Updated: Mar 17, 2021
Hello Smash fans! In last week’s article, we predicted how the eastern conference playoffs would shake out. So now, it’s the western conference’s turn!
6th seed: San Antonio Spurs
I see the Spurs as a great up-and-coming young team with some veteran pieces. As such, I believe that they will be able to get into the play-in tournament and ultimately lose their playoff spot because although they are a good, well-rounded team, they do not have a star at the caliber some of these other teams do.
7th seed: Denver Nuggets
I believe that the Denver Nuggets will be able to leapfrog the San Antonio Spurs and not even have to deal with the play-in tournament. They are simply too talented with one of the top ten players in the league in Nikola Jokić, a great second option in Jamal Murray, and a rising young star in Michael Porter Jr.
8th seed: Golden State Warriors
I see Golden State making the playoffs through the play-in tournament as I don’t think they are good enough to get into the top 6 seeds and I believe Steph Curry is enough to propel them to a win against the less talented in the league.
9th seed: Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies were a surprise team last season, headed by then-rookie Jah Morant. However, I do believe that they are going to take a step back this year as the talent in the west has gotten significantly better. Although they are the 9th seed now, I think they will drop to the 11th or 12th seed by the end of the season, pushing them out of both the playoffs and play-in tournament.
10th seed: Dallas Mavericks
Although they struggled early in the season, the Mavericks seem to have started to get back on track as of late and I believe they will be able to get into the play-in tournament. Luka and Porziņģis will be able to get them into the 7th or 8th seed in the playoffs. They are simply too talented when fully healthy.
11th seed: New Orleans Pelicans
Although I really like the Pelican’s young core, I think that Stan Van Gundy is not a great coach for this era of basketball. Additionally, Van Gundy does not really push Zion to push as many shots as he should take as no one can guard Zion. There are nights when he scores 36 on 16 shots so imagine what it would be like if he got 30 shots some nights. It is this error in coaching that I believe will hold the Pelicans not only back from the playoffs but from the play-in tournament as well.
12th seed: Sacramento Kings
I like the direction Sacramento is heading with De’Aron Fox but they simply do not have enough talent around him to propel them into the play-in tournament as the west is as competitive as it has ever been.
13th seed: Houston Rockets
Finally, I believe the Rockets will actually be able to make the play-in tournament but I do not believe they will be able to advance to the playoffs. I believe that Victor Oladipo, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and Christian Wood are more than good enough to get them into the playoffs. However, since Christian Wood has missed substantial time Houston has ground they have to make up and because of this they will make the playoff tournament as a 10th or 9th seed and will be knocked out by a team with a superstar player or just a better roster overall.
Thank you Smash fans for reading until the end, tune in next week for another installment. If you want to hear more, listen to my podcast, and if you want to support me subscribe to my Youtube channel and follow my Spotify. Until next time, PD Smash signing off.