The NBA is a crazy place, and that is why we all love it. The trades, signings, the excitement that it brings is something that no other sport can do. The NBA was struck by many things tonight. In Las Vegas, Zion and R.J. were head to head when an earthquake hit in California and quickly got the summer league game cancelled. Then, around 1:30 this morning, Woj dropped two massive bombs on everybody who was still awake. First, that Kawhi Leonard decided to sign a max deal with the Los Angeles Clippers. This was surprising, being that it was reported that, they were not front runners to land Kawhi and he did not want to go there alone. But, nonetheless the NBA community was going to accept it for what it was. Then, literally two minutes later, another bomb was dropped… Paul George would be joining Kawhi in Los Angeles as the Thunder put together a massive deal with the Clippers. This shocked the NBA world as a whole. The players, broadcasters, and the fans all left speechless at the news. The Los Angeles Clippers, in a matter of minutes, just put together a team good enough to compete and possibly win an NBA title. The whole Western Conference has changed as well as the whole NBA. The West will be completely changed and just became a whole lot more exciting.
9. San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs have been an outstanding team for the past 20 years basically. With an all time coach in Greg Popovich and an all star caliber player in Demar Derozan, this Spurs team is loaded with talent. The problem is that in a very competitive West, they will be competing for a 7 or 8 seed and could very well fall out of the playoffs for the first time in many years
8. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder just traded away an MVP candidate, All-NBA Defensive player, and All-NBA player Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers. Even with that being said, the Thunder still have Russell Westbrook, who won MVP last time he had no other all star on the roster, Steven Adams, and newly acquired Danilo Gallinari. This team is still good and can make the postseason. Although, many NBA executives are expecting Russell Westbrook to be traded very soon, so they could fall to the bottom of the West in the next few days.
7. Portland Trailblazers
The Trailblazers still have the two headed monster in Damian Lillard and C.J. Mccullum. As long as they are together and healthy this Trailblazers team will be in the playoffs and contenders. They also have Nurkic who will be healthy and back ready to play come regular season. They also acquired Nassir Little from the draft and Kent Bazemore from the Hawks. This team can be deadly and can outplay any team in the league. They are a team who can very easily jump to a 3 or 4 seed come playoff time and make a Western Conference Finals, if all goes well.
6. Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors just lost Durant. Klay Thompson is still injured. This immediately will make them fall in the West. Then, they went and surprised everyone and traded for D’Angelo Russell, which immediately made them contenders again. If Klay can come back by playoff time, then a lineup with Curry, Russell, Thompson, and Green would automatically be one of the best in the league and could beat any team in a 7 game series. The Warriors could also make a play at another star player in exchange for D’Angelo Russell as they have made it known, he is not there for the long haul. He was traded for just as an asset they could trade later down the road. If they can find a good package for him, then they could jump to the best team in the league once again.
5. Denver Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets surprised everyone and came away with the 2 seed in the West last season. This season though, Jokic will be better as he is still very young, Jamal Murray and Gary Harris also fall into that category. They are one of the best young teams in the league and are very much a threat to rise in the standings at any given moment. Expect them to be within 10 games of the top seed because this team is only going to get better, especially with Michael Porter Jr. coming off injury for his rookie season. This young team is promising and has incredible potential, and they will be a threat for years to come. Even if this year they do not live up to their potential, this is just one of many seasons they will spend together.
4. Houston Rockets
The Rockets are currently looking to trade for Russell Westbrook. This trade would likely be for Chris Paul, but Westbrook is an upgrade at that position. Although, both Westbrook and James Harden are ball dominant players, Westbrook’s aggressiveness and playmaking could give Harden more open attempts and boost his 3pt and field goal percentage. They would be a deadly duo once again, and they would be contenders if they could get the chemistry right. Westbrook, Harden, and Capela would be a great big 3 and could compete in the West, if injuries do not hold them back again this year.
3. Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz were the 5 seed in the West last year. With Donovan Mitchell’s impressive sophomore year and Rudy Gobert’s outstanding defensive play, they were able to put together a very good season last year. This coming season Mitchell should be even better as he is 23 and a young star already. Gobert will keep up his DPTY performances and be a stopper in the paint, and now, they have added Mike Conley to the mix. Mike Conley may be exactly what the Jazz needed to make them legit contenders. Even though they lost Jae Crowder and Kyle Korver, they also signed Bojan Bogdanovic to start at SF. This Utah team is better than it was last year by a lot and could beat any team in the West.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers and Clippers are the two best teams in the NBA by a mile. They both contain 2 top 10 players in the NBA right now. The Lakers with Lebron and Davis will be unstoppable. They also have a third threat in Kyle Kuzma. This team is can easily take the 1 seed in the West. They can also easily fall out of the 1 seed in the West. They do not have much depth as a team because they were waiting on Kawhi so long. They still do not have a good coach in Luke Walton. Even if Lebron and Davis have MVP like seasons, they will need help from the bench which they do not have. They are obviously a championship contender and can beat any team in the league. If they can get past the Clippers, it is almost a lock at a title for this Lakers team.
1. Los Angeles Clippers
They are above the Lakers for one reason. Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Patrick Beverley, and Montrezl Harrell all have at least one thing in common. They are outstanding defenders. This will be one of the best defensive teams of all time. They will be able to hold any team to under 100 points on any given night. On top of the defense, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are outstanding offensive players. They can drop 30 each any night they step on the court. Once they are off the court, the Clippers also have Lou Williams to come off the bench and can give them 20 points a night. This Clippers team is the best in the NBA and is the best team all around. They are unstoppable offensively. They can stop the best teams with their defense, and then they have a fantastic bench with Lou Williams. This team will be the favorites to win a title next year, and they can do it if injuries do not get in their way. This team is set up for success going into the 2019-2020 NBA season.