NBA

NBA Season Preview And Tips With BetRivers – Part 2- Western Conference

Welcome to the second of our two-part look ahead to the new NBA Season, and in this article, we are going to be focusing on the three divisions that make up the Western Conference.

This division features a number of big Californian teams including the Lakers, Warriors and Clippers, as well as the Jazz and Suns, two teams that had the best regular season records last year. It also boasts the current NBA MVP in Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic.

As in the previous article, any odds shown in this article were correct with BetRivers Sportsbook at the time of writing, although they may have changed since as teams start to get into the rhythm of the new season.

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Let’s now take a look at the three divisions that make up the Western Conference before we give you our predictions for how things will shake up over the course of the season.

Last season’s regular season record is shown in brackets next to the team listed in each division below.

Western Conference Teams

Northwest Division

  1. Utah Jazz (52-20)
  2. Denver Nuggets (47-25)
  3. Portland Trail Blazers (42-30)
  4. Minnesota Timberwolves (23-49)
  5. Oklahoma City Thunder (22-50)

The Jazz and Nuggets will likely contest this tight division and I think it may be a close run thing between these three teams and the Trail Blazers. I can’t see either the Timberwolves or the Thunder improving greatly this season.

Divisional Winners – Utah Jazz

Pacific Division

  1. Phoenix Suns (51-21)
  2. Los Angeles Clippers (47-25)
  3. Los Angeles Lakers (42-30)
  4. Golden State Warriors (39-33)
  5. Sacramento Kings (31-41)

Without doubt the jewel in the crown of the Western Conference, the Pacific division is stacked with star talent, which means it is going to be tough for the Kings once again. I think the new look Lakers with Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony now alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis will take the win, with the Suns and Warriors pushing them hardm while the Clippers I think will drop off the pace.

Divisional Winners – Los Angeles Lakers

Southwest Division

  1. Dallas Mavericks (42-30)
  2. Memphis Grizzlies (38-34)
  3. San Antonio Spurs (33-39)
  4. New Orleans Pelicans (31-41)
  5. Houston Rockets (17-55)

Apart from Houston this was a closely fought division last year. I can’t see the Rockets making too big of an impression here but they will improve on last season. I think the Pelicans may struggle though while I think the Spurs and Grizzlies in particular will surprise a few. The Mavs for me are the pick not just in this division, but also with a chance of leading the conference come the end of the regular season.

Divisional Winners – Dallas Mavericks

Western Conference Finishing Position Predictions

  1. Dallas Mavericks
  2. Utah Jazz
  3. Los Angeles Lakers
  4. Memphis Grizzlies
  5. Phoenix Suns
  6. Golden State Warriors
  7. Denver Nuggets (Play In)
  8. Portland Trail Blazers (Play In)
  9. San Antonio Spurs (Play In)
  10. Los Angeles Clippers (Play In)
  11. New Orleans Pelicans
  12. Sacramento Kings
  13. Houston Rockets
  14. Minnesota Timberwolves
  15. Oklahoma City Thunder

Western Conference Picks

  • Best Player? – Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks)

The immensely talented Doncic has been a star man for Dallas for a good while now and he showed last year that he has the skill to be a dominant player in this division. I think he was close to being NBA MVP last season, but I think this year will be a great chance for him to land that award and he will certainly be the best player in the Western Conference.

  • Best Rookie – Jalen Green (Houston Rockets)

The Rockets have little to lose at the moment and with the John Wall situation, things aren’t ideal for Green. However, the rookie has one of the most impressive skill-sets of all this years draft class and he can come into the Rockets team quickly and start to make a positive impact. By the end of December, I fully expect him to be a confirmed starter.

  • Most Improved Team? – Houston Rockets

Tied in with the emergence of Jalen Green, I think the Rockets will improve on last season’s poor showing. They’ve stockpiled plenty of draft picks for future years too and when they get John Wall’s salary off the payroll, they should be in a great position to make bigger improvements in the next year or two.

  • Worst Team? – Oklahoma City Thunder

Thunder have stockpiled a lot of picks for future draft years and judging by their performances last season and moves in the off-season this, they are going to need them. I think it is going to be another tough year for Thunder fans as a result.

  • Western Conference Champions? – Dallas Mavericks

I know it is a controversial pick, but I was impressed with what I saw with Dallas in the playoffs last season and I think they have made some shrewd moves in the off-season period, If Doncic stays fit and in the form he has been, then I think he can inspire the Mavs to win the Conference Championship and surprise many who think it will be going to California once more.

Who Wins The NBA Finals?

So I’ve predicted a Brooklyn Nets v Dallas Mavericks NBA Finals series, with the Brooklyn Nets being the team to win the trophy. You can back that outcome for the NBA Finalists at +2500 with BetRivers. The Brooklyn Nets are +230 to win the NBA Finals, with the Mavericks +3000.

Let’s now sit back and continue to enjoy the rest of the season!

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