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Spurs top Western Conference power rankings

By Eddie Leonard
On February 21, 2013

The NBA Western Conference is much more competitive to play in than the Eastern Conference. The third-best team in the West, the Los Angeles Clippers, have more wins than the leader of the East, the Miami Heat. Standings can be misleading for West Coast teams. This is why I have made a Western Conference power ranking to give credit to the teams that deserve it and call out the teams that do not.
15. The Phoenix Suns
I have the Suns rated last in the conference simply because they are incompatible and do not know how to win. They have some talent in the form of Michael Beasley and Gordon Dragic, but these two players are not good enough to carry the team. The fans only show up for games because they are able to get their money back if they are not satisfied. The Suns are out of playoff contention for the foreseeable future. Oh, it is safe to say that Dragic is not the second coming of Steve Nash.
14. Sacramento Kings
The only time I see the Kings on Sports Center is when Demarcus Cousins flips out at a referee and receives a technical foul. He is a Rasheed in the making. The Kings have Cousins, Tyreke Evans and Jimmer Fredette, but they do not know how to play as a team. Evans had the potential to be a star last year, but he fell right back into the King's curse of producing subpar players.
13.Minnesota Timberwolves
The Minnesota Timberwolves have lost their best player, Kevin Love, for the next couple months. Love is a guaranteed 20-and-10 every night. He keeps possessions alive with offensive boards and scores at will. Ricky Rubio needs someone to pass it to, but they have no shot makers. I would like to see Derrick Williams get more playing time.
12. New Orleans Hornets
The Hornets are well below .500, but I am attributing that to their young players trying to create chemistry. Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers, two of their most notable players, are rookies. Not only are they trying to become more accustomed to the NBA style of play, but they have to learn how to play more efficiently together. Their owner is banking that changing their name to the Pelican, a laughable bird, will help them accomplish this goal.
11. Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks only have four players on their current team that were on the championship team of two years ago. They are not the same team they used to be. Tyson Chandler, Jason Kidd, J.J. Barea, Jason Terry and Deshawn Stevenson all made huge contributions in their title run. With an injured Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavs can kiss their championship hopes goodbye. They were a one and done two years ago.
10. Los Angeles Lakers
Do I have to say anything here? I have written two articles about the Lakers and how much of a disgrace they are. I even heard a rumor that Dwight Howard was so unhappy with his Western All-Star team that he asked Spurs coach Greg Popovich for a trade to the East. The Lakers need to play as a team. Kobe has to pass and shoot. He cannot be Rondo, passing when he has an open lay-up. He is making the assist a selfish stat.
9. Portland Trailblazers
The Trailblazers are a team to watch out for in the future. They have a lot of young talent that is still maturing. Damien Lillard, Nicolas Aldridge, J.J. Batum and Wesley Hickson are all very talented and run the floor hard. They remind me of a young OKC team that has the talent but is in search of that breakout season.
8.Utah Jazz
The Jazz are a very quiet team. They sneak up on you. They are a great home team that would love to catch the Grizzlies to ensure a first round at home.
7. Golden State Warriors
The Warriors, coached by Mark Jackson, are a high-powered offensive team that remains baffled by the meaning of the word "defense." They gave up 23 three-pointers to the Rockets, for goodness sake. Until they play some defense, they will remain at the bottom of the playoff picture.
6. Houston Rockets
The Rockets are a dangerous team with James Harden in the mix. I would not be surprised at all if they slip into the second round of the playoffs. They have been waiting for a Harden since T-Mac's departure. Maybe Harden will carry Tracy McGrady's playoff woes to new heights.
5. Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets, led by Coach George Karl, are a very impressive show to watch. The Nuggets are near the top of the conference without a real super star on his team. Carmelo Anthony who?
4. Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies are a gritty team that is ready to make some noise in the playoffs. They have struggled since the Rudy Gay trade, but I believe the presence of Pau Gasol and Zach Randolph down low with Mike Conley at the point will make them a real nightmare.
3. Los Angeles Clippers
Clippers = Chris Paul. If Paul stays healthy and performs to his fullest capability, they will go far in the playoffs. If they have to rely on Blake Griffin shooting from the outside then they may be an early exit.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder will make it to the conference finals but it is not the team it was last year. James Harden was the reason they got by the Spurs. Without him, I do not think they can do as much damage. They look like a two-man show rather than a team.
1. San Antonio Spurs
As usual, the Spurs are quietly dominating the NBA. And as usual, they are receiving no credit. Almost everyone is picking the Thunder vs. Heat final. Slow down, the Spurs have the best record in the league and have four more wins than the next best team. They have a deep bench, with multiple Hall of Famers and Popovich coaching from the sideline.  

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