With the NBA All-Star Weekend behind us, it’s time for the teams to make their playoff pushes. Before the deadline, we saw an ample amount of trades which shook up a lot of teams. The drama with Anthony Davis continues as he remains with the New Orleans Pelicans. Davis have stated in an interview that all other 29 teams are on his list as he just wants to move on and win. Whether it was a trade or buyout, quite a few teams in the Western Conference have set themselves up for a championship run. Below will be the Top 5 teams when the playoffs start in April.
Golden State Warriors
The defending 2-time champions didn’t make a move during the tradeline and they didn’t need to. They still have All-Stars Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson in their lineup. DeMarcus Cousins is still acclimated in the lineup and they’re clearly the favorites to become the 3-time world champs. When the regular season comes to an end, the Warriors will probably enter the playoffs with the best record in the West.
The Nuggets have been going back and forth with the Warriors for the top spot all season. Nikola Jokic is a triple-double machine and should be considered as an MVP candidate. The Denver Nuggets didn’t make any moves before the trade deadline. They did see the return of Isaiah Thomas as he made his season debut for the Nuggets and could be huge for them. If Thomas can return to his old ways, Denver will definitely get a spark to this Nuggets team. Denver were blown out by the Warriors earlier in the season and they meet two more times.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder currently are four games behind the Warriors for the top spot. As of now, the Thunder are two games behind Denver for the #2 spot. Oklahoma City have won eight of their last 10 games heading into the All-Star break. Markieff Morris accepted a buyout from the Washington Wizards and signed with the Thunder. The addition of Morris could actually put the Thunder in the second spot by the end of the season. Russell Westbrook continues to be a triple-double machine and he’s deferring to Paul George even more. Speaking of Paul George, he has become an MVP candidate as he’s having one of his best seasons of his career.
The Rockets have been hit the injury bug for most part of the first half of the season. Chris Paul have missed a significant amount of time with his hamstring issues. James Harden have put up Wilt Chamberlain-like numbers. In the month of December, Harden averaged 40 points a game and he continues to put up 30 point a game for 30 games in a row. If the Rockets can get healthy for the second half of the season, they could reach as high as #2. When Clint Capela return, Houston will make another run and the addition of Kenneth Faried will be viable.
The Portland Trailblazers possess one of the best backcourts with Damian Lilard and C.J. McCollum. The Trailblazers received help when Enes Kanter signed with them after being released by the Knicks. Earlier before the trade deadline, Portland picked up Rodney Hood from Cleveland. Enes Kanter and Jusuf Nurkic could be a great frontcourt as the Trailblazers could be a sleeper team. Can the Trailblazers make a run and enter the top-4 before the playoffs start?
Are you excited about the second half of the season? How do you see the Western Conference playing out? Who do you see being the top-5 teams by the end of the season? Leave some feedback below.