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Predictions, Predictions, Predictions everywhere: NBA 2011-2012 Western Conference

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Wizards v/s Thunder 03/14/11

The Thunder are looking to take over the West (Image via Wikipedia)

Here are my predictions for the Western Conference in the NBA:

1. Oklahoma City Thunder – 49-17 (Northwest Division Winner) -The favorite in the Western Conference. The Thunder’s strong play should start on the defensive end with 3 lunchbucket bigs in Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collision and one of the longest and most athletic perimeter rotations in the league with Russell Westbro0k, Thabo Sefolosha, James Harden, and Kevin Durant. They’ll rotate as hard as any team not called the Heat and have the bigs to cover their mistakes. Offensively Kevin Durant has improved his handles and shot creating ability and James Harden looks ready to become a consistent 20 point a game player. Russell Westbrook is Russell Westbrook, some nights dominant, some nights frustrating. The Thunder have as strong “punch you in the mouth” ability at any time offensively as any team not named the Heat, they can turn a 10 point lead into a tied game, or push a tied game to a 10-15 point lead at any time. They’re hungry for the #1 seed and with Dallas’ moves this offseason weakening their team, are the outright favorites in the Western Conference in the regular season and playoffs.

2. San Antonio Spurs – 44-22 (Southwest Division Winner)- Talking about the Spurs has become “boring” after so many years of success. They still have one of the deadliest starting backcourts in the NBA with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili who should collapse the defense and create shots for teammates, the key for any great offense. TJ Ford and Gary Neal provide scoring punch in the backcourt off the bench. Richard Jefferson and Kawhi Leonard provide great fastbreak ability that the Spurs tapped into last year. Leonard may be the key of the team with his perimeter athleticism – One could argue the biggest missing piece for the Spurs recently compared to their glory years has been the absence of Bruce Bowen providing X factor defense on the perimeter.  Up front Tim Duncan still passes the ball well and makes smart if not explosive defensive plays and Dejaun Blair, Tiago Splitter and Matt Bonner provide rebounding, size/post defense and shooting respectively. With an elite backcourt, a smart frontline and a still productive center, they are one of the most complete teams in the league. They won’t beat themselves and will win most of the games they should. It seems like the Spurs don’t have the young legs to compete in the playoffs, but then again, we thought that about the Mavericks last year too. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

December 29, 2011 at 1:44 pm