For the past few years, the answer to this question has been a no-brainer, as the Los Angeles Lakers have seen heaps of success behind their fearless leader Kobe Bryant and their frighteningly deep bench that doesn’t shy away from the postseason.
But now, as we head toward what should be another exciting trip into the NBA playoffs, are the Purple and Gold still the best in the west?
The NBA’s Western Conference has just as many compelling storylines as the teams in the Eastern Conference, and it’s a tight race toward the finish line — but who will finish on top?
The Celtics match up with the league-leading San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night, a team that lost just six games in the first three months of the season, but has dropped four straight over the past week. The loss of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli has played a huge role in the Spurs struggles, which highlights their depth issues. However, all three players are listed as day-to-day and should be back in action soon, which will definitely give the roster a much-needed boost.
The Lakers have been through a few rough patches this season, but sitting just 3.5 games behind the Spurs, they seem to be right on track for yet another postseason appearance, and will cause plenty of problems for opposing teams along the way. The Lakers are on a seven-game win streak, but is the aging squad from L.A. still tops out West?
Speaking of aging, the veteran tandem of Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki seem to be the perfect pairing down in Dallas. Kidd continues to rake in the assists night after night, and Dirk is still an offensive machine. The Mavs have earned a few disappointing losses against fellow Western powerhouses such as L.A. and San Antonio, but they’ll make some noise in the playoffs.
One should not underestimate the talent of the Oklahoma City Thunder, especially now with tournament-tested Kendrick Perkins, who is already leading the team in rebounds on both ends of the court. Led by the league leader in points, Kevin Durant, the Thunder are not a team to be overlooked this postseason.
The top four teams in the west are tough matchups, and the Celtics have earned losses against all except San Antonio, but they’ll be looking to prevent that pattern on Thursday night.
Who is the best team in the Western Conference? Share your thoughts below.
Monday, March 28: Is Larry Bird the greatest Celtics player of all time?