-unit players.

11. Portland Trail Blazers – No Greg Oden. No playoffs.

12. Los Angeles Clippers – They're baaaaaaaack … to losing, finger pointing and empty seats. With no Elton Brand or Shaun Livingston, the Clippers' future is in street clothes.

13. Sacramento Kings – New coach Reggie Theus has inherited a glimpse of the Sacramento glory days. The Kings will be in dismantling mode by the All-Star break.

14. Minnesota Timberwolves – The words that will become common place are "youthful," "patience" and "next year."

15. Seattle SuperSonics – Too young for success. Kevin Durant will be fun to watch, but it will be difficult to find more than 25 wins.


Reckon the Rockets should be #2 or #3, not less. Rest is pretty right
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Posts: 18315
» Fri Oct 12, 2007 5:04 am
Better than the east rankings. Houston might be a bit higher, but they still have to prove themselves, so it's understandable they're as low as #5. I think we're also better than the Lakers, unless Kobe suddenly focuses on winning and forgets his beef with the Lakers management.

As for the rest of the teams, all of them are arguable, but not out of basis.
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Posts: 5705
» Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:06 am
Rockets over Utah.
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Posts: 1768
» Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:58 pm
stupid ranking....W's should go at least no.4 not 8....
W's is different team now.....not a last year team anymore...

we have some guy can rebound...we have some guy lose 20 pounds
we have a guy who want M.V.P...we have a lot of guy can shoot 3's...
we have the best NBA fans around the league....Yeah BayArea fans are the best....and the last 'we have to pay a lot more to Nellie... :mrgreen: '
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Posts: 3040
» Fri Oct 12, 2007 11:51 pm
pretty safe and conventional wisdom (remember howard dean getting the democratic nomination? more conventionL wisdom).

Ws are definitely ahead of the lakers, and as for depth, the Ws have 10 guys who can legitimately contribute, about as deep as any team...

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