BLOGTABLE: Which West teams will make the playoffs in 17-18?

NBA.com Global on Oct 19, 2017 06:10 PM
BLOGTABLE: Which West teams will make the playoffs in 17-18?
Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant, right, drives the ball against Houston Rockets' James Harden during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. The Rockets won 122-121. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

NBA.com blogtable

Who are your picks for the eight teams that will make the playoffs in the West?

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Steve Aschburner:

Golden State Warriors
Houston Rockets
Oklahoma City Thunder
San Antonio Spurs
Portland Trail Blazers
Minnesota Timberwolves
Denver Nuggets
Utah Jazz

Nope, I still can’t see anyone catching or toppling the Warriors, though the arms race out West has made the Rockets and the Thunder must-see TV, and the bottom four spots have six teams legitimately trying to squeeze in.

Shaun Powell:

Golden State Warriors
Oklahoma City Thunder
Houston Rockets
San Antonio Spurs
Minnesota Timberwolves
Portland Trail Blazers
Denver Nuggets
LA Clippers

The weird teams are the Clippers and Grizzlies. Both are in transition and appear weaker than the last five years when they were playoff fixtures. They'll flip a coin for the eighth spot. The real intrigue lies with the Spurs and whether they're still a top-three team in the West, especially after a flat and inactive off-season while others fortified themselves.

John Schuhmann:

Tier 1: Golden State Warriors
Tier 2: Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs
Seeds 5-8: Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz over LA Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans.

The Clips, Grizzlies and Pelicans have a chance, but it's hard, at this point, to believe in LA's durability (Danilo Gallinari is already hurt), Memphis' talent beyond Mike Conley and Marc Gasol, and New Orleans' offense on the perimeter.

Sekou Smith:

Golden State Warriors
San Antonio Spurs
Houston Rockets
Oklahoma City Thunder
Portland Trail Blazers
Minnesota Timberwolves
Denver Nuggets
LA Clippers

The mighty Warriors continue their dominance in a retooled Western Conference with San Antonio, Houston, Oklahoma City, Portland, Minnesota, Denver and the Los Angeles Clippers filling out the playoff field. With apologies to LaVar Ball, I don't see the Los Angeles Lakers having the tools to make good on that playoff prediction. There is too much ground to make up and not enough playoff-ready players in the fold. I love the energy, enthusiasm and the youth movement that is already in motion. But I need to see them in action before I buy a ticket for that bandwagon.

The Nuggets are my Western Conference surprise team. The addition of Paul Millsap changes things dramatically for a team that I thought was on the cusp last season. He and Nikola Jokic could be a major problem for opposing teams on a nightly basis. Add a solid supporting cast and you have the makings of a nightmare squad to deal with for a higher seed in the first round of the playoffs.

It pains me, by the way, to look at my list and realize Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and the New Orleans Pelicans didn't make the cut.

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