(Predicted order of finish)
1. Oklahoma City Thunder
The good news is that even though Kevin Durant decided to take his talents to the Bay area, we still think that the Thunder are going to be one of the top teams in the Western Conference.
The bad news is that with KD out of the way, Russell Westbrook may just shoot every single shot for this team for the entire season.
2. Utah Jazz
The Jazz are a very young talented group, that could actually make a push for the playoffs. if they can stay healthy.
Last season, they lost Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, and Alec Burks for a number of games.
Of course they did also allow Kobe Bryant to go for 60 in the final game of the season.
So if they see a bunch of old guys, way past their prime, they may not fare so well.
That’s really bad news if they run into San Antonio or the Clippers.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves
Yes they are young, but this group has talent, and could be good for years to come.
Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, Ricky Rubio, and Zach Levine are a nucleus that could contend in the very near future. And now with the addition of head coach Tom Thibodeau we know this group will learn how to work at an elite level.
And also, that they will constantly be suffering from season long nagging injuries.
4. Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers surprised everyone last year going 44-38, making the playoffs, and actually testing the Warriors in the first round.
And they picked up Festus Ezeli, in the offseason to beef up their frontcourt, which was a weakness at times last year.
So now if things go really well, they just might be able to…well…make the playoffs and maybe test the Warriors in the first round again.
5. Denver Nuggets
It isn’t that we hate what the Nuggets are doing.
They are putting together some good young talent like Emmanuel Mudiay, Gary Harris, and Jamal Murray with experienced veterans Kenneth Faried and Danilo Gallinari.
It is just that there isn’t much room in the Western Conference for them to move up.
But if it makes them feel any better, we think they could be like a No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference.
So there’s that.