NBA Futures Predictions
The Western Conference is certainly the tougher of the two in the NBA right now. The Cleveland Cavaliers won 53 games last season, and that was good for the second best record in the Eastern Conference.
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Odds courtesy of Bovada.lv.
On the other side of the country, the West had five teams win 55 or more games, and another two – Portland and Dallas – won 50 or more games.
But despite all of that talent in the conference, the Golden State Warriors were still able to run away with it, winning 67 games – 11 clear of the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers.
Here’s a look at five teams you should keep your handicapping eye on from the Western Conference.
Golden State Warriors (NBA Odds +200)
The Warriors’ roster remains largely unchanged from a year ago – and that’s a good thing. The team will still remain very dependent on the long ball.
While that’s normally something that can lead to variance from year-to-year, Golden State is just so good at shooting from beyond that arc that they’ll be fine relying on that aspect of their game.
The difference from a year ago is the Warriors were able to catch some teams off guard, to a degree, and that certainly won’t be the case this season, but they’re so good at both ends of the court that it’s hard to predict much of a regression.
Oklahoma City Thunder (NBA Odds +350)
The Thunder weren’t able to ever really get going last season as they dealt with injuries throughout the season, eventually missing the postseason on a tiebreaker with the New Orleans Pelicans.
This season, they enter the year healthier, and should be able to make plenty of noise right from the jump.
If those big stars can stay on the court, the Thunder will be able to match the talent level of any team in the West.
Los Angeles Clippers (NBA Odds +450)
The outlook on the Clippers’ season changed in a big way when DeAndre Jordan reversed his free agent decision and elected to stay in Los Angeles, rather than leave for greener pastures with the Dallas Mavericks.
While that move grabs all of the headlines, the team was also able to use its limited cap space to bring in a handful of good pieces to up the team’s depth, which had been an area of concern for quite some time.
With guys like Paul Pierce, Josh Smith, and Lance Stephenson filling in as secondary scoring options, the Clippers are in good shape to make a run at the top spot in the West.
Houston Rockets (NBA Odds +1000)
The Rockets got the third big piece they were looking for late in the summer, and it seemed to just fall in their lap. Houston added Ty Lawson amid his legal troubles after whiffing on free agency, and is now in position for another long playoff run.
The addition of an All Star point guard to an already elite core figures to make a major difference for a Rockets team that won 56 games a year ago.
Memphis Grizzlies (NBA Odds +1600)
There was actually a point last season where it looked like the Grizzlies wouldn’t make the postseason.
It feels like dealing with a major injury is becoming a yearly occurrence in Memphis.
Yet, when all of the key faces are in position on the court, the Grizzlies always seem to make a heck of a run to up their win total in a hurry.
The roster remains largely intact from what it was a year ago, but a couple sneaky good fits in Brandan Wright and Matt Barnes should help the team make another step forward.
If they can find a way to keep their key pieces
Full 2015-16 Western Conference Championship Gambling Odds
- Golden State Warriors +200
- San Antonio Spurs +200
- Oklahoma City Thunder +350
- Los Angeles Clippers +450
- Houston Rockets +1000
- New Orleans Pelicans +1600
- Memphis Grizzlies +1600
- Dallas Mavericks +5000
- Utah Jazz +5000
- Phoenix Suns +15000
- Los Angeles Lakers +15000
- Sacramento Kings +15000
- Denver Nuggets +25000
- Minnesota Timberwolves +25000
- Portland Trail Blazers +25000
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