After leading by 35 points at one stage, the Wizards couldn’t even hold on despite being six points ahead with 10 seconds remaining. Commentators calling it the worst loss in franchise history.
The NBA has tipped off again and we’re set for a season of thrilling results in the western conference. But who will take top spot?
Kawhi Leonard will be leading the LA Clippers for the third straight season, but will not be back from injury until late in the year. The Clippers managed to climb further than expected last post season as they came back from 2-0 down twice as they defeated the Jazz and the Mavericks.
This was incredible because they became the first team to come back from two games down twice and win the series in NBA history. At the moment I still believe that LA is still a top dog team in the west but compared the other teams that are looking hot in the west right now, I don’t think they will get too high.
This team depends on one man in my opinion and that man is Paul George. We all know that Kawhi can do his job, but Paul George is the player that needs to do well. When Leonard is hot and he is hot, this team is unstoppable on both sides of the ball, especially offense.
4. Portland Trailblazers
The Portland Trailblazers are heading into the 2021-22 NBA season with a lot to play for in my opinion. Damian Lillard and his men fell to the Nuggets in a six-game series in the first round of last season’s playoffs.
Lillard once again had an outstanding season as he averages 29 points per game along with over seven assists a game. He was able to do this while being around a severely injured team for a high portion of the season.
This man puts in incredible individual efforts every night, no matter whether it’s shooting shots with his eyes closed from the logo or providing indescribable plays for his teammates.
CJ McCollum was a huge absence for this team as he was away for one third of the season and he is crucial for this team as him and Lillard’s duo can be lethal. Their ball play is obviously great, but their chemistry is everything you would wish it to be as a Blazers fan.
Overall if this Portland team can remain healthy all season which is very hard to do when considering their past, they are a dark horse contender without a doubt. As I said before only if they are healthy, this team could be a huge threat in the West, mark my word.
3. Denver Nuggets
The reigning MVP Nikola Jokic will be likely to have another outstanding year as he will partner Jamal Murray in leading this Denver Nuggets team.
The current Nuggets team is one of the best young teams in recent history, however they fell in straight sets to the Phoenix Suns during the second round of the 2021 playoffs.
Nikola Jokic is in my opinion the best passing big man of all time and he has put that on display in recent seasons and the wraps he’s received are well deserved. Jokic was under two assists from averaging a triple double which is insane and is another reason why he deserved MVP last season.
Everyone is always talking about star players like Steph Curry, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, instead I think we need to be talking about this man more as the excellence that he provides for this Nuggets side is so rare.
The X-factor player in this team that could change their outcome of this season is the young up and coming star Michael Porter Junior. MPJ can provide you a quick 12 points in a blink of an eye.
Overall, I think that the Nuggets will have around two to three more years before they can enter the title window, however my expectations will be high for them this season and I believe that they can climb up to the Western Conference finals.
2. Phoenix Suns
Reigning Western Conference champions, the Phoenix Suns are coming off the back of an extremely successful campaign as they came from being a consistent team who missed out on the playoffs, into being two wins away from a championship.
Phoenix were well in control of the finals series as they were leading two games to zero, however the Bucks were able to storm their way back and win four straight games, with Giannis being able to average over 37 points in those four matches.
Veteran Chris Paul looked was playing like his prime self as he was able to improve this team so much and not just better himself but the others around him as well.
Paul was looking so great that for part of the season many had him in the MVP conversation however I can admit I did not but I’m sure many have reasoning why he should have been.
A player that I expect big things from this season is 25-year-old Cameron Johnson who is one of the best young stars in the league.
I believe is on the breach of his prime and this will be a breakout year for him. Johnson is a deadly 3-point threat and is a great role player for Phoenix and I believe that he can step-up this year and play a larger part in their success. Without a doubt, Devin Booker is the Suns top player and when he is in the groove so is the rest of the team. From my point of view Booker is a MVP contender and was underrated last year but I think he will create a lot more noise in the NBA community this season.
Overall, the Suns at their best can certainly knock off the giant teams in the West however their largest challenge is finding a way to defeat the big teams in the East if they make the finals for a second straight time.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
Despite being at the age of 36, LeBron James will have high expectations once again as he leads this talent-filled Los Angeles Lakers team. LA welcome a ringless Russel Westbrook who has completed what many call a big three.
The Lakers are one of the veteran teams in the NBA as their roster is full of many players who are towards the back end of their career and one of these guys is another new signing for them in Avery Bradley.
I really like that the Lakers have recruited Avery as he has many skills in his arsenal including more veteran leadership. The Lakers took on their first test on Wednesday when they took on the Golden State Warriors.
LeBron James looked like his was in his prime as he dropped a 34-point ‘double double’, superstar Anthony Davis was also able to score over 30 points, however these two great performances were not enough to get their first win of the season.
Russell Westbrook was certainly not looking his best, although it is his first match with the yellow and purple men, and I think that overtime this ‘big three’ will mould in and create a near unstoppable team.