We hit the west side with the NBA hottest teams.
The Eastern Conference is surprisingly competitive. Teams like the Chicago Bulls, the Toronto
Raptors, and more are looking like playoff-bound teams. And it turns out that the Western
Conference isn’t much different.
The Western Conference has its share of contenders, but there are a few surprises in the mix.
There are surprise teams playing well, and if contenders sleep on any of these teams, they
could hurt their championship chances.
With that said, let’s look at three Western Conference teams exceeding expectations.
1.) The Golden State Warriors
It’s hard to put the Warriors in this category. They are champions and have one of the best
shooters in league history (if not the best) in Stephen Curry. But they’ve missed the playoffs for
two straight seasons. This could be the year fans see the Warriors back in the playoffs, and they
might even have a deep playoff run.
The Warriors have a mix of their championship-winning veterans and young players for the
future. Curry remains with the Warriors and is averaging over 26 points. The Warriors also have
former Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green. Both players were crucial to the Warriors’
championship runs, and when Klay Thompson returns, the Warriors will be even more
Golden State also brought back Andre Iguodala in the offseason, and like the other vets, he
played a role in their championships. These veterans and young players like Andrew Wiggins
and their 2021 picks Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody give the Warriors a chance to
They are a special mix of young talent and experience that could give teams trouble.
So, it will be interesting to see how they finish out the season.
The Warriors are second in the West, and if all goes well, they should remain in that spot.
2.) The Memphis Grizzlies
The Memphis Grizzlies are an exciting team. They are one of the youngest rosters in the
league, and every year they seem to get better. And this year has been no exception.
The Grizzlies are fourth in the West, and after losing to the Utah Jazz in last year’s playoffs,
Memphis looks like a legitimate playoff team.
Memphis made the playoffs last year, but it was due to the NBA’s new play-in tournament. The
Grizzlies were ninth in the West, but after wins against the San Antonio Spurs and the Golden State Warriors in the tournament, the Grizzlies earned the eighth spot (and made the playoffs).
The Grizzlies are led by their young star Ja Morant. Morant is an athletic guard who can do a little of everything. He can score, rebound, and dish the ball to his teammates. He’s averaging 27.0 points, 7.5 assists and 5.5 rebounds.
Morant started the season with a bang, as he scored 37 points in the season opener. He came back with a 28 point game after that, then scored 40 in his third game. He’s been on a tear, and it’s helping the Grizzlies tremendously. And if he continues to play with a chip on his shoulder, the Grizzlies will be a shoo-in for the playoffs.
3.) Sacramento Kings
The Sacramento Kings are playing decent. They are a .500 team with a 4-4 record. The Kings are eighth in the West and may have a chance at the playoffs.
Sacramento is a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2006. They’ve been in rebuild mode for years and are constantly a lottery team striving for players to build around. Could this be the year they make progress?
The Kings may be headed in the right direction. They drafted Davion Mitchell in this year’s draft and have players like Tyrese Halliburton, Buddy Hield and De’Aaron Fox to build around. If these players continue to play well, the Kings could be on their way to the playoffs.
The Western Conference is getting stronger, and if these teams can keep up their level of play, the playoffs will get interesting.