Pros and Cons of the NBA Western Conference Playoffs Teams

Pros and Cons of the NBA Western Conference Playoffs Teams

by June 17, 2020 0 comments

The NBA is currently making waves into continuing the 2019-2020 season. With a July 30 start date for the eight regular-season games, many have stumbled across the idea that their team could take advantage of the unique situation and win a title. Only 13 teams from the Western Conference were invited to Orlando, Florida: the original eight teams that were currently holding the top seeds and five teams who were 5.5 games or fewer out of the eighth seed. Here are each Western Conference team’s pros and cons to the 2019-2020 playoffs.

Los Angeles Lakers (49-14)

Pro:

LeBron James. James has proven to many that he is capable of carrying a team to the Finals and winning. During the hiatus, it seems that James took his physical health seriously as he was in the gym every day. 

Con: 

Player commitment. Both Dwight Howard and Avery Bradley; who are key parts to the Lakers bench success, might sit out the remainder of the season due to their beliefs that other movements are a priority.  

Los Angeles Clippers (44-20)

Pro:

Kawhi Leonard. Leonard, just like James, can lead a team to the Finals. Leonard has plenty of experience in his time in San Antonio and Toronto, which could lead Los Angeles to the title. 

Con:

The Clippers curse. No matter how talented a Clippers team has been in the past, the team has never seen a Finals appearance. 

Denver Nuggets (43-22)

Pro:

Skinny Jokic. Jokic had lost a ton of weight during the NBA’s hiatus. This slimmer Jokic could prove to be beneficial as it was reported that he has been practicing more athletically.

Con:

Skinny Jokic. Although weight was a minor problem for Jokic, that weight was used to bully defenders in the paint. Without his weight, the center might find it more difficult to fight in the paint and get rebounds against other big men.

Utah Jazz (41-23)

Pro:

“Three and D” team. The Jazz are the perfect “three and D” type of team. They are one of the best percentage holders when shooting the three-ball, and they have a top ten defense in the league. 

Con:

Mitchell and Gobert’s relationship. Once Gobert was diagnosed with COVID-19, and his teammate Donovan Mitchell later contracted the virus, the relationship between the two faltered. As Mitchell and Gobert are the cornerstones of the team, having even the smallest of ripple between the stars will cause problems.

Oklahoma City Thunder (40-24)

Pro:

Cinderella hype. The Thunder were a team filled with doubts going into the season. Although led by veteran Chris Paul and the young talent around him, the Thunder became a dark horse to win a title. 

Con:

Destroyed Cinderella hype. With the hiatus, the team possibly lost their Cinderella hype. Being away from the NBA for more than three months can easily damage a team’s hot streak. 

Houston Rockets (40-24)

Pro:

Three-pointers. The Rockets take the most threes of any team in the NBA. A team that is filled with three-point shooters will have a better advantage going into the remainder of the season than those who rely on athleticism. 

Con:

Another 0-27. It has happened before and could happen again. During a 2018 playoff game against the Golden State Warriors, the Rockets shot 0-27 from deep for a period of the game. This team could get cold easily. 

Dallas Mavericks (40-27)

Pro:

Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. Both players were having great seasons this year. They are both young and would make sense for them to easily regain where they left off. 

Con:

Doncic gaining weight. It has been rumored that Doncic had gained some weight during his time off. Although it is not confirmed how much he has gained, this could be troublesome for the team as his health could hinder their playoff run. 

Memphis Grizzlies (32-33)

Pro:

Ja Morant. Morant has shown that he can win games with the talent around him. With Morant healthy, the Grizzlies have an opportunity to make a deep playoff run. 

Con:

Inexperience. Even though they have young talent, the Grizzlies lack the experience of being in the playoffs. They do not have Marc Gasol or Mike Conley anymore and without a veteran who has been a part of a successful playoff team, it will be hard for the Grizzlies to breeze through the playoffs. 

Portland Trail Blazers (29-37)

Pro:

Clutchness. Damian Lillard is one of the best, if not the best when it comes to clutch shots. If the Blazers can keep a game close, then Lillard will help them out in the fourth quarter to win them the game. Having a player like Lillard will help them make a deep playoff run. 

Con:

Commitment. Lillard once tweeted out that he was unsure if he would sit out or play if the NBA recontinued the season. Other bench players are in the same boat as they were participating in Kyrie Irving’s call about trying to cancel the NBA season. 

New Orleans Pelicans (28-36)

Pro:

Fun to watch. Everyone will be rooting for the Pelicans. The team has so many fun players to watch in Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball, Brandan Ingram, and Jrue Holiday. With all this fan attention, the team could over succeed and make the playoffs. 

Con:

Inexperience. Besides Holiday, the team has very few players in their starting lineup who have reached the playoffs. This inexperience will hinder them when coming into close games and tougher matchups. 

Sacramento Kings (28-36)

Pro:

End a dry spell. The Sacramento Kings have not been to the playoffs since 2006: nearly a decade and a half of no playoffs. The team wants to break this dry spell and can do so by winning five or more games when the NBA season continues. 

Con:

Health and talent. DeAaron Fox and Marvin Bagley are great talents, and some might even say Harry Giles has shown potential. However, the team’s health is questionable. Both Bagley and Fox have been in and out of the lineup all season, and their replacements have not been great. 

San Antonio Spurs (27-36)

Pro:

Their playoff streak. The Spurs have made the playoffs 22 consecutive years, and the organization wants to extend that streak. 

Con:

Commitment. A tougher road to make the playoffs, the Spurs would have to win six or more games while their competition has to go sub .500. The chances are slim for the Spurs to make the playoffs, and that could cause their players to have little commitment to reach the playoffs as they are more cautious about their health long term. 

Phoenix Suns (26-39)

Pro:

Try to break a playoff skid. It has been a decade since the Suns have made the playoffs. Last time the team made the playoffs, Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire were still playing. Booker is committed to winning and wants to be the one to lead to the Suns to the playoffs. 

Con: 

Commitment and eight-game regular season. Besides Booker, no player seems to care what happens to the team this year. With a very slim chance of making the playoffs, younger players are thinking about playing less or sitting out to make sure they are healthy for the following season.

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