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Western Conference Power Rankings (6th of August 2022)

7 min read


So as Geraint has done the Eastern Conference one already, i have stolen his style in order for us to see the results in a similar format. I’ve had 14 responses in total with Eastern GMs such as 76ers / Hornets / Magic and Knicks all helping out improve the data.

The Western Conference has always been far superior in recent years, however it does seem like the balance of power may have atleast evened out this offseason with the re-draft and plenty of changes made due to the high volume of trading!

First of all I am going to run through the Highest and Lowest Predictions per Team

DALLAS – Highest 1 / Lowest 12
DENVER – Highest 4 / Lowest 12
GOLDEN STATE – Highest 1 / Lowest 11
HOUSTON – Highest 9 / Lowest 15
LA CLIPPERS – Highest 10 / Lowest 15
LA LAKERS – Highest 3 / Lowest 15
MEMPHIS – Highest 3 / Lowest 13
MINNESOTTA – Highest 4 / Lowest 9
NEW ORLEANS – Highest 1 / Lowest 6
OKLAHOMA CITY – Highest 1 / Lowest 4
PHOENIX – Highest 6 / Lowest 14
PORTLAND – Highest 3 / Lowest 13
SACRAMENTO – Highest 1 / Lowest 13
SAN ANTONIO – Highest 4 / Lowest 15
UTAH – Highest 7 / Lowest 15

Now for the averages of all the predictions we should end up with the standings as follows having compiled everyone’s submissions and working out the average mean

1 OKC – 2.00
2 Pelicans – 3.36
3 Kings – 3.64
4 Warriors – 4.57
5 Timberwolves – 6.35
6 LA Lakers – 6.78
7 Grizzlies – 7.64
8 TrailBlazers – 8.07
9 Nuggets – 8.36
10 Spurs – 8.85
11 Mavs – 9.14
12 Suns – 11
13 Jazz – 12.36
14 LA Clippers – 13.86
15 Rockets – 14

Thoughts on the Predictions

Despite finishing last year with a 49-35 record the Mavs missed the playoffs finishing 9th in the west, Fred has added Jerami Grant to the starting 5 of Kyrie / Beal / Dillon Brooks and Julius Randle with 6th man Jalen Brunson improving on last year it’s understandable how one GM voted Dallas as the team who will end up top in the west, however the majority of votes had them lower down the Power rankings meaning they are touted to just finish outside the playoff hunt. This team could be dangerous to play if things start clicking for them.

The Nuggets are led by DTNBA champion Dejounte Murray who might be freed up a bit more now that he doesnt have Giannis / Durant beside him hogging the limelight. GM Mike has been on the phones all summer looking to improve, he has a nice blend of youth and experience and some DT studs in his team. A real trend in the west rankings as you will see is not knowing where a team will finish – the Nuggets are no different, the majority of the people think that the Nuggets will make the playoffs / however it seems like Mike might just miss out. This could easily change when the real things start as Mike will have a chip on his shoulder being voted 9th and will want to prove people wrong

Don has a superstar cast but things went terribly wrong in the 2021 / 2022 season due to some injuries and some of his team just not gelling finishing 10th in the West. Despite this, the Warriors are the team I predict to finish 1st in the West. Over half the votes has Don taking homecourt, however the overall consensus has Don ending up as 4th seed.

Ross is new to the league and has taken a team with a lot of potential superstars in Garland, Banchero and Stewart. They will be a super dangerous team in the future and if the power rankings are correct, Ross will be hoping to get lucky with the ping pong balls for a certain Frenchman come Summer 2023.

Abdus is also new to the league and took part in the mini draft, he has also made a few trades since then leaving him with his main 2 stars of Porzingis / OG Anunoby. The Clippers were voted to finish 15th the most times (5 – joint with Houston). Abdus doesn’t own his own 2023 pick so will be hoping that this isn’t the final outcome, however he does have 3 first round picks in 2023 from some of the better teams so they are very likely to be late picks in the draft however these can be building blocks for the future.

Joey has always relied heavily on LeBron James understandably, and he has always delivered quality performances for the Lakers going all the way to the western conference finals last year only to lose to Pat s juggernaut team in 6 games, this year Joey has decided to swap out Gallinari and Plumlee for John Wall and Buddy Hield which I think is savvy and moves I would have done to continue to improve- despite this, it seems like some GMs have placed the Lakers lower than last years finish (4th spot), do they have concerns over the durability from the likes of Wall and LeBron leaving Zubac / Clarkson and Hield as the main cast rather than supporting?

Dominic guided his team to 55-29 last year which despite the great record was only good for 7th place in the west. If he had been in the Eastern Conference this would have been good for 2nd place! Dominic is known for liking his bigs (Ayton / Harrell / Capela are his current crop) which has served him well in past years, however some may think too much reliance on the bigs and maybe not enough firepower in the 1-3 positions with Gary Trent Jr being the main “small” guy but not much depth behind him.

A young team who made a giant leap last year led by the trio of Domantas Sabonis / D’Angelo Russell and Cade Cunningham. You would expect Justin s team to continue to improve with the amount of his potential his team oozes however the power rankings has Justin holding his 5th spot from last year, which I’m sure he would be keen to go one step further and get homecourt this time round.

The DTNBA champion Pat shocked the league with a blockbuster trade meaning that Giannis was moving on, after some wheeling and dealing he has not only lost the Greek Freak but also Dejounte Murray which on the face of it doesn’t sound great, however he has managed to get Scottie Barnes / LaMelo Ball and Tyrese Maxey in return to support Kevin Durant. Pat always has a plan and despite losing possibly the most dominant player in the league, he is still well equipped to win it all with him coming out as 2nd in the western power rankings.

Despite being voted to come 2nd by 9 different GMs – the average mean suggest OKC should end up first, however with OKC only actually getting three 1st placed votes it still seems uncertain. GM Dylan runs back his main cast of Paul George and Jimmy Butler. OKC blew a 3-2 lead to Pat in the western conference semi finals last year (the eventual champs). After trading his favourite player Josh Giddey GM Dylan hopes it pays benefits adding a 3rd superstar in Pascal Siakam who can hopefully ease the scoring load if any time is missed by any of the 3 superstars.

A team that has Chris Paul, Tobias Harris and Bam Adebayo is a team that looks playoff worthy, however after finishing 11th last year and losing DeAaron Fox some of the GM s across the league believe that GM Eden’s Suns could regress this year rather than progress losing such a key player. I think that sometimes the stars having more touches might actually be of benefit to the team work so I believe Eden could make a push for a playoff spot.

I remember speaking to AJ a few seasons back following a trade in which he took Kemba Walker off me and his team looked scary post trade with it being something like Kemba / Lavine / Zion / Blake Griffin / Mitchell Robinson / Jaren Jackson Jr as his main guys… however with both Kemba & Blake Griffin getting a bit older quicker than expected and Zion being a bit injury prone the last few seasons things haven’t panned out as AJ would have expected, this year it seems could be a chance to see the full strength Blazers flex their muscles and be better than just an 8th seed.

Justin has consistently been able to put a team out and finish as top few seeds whichever conference he has been put in. Led by triple double threats James Harden and Nikola Jokic it s understandable why the Kings got voted 1st the most (5) times in the West, we all know that current James Harden isn’t the same player as he was a few years ago, however two unnamed GMs may think so as the Kings were put at 10th and 13th which meant that they drop from ranked 2nd to 3rd. I still see the Kings being a powerhouse this year as evidenced by their 69-15 record last year – finishing 1st in the West.

On paper for me one of the best defensive teams for the purposes of the sim hence why they finished 6th in the West last year. Defense sometimes isn’t the first thing people look for when predicting for the power rankings so I think Jordan can replicate a similar ranking this year with a very solid starting 5 that nearly took out Pat in the first round last year. A dark horse for sure.

UTAH JAZZ (13th)
The Jazz finished 11th last year which would have been good enough for 8th seed in the East (record of 38-46). GM Gabe has a few seasoned pros in Jrue Holiday, Mike Conley, Danilo Gallinari and Bojan Bogdanovic with an array of up and coming projects, two GMs predict the Jazz making the playoffs however the majority have Utah just missing out and repeating last years performance. If a few of the projects can increase productivity things will start taking shape in Salt Lake City.

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