I play the fanalyst, who brings some common sense to ranking the Western Conference teams, while @Mia_Heat_Index is the fan that brings the slander. I am a Denver Nuggets blogger from the Mile High and MHI is an East coast blogger who is infatuated with his Miami Heat. You can find the Eastern Conference rankings HERE.
1. San Antonio Spurs: Yes, they lost to a Kobe-less Lakers, but they are a strong unit. Even old man Duncan is still ticking as he had a 28/12 game, in a win, against the Grizzlies. If this team stays healthy, beautiful things may just happen.
MHI: There’s nothing beautiful about watching the Spurs’ old men & reserves play in the Finals.
2. OKC Thunder: They lost to the Clippers this week, but this is still a powerful team in the West. One that is still favored to take the West. More importantly, when they win, they do it convincingly.
MHI: If OKC doesn’t win the West, then Kevin Durant’s MVP case gets shaky. If the Thunder don’t finish with a better record than the HEAT, then it belongs to LeBron James.
3. L.A. Lakers - Even without Kobe, this team can win. They have been able to beat the Spurs and the Nuggets this week. MWP was able to find his offensive flow against the Spurs and El DeBarge against the Nuggets. Even with Bynum and his “antics,” he is proving to be fundamental with Kobe sitting out (30 rebounds vs Spurs).
MHI: The Hornets beat the Nuggets, so of course the Lakers can beat them without Kobe. That’s a terrible barometer. Here’s a better one: the Lakers’ efficiency ranks 4th in the West once you adjust for strength of schedule.
4. L.A. Clippers: The lockerroom must be fine now, because the Paul and Blake show are going full throttle.
MHI: No slander for the Clippers this week? Mo Williams’ heart is healed: http://mobile.twitter.com/mowilliams/status/80117423327551488.
5. Memphis Grizzlies: They did lose to the Spurs, but their defense is scary – GRIZZLY scary.
MHI: Yeah, scary enough to lose to the Clippers in the 1st round of the playoffs.
6. Dallas Mavericks: The Mavericks do suck, but they unloaded Odom …finally, so they deserve this spot on dealing with that Lam Lam drama alone. (Oh, and because the bottom 3 suck …… horribly).
MHI: The Mavs deserve this spot because the rest of the West sucks. And why the fuck does ESPN keep broadcasting these Mavs-Blazers games like it’s the 2011 playoffs?
7. Denver Nuggets: They lost to the Lakers, beat the Wolves/Suns …. so they are barely hanging on.
MHI: Mark Kiszla from the Denver Post said it best, “Denver is not playoff-worthy.” The Jazz play 4 of their last 6 games at home while the Nuggets play 4 of their last 7 on the road.
8. Houston Rockets: They lost to the Suns, but a back-to-back with Denver should be more telling of possible bracket situations.
MHI: Their loss to the Suns Friday night was the beginning of the end for the most mediocre starting five with a winning record in the West.