This Saturday, April 15, the top teams in the NBA battle it out in the 2017 NBA Playoffs. The Western Conference, as is often the case in the NBA, is deeper than the Eastern Conference.
All 8 teams in the NBA Western Conference have secured playoffs spots. There won’t be any surprises going into this Saturday when the NBA Playoffs tip-off. See below for a preview of every team in the 2017 NBA Western Conference Playoffs.
2017 NBA Western Conference Playoffs Preview
Top 4 Seeds
1 Golden State Warriors
The Warriors have the best record in the NBA. With only 2 games left, Golden State is ahead of San Antonio by 5 games. The Spurs are going to be the 2-seed. The Warriors are going to be the 1-seed.
It’s almost not fair. Golden State gets Kevin Durant back for the playoffs after leading the NBA not only in record, but also in points scored per game, field goal percentage per game, and field goal percentage allowed per game. Golden State averages 116.2 points, shoots close to 50% from the field, and allows only 43.5% from the field. The Warriors also allow only 32.4% from three.
Like I already wrote, it’s almost not fair.
2 San Antonio Spurs
Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich was so angry at his team for losing 87 to 98 to the L.A. Clippers on April 8, that he made it known that no Spurs players were going to take final 2 regular season of games off.
I like Pop’s strategy. He needs his guys sharp going into Round 1 of the NBA Western Conference Playoffs. The West is ultra-deep. Memphis won’t be an easy out for the Spurs. Plus, San Antonio, like every team, gets at least 2 days of rest before the playoffs start. Pop doesn’t want his guys going into the playoffs cold.
3 Houston Rockets
Look, if James Harden is on your team, you’ll have a shot to win. With that being written, the Rockets have been tremendously bad against the spread in their last 10. They’re 2 and 8 ATS in their last 10. What’s more disturbing? How about going 0 and 7 ATS in their last 7?
Mike Dantoni’s style of basketball works when a point-guard like Steve Nash or The Beard runs the offense. It’s great for the highlight reel. Unfortunately, when it comes to NBA Playoff basketball, you’re dead before you begin if you can’t play defense.
The Rockets allow 109.3 points per game while they average 115.5 points per game. Houston shoots 46.5% from the field. Their opponents shoot 46.2% from the field.
I think Houston could be in trouble in Round 1 this season. This is especially true if they end up playing against Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
4 Utah Jazz
Without George Hill it’s going to be tough for the Jazz to make it past the Clippers in Round 1. But, Utah has something that many teams in the Western Conference don’t have, an awesome defense. The Jazz only give up 96.7 points per game off 44% shooting from the field. That’s incredible.
The Jazz’s stingy defense can take them far in the playoffs. Having a healthy Hill could have taken them further.
Rest of the 8
5 L.A. Clippers
It was supposed to be the Clippers’ season. It hasn’t really turned out that way. If LAC was in the Eastern Conference, they’d be no worse than the 2-seed. Since they play in the Western Conference, they’re a 5-seed.
The Clippers have enough good players to make it to the Western Conference Finals. I don’t believe that they will because, like Washington, the team doesn’t appear to have that player with the killer instinct. It’s not CP3. It’s not Blake. It’s not DeAndre.
6 Oklahoma City Thunder
Man, Russell Westbrook is good! Sure, James Harden can say that “W’s” mean more than triple-doubles. Maybe, he doesn’t know that when Russell gets a triple-double, the Thunder’s chances of winning go up tremendously.
That’s because Westbrook does it all for Oklahoma City. He distributes as well as scores. He rebounds. His teammates feed off his energy.
7 Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies go into the NBA Playoffs cold as ice. Memphis has won a single game in their last 6 as of April 9. They beat the New York Knicks 101 to 88 on April 7. Losing to Oklahoma City 100 to 103 on April 5 wasn’t bad. But, losing 103 to 108 to the L.A. Lakers on April 2 was very bad. Worse was losing to Detroit 90 to 103 on April 9.
It’s hard to fathom Memphis pulling a 7-game series upset over San Antonio in Round 1. The Grizzlies aren’t good enough to beat the mighty Spurs. I think San Antonio has a great shot of sweeping Memphis 4 to 0 once the series between the two teams starts.
8 Portland Trailblazers
The Denver Nuggets had a shot to catch Portland for the 8th and final spot in the 2017 NBA Western Conference Playoffs. The Nuggets are 2 games behind Portland as of April 10. Since there’s no way for Denver to win any tie-breakers with the Trailblazers, the 8-seed belongs to the Blazers.
I believe Portland could win 2 games versus Golden State Warriors in Round 1. Portland is a dangerous squad. The team has two excellent all-star guards in Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. If former Denver back-up center Jusuf Nurkic wasn’t out indefinitely with a broken fibula, I’d say that Portland could push Golden State to 7. But without Nurkic, winning 2 games is the best the Blazers are going to do in the series.
Team to Watch Out For
Oklahoma City Thunder
Russell Westbrook is going to be fired up to prove that he’s better than Kevin Durant. He wants the entire world to know that Oklahoma City did the right thing by allowing Durant to walk, and handing the team over to him.
Say what you want about Westbrook averaging 31.9 points, 10.4 assists, and 10.4 rebounds per game. Call him a ball-hog if you so choose. I won’t because I’ve seen enough of OKC this season to understand exactly what Russell’s doing.
He knows that he’s the leader of this basketball team. He doesn’t hog the basketball. What he does is use his tremendous skills to get yhe other players going. He’s particularly adept at setting up his bigs, Steven Adams and Enes Kanter.
I think with Russell leading the charge, Oklahoma City could make a deep run in the NBA Western Conference Playoffs.
Western Conference Playoff Finals Prediction
Golden State Warriors vs San Antonio Spurs
Yes, the NBA Western Conference is much deeper than the NBA Eastern Conference. But the two best teams in the West, Golden State and San Antonio, are so much better than the other teams in the West that there’s no way for me to predict that either team gets upset in the earlier rounds.
When Golden State meets San Antonio in the Western Conference Finals, it should be an exhilarating contest. On opening day this season, Oct. 25, 2016, San Antonio roughed up the Warriors 129 to 100 at Oracle Arena. The Spurs beat the Warriors 107 to 85 on March 11.
In the third and final game between these two, on March 29, Golden State got its revenge by taking down the Spurs 110 to 98 in San Antonio. Does that mean that Golden State wins the NBA Western Conference Finals when they meet the Spurs?
I don’t think so. San Antonio knows how to shut down Kevin Durant and Steph Curry. Even if the Spurs can’t shut down both of those players, they should be able to at least shut down one of those players.
It won’t be easy, but I think San Antonio turns the tables on Golden State this season. I like the Spurs to win the Western Conference Finals in 7 games.
Winner: San Antonio Spurs in 7 games