Our US Sport guru reveals the West Conf teams you should keep an eye on this season.
The Clippers have underwhelmed year in and year out. I’ve said this team has been overrated for a couple of years now and as blasphemous as it sounds, coach Rivers may have to go. The team has had pretty much the same squad for a while now and has only looked like a contender once in 2014/2015. Unless Coach Rivers pulls a rabbit out of his ass and somehow gets Chris Paul and Blake Griffin working in harmony and teaches Jordan to shoot in the process, this squad just wont be able to take that next step. I’m expecting another underwhelming season, which is expected considering absolutely nothing has changed. The Clippers may end up having to get rid of Paul, Jordan or Griffin. They may even get rid of Rivers. Minnesota Timberwolves
This team is hands down one of the most promising young teams in the association. The Wolves are expected to jump 12 wins this season under new coach and ex-Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. Their line-up boasts Karl Anthony Towns (KAT), Andrew Wiggins, Big Deng, High-flyer Zac LaVine and the crafty Ricky Rubio. This team has been built to excite for years to come. Expect to see a big growth curve for the lot of them. The team’s first round pick in Kris Dunn should take the starting point guard position from Rubio in approximately one or two seasons. For now, he also adds a bit of depth to the mix. Their one key loss from last season was Kevin Garnett. Big Ticket himself brought a lot to this Timberwolves team off the court. With his presence, maturity and experience in the locker room. He was a mentor to KAT who saw a meteoric rise in his debut season. Utah Jazz
Utah has been a no name team for a while now. Just like the Wolves, the Utah Jazz will look to see a large growth curve for many of their young stars. Utah has brought back the Stifle Tower, Rudy Gobert, along with Rodney Hood, Derrick Favors and their star Gordon Hayward. This core has kept Utah playing steady ball in the last couple of seasons. Dante Exum hits the court properly this year; hopefully the young Aussie talent can keep himself healthy and flash some of his potential. The team has traded for George Hill who’s an experienced point guard to offer some guidance to Exum and replacement guard Shelvin Mack. The additions of Boris Diaw and Joe Johnson will further boost this team’s depth and add some big game experience to push them over the hill in those games that’ll come down to the wire. Expect to see a significant increase in this team as long as they continue to play unselfish basketball. Golden State Warriors
The Warriors will look to forget the haunting memories of letting a 3-1 series lead slip in the NBA finals against Lebron and his Cavaliers last season. The Warriors are changing the way basketball is played. They’ve shed Bogut and Speights, their two key big men, and nabbed one of the biggest free agents in history in Kevin Durant. This team is LOADED with firepower. Curry is an out and out sniper, his partner in crime, Klay Thompson is known as the 2nd splash brother for all the deep balls he can drain, Draymond is a legitimate stretch forward being able to bang in the paint and also drain a three if the situation calls for it and finally Kevin Durant. Durant is arguably one of the 3 best players in the world. I expect this team to struggle at first with locking down their chemistry, but once they hit their stride, they’ll truly be one of the most dangerous teams we’ve seen in recent NBA history. Written by Nik Hatzi