The entire shape of the Western Conference has been flipped on its head in the last week.
First, the Warriors lost Kevin Durant to an Achilles injury and then Klay Thompson tore his ACL. And now the Lakers have reportedly acquired Anthony Davis.
The West is going to look a whole lot different next year, there is now way around it.
So who are the five favorites to win the conference now that Davis is with the Lakers?
We have some thoughts. We’ll see if you agree or disagree.
Five favorites to win the Western Conference after the Anthony Davis trade:
Was there even a question here? And note we are saying who the favorites are, as in “who will Vegas make as the favorites.” And with that the simply fact is the money will be on the Lakers now that they have Anthony Davis and LeBron James.
And an important thing here also is they still have Kyle Kuzma and they are going hard after Kemba Walker. And if they don’t get Walker, they could add another good player at point guard as well. This is a much better team and instant favorites in the West after this deal along with the Warriors’ injuries.
This one will also have a caveat on it, and we’re even tempted to put an asterisk. If Kawhi Leonard goes to the Clippers, which he very well still could, this team instantly competes with the Lakers for the top spot in the West and for the NBA championship.
Even without Leonard, they took the Warriors to six games in the playoffs and they were the only team to face a Golden State team at full strength. Don’t fool yourself, this Clippers team is well coached, it works, it’s deep, and could finish second in the West just on that. And if they add Leonard, watch out. They could be the favorites in the West straight up.
So much could happen this offseason it’s not even funny and again this is another one that has to be taken with a grain of salt. If the Rockets trade Chris Paul and Clint Capela this probably will not be the No. 3 team in the conference. But if they don’t and stand pat with what they have, they’ll again be a very tough team to beat.
Again, they also took the Warriors to six games and were tied 2-2 after four. The Rockets may have caught a lot of flack for the drama after the season, but they’re still very good.
This one is either going to get knocked for being too low or too high. The ones who say it’s too low have an argument because the team still has a two-time MVP in Stephen Curry, a potential Hall of Famer in Draymond Green, and one of the best coaches in the NBA. For those who say it’s too high, they’ll say “No Klay Thompson, no Kevin Durant, no way.”
Both have an argument, but we still see this team as at least a 45-win roster and possibly even 48 to 50. The Warriors still nearly beat the Raptors in Game 2 with this squad and also in Game 6 even without Thompson in the fourth quarter. They’ll add some affordable pieces to help in free agency and they’ll be a scary team when the playoffs come around especially if Klay comes back.
We can feel the tomatoes being thrown in our direction from Oklahoma City and Portland and we understand. In all honesty, this one is pretty close to a three-way tie, but this isn’t soccer, ties don’t fly here.
This one is simple: Denver is deep, it’s talented and it’s still young. Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray will only get better and Gary Harris will hopefully be healthier. The Nuggets were a supreme Game 7 performance from CJ McCollum away from the Western Conference finals and they were one of the youngest teams in the NBA. We expect another big step, this time in their playoff performance.