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Predicting the top 8 Western Conference teams

In this article, we look at the NBA Power rankings for the Western Conference teams for the upcoming 2020-21 NBA season. With current NBA champions LA Lakers expected to rest both Anthony Davis and Lebron James through the regular season to ensure they are fresh for the playoffs, the top spots in the Western Conference for the NBA 2020-21 season might see multiple surprises.

Moreover, with multiple teams expected to fight for the bottom two playoffs spots, the play-in tournament that has been instituted for the second year running will also have quite a few legitimate contenders in the Western Conference. You can look at our NBA Power Rankings for the upcoming 2020-21 season below.

NBA Power Rankings: Predicted outcome of the Western Conference race

With multiple teams such as LA Lakers, LA Clippers and Denver Nuggets expected to compete for the top spot, it is the Nuggets’ depth in their team roster which might end up deciding the final regular season table for the Western Conference. LA Clippers might just hold on to the 2nd spot that they finished in last season.

1.    Denver Nuggets

2019-20 season: 46-27, 3rd in the West

2020-21 Prediction: 52-20

The Denver Nuggets will be looking at Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray to register consistent performances throughout the regular season. The Nuggets have lost their best defender Jeremi Grant, but have responded with the acquisitions of JayMychal Green and RJ Hampton.

With the vast depth in the form of players such as Gary Harris, Paul Millsap, Will Barton Jr. and even 29-year-old rookie Facundo Campazzo to count on, the Nuggets have enough firepower to go on and top the Western Conference in the upcoming 2020-21 NBA season.

2.    LA Clippers

2019-20 season: 49-23, 2nd in the West

2020-21 Prediction: 50-22

NBA superstar Kawhi Leonard, along with a fully-fit Paul George and a supporting cast of Marcus Morris, Louis Williams, Ivica Zubac and Patrick Beverley make the Clippers one of the biggest title contenders form the West.

Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers

Kawhi Leonard, as we have seen, is perfectly capable of leading a team to the championship, and he has been reunited with former teammate Serge Ibaka to make give enough reason for LA Clippers’ to have high expectations from the NBA 2020-21 season.

3.    LA Lakers

2019-20 season: 1st in the West

2020-21 season Prediction: 49-23

Well, the LA Lakers are perhaps the biggest title contenders, and the only reason they are not expected to finish at the top of the Western Conference is because both Anthony Davis and LeBron James are expected to rest during different parts of the regular season. This in turn has given the other top teams in the Western conference an opportunity to pip the Lakers to the top spots.

However, the LA Lakers have a better roster than they did last season, with the addition of Dennis Schroeder, Montrezl Harrell, Marc Gasol and Wes Matthews. Moreover, the emergence of Talen Horton-Tucker means that both AD and LeBron can actually get some rest and stay fresh for the playoffs without having to worry about the Laker’s chances of making the playoffs.

4.    Dallas Mavericks

2019-20 season: 43-32 7th in the West

2020-21 season Prediction: 46-26

Statistically, the Dallas Mavericks had the best ever offensive rating in the 2019-20 NBA season. However, there were issues with their defense, something that they have sought to solve with the acquisitions of Josh Richardson and James Johnson.

For the 2020-21 NBA season, the Mavericks will once again be looking at Luka Dončić to lead the team to success. Dončić is expected to be a strong contender for the MVP title this time around, and with an improved defense the Mavericks might as well end up making a deep run into the playoffs.

5.    Portland Trailblazers

2019-20 season: 35-39 7th in the West

2020-21 season Prediction: – 42-30

The Portland Trailblazers had a injury ravaged run in the regular season last year, and have responded with some key acquisitions in different areas. This time around, the star duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum have players such as Robert Covington, Derrick Jones Jr Enes Kanter and Rodney Hood to count on.

Portland Trail Blazers v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game Four
Portland Trail Blazers v Oklahoma City Thunder – Game Four

Add NBA veteran and 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony to the mix and the Portland Trailblazers will be expecting an easier run past the regular season this time around. The Portland Trailblazers are an excellent team on paper, and will be looking to compete for the top spots in a very competitive Western Conference.

6.    Houston Rockets

2019-20 season: 44-28 4th in the West

2020-21 season Prediction: – 40-32

Despite the cloud of uncertainty surrounding the future of James Harden, the Houston Rockets had a successful preseason, winning three out of their four games. Moreover, with the addition of John Wall, and the fact that he was previously college teammates with a certain DeMarcus Cousins, means that the Houston Rockets have plenty of players to count on, even in Harden’s absence.

Add to that the recent acquisition of Christian Wood who had impressed in his previous season with the Detroit Pistons, even a Harden-less Rockets have the tools to make the playoffs rather comfortably. In case James Harden can still be convinced to stay (or just stays), Houston Rockets might go on and surprise everyone by finishing higher than what we have predicted.

7.    Utah Jazz

2019-20 season: 44-28, 6th in the West

2020-21 season Prediction: – 40-32

After becoming one of the victims of the Denver Nuggets’ spirited run in the playoffs during the 2019-20 NBA season, Utah Jazz will be looking to go on a spirited playoff run of their own this time around. Explosive shooting guard Donovan Mitchell is no doubt the pick of the roster, they will be looking at Rudy Gobert and Bojan Bogdanovic to lead the team to a decent playoffs run.

Denver Nuggets v Utah Jazz - Game Six
Denver Nuggets v Utah Jazz – Game Six

This time around, the Utah Jazz has a balanced roster with ample depth in the form of players such as Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson and Joe Ingles and Royce O’Neale. Needles to say, while they might not be able to match their 6th placed finish in the Western conference as during the 2019-20 NBA season, a good run past the regular season is not beyond them.

8.    Phoenix Suns

2019-20 season: 34-39, 10th in the West

2020-21 season Prediction: – 39-34

The Phoenix Suns had displayed excellent form towards the end of the 2019-20 NBA season, This time around, they will be looking to continue in the same vein and sneak their way into the NBA playoffs via the play-in tournament.

With a young core led by Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton, the addition of Chris Paul in addition to the acquisitions of Jae Crowder, Damian Jones, Langston Galloway have given them enough tools to just make their way into the playoffs in a crowded NBA Western Conference that has more contenders than playoff spots.

Published 22 Dec 2020, 00:02 IST

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