The NBA is getting more competitive every season. Each season it seems like a new contender appears and puts the rest of the league on notice. Whether it’s a star player signing with a new team or a blockbuster trade, a move can put a team in contention.
The Western Conference has been competitive for quite some time, and with young teams on the rise, the race for the West gets tougher. But who will come out on top?
The Lakers: Championship or Bust
The Lakers had a busy offseason. They picked up a group of veterans, including Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, and Dwight Howard. Last season, the Lakers had injuries that cut their championship chase short. But with their veterans, their playoff push may last a bit longer.
The Lakers have championship aspirations, and their offseason makes them a favorite in the West. But there are other teams to consider.
The Phoenix Suns Are on a Mission
Last season’s NBA Finals were both exciting and unexpected. The Milwaukee Bucks won their first championship in 50 years in a six-game series against the Suns.
Phoenix surprised the league by reaching the Finals. They beat some of the favorites in the West to get to the Finals, and like the Bucks, they could have won a historic championship.
Devin Booker is one of the league’s brightest stars. If there were any doubts, he silenced them last season.
The 24-year-old guard is a scorer who strives to get better. And with him and Chris Paul leading the way, the Suns could take over the West.
Jokic and the Nuggets Aren’t a Joke
The Denver Nuggets had a disappointing playoffs run, as the Suns swept them in the second round. The Nuggets were led by the 2020-21 MVP Nikola Jokic, but injuries to players like Jamal Murray hurt their chances.
If the Nuggets remain healthy, it’s hard to count them out.
The Los Angeles Clippers: The Forgotten Contender
When it comes to the Western Conference, there’s one team that’s always considered a contender. However, they haven’t made it to the Finals. The closest the Clippers have ever been to the Finals was when they made the Western Conference finals last season. The Suns beat them 4-2.
The Clippers have a talented duo in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Both players are threats on both ends of the floor, which makes them a dangerous combo to deal with. But their supporting cast is a different story.
Los Angeles made a few moves in the offseason by re-signing Reggie Jackson and Kawhi Leonard. They also acquired Eric Bledsoe in a trade with the Grizzlies. While Jackson and Bledsoe aren’t blockbuster moves, it’s a start. If the Clippers play well and Leonard is healthy in his return, the Clippers are contenders.
The Western Conference race will be exciting, and while the Lakers are arguably a favorite, the West is up for grabs. Who wants it more?
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