Saturday, January 21, 2017

Who Wants The Eighth Seed In The Western Conference?

            The NBA's Western Conference for the 2016-2017 season can be divided up into tiers: You got the "elites" (that would be Golden State, San Antonio, and Houston), the "greats" (Clippers and Jazz), the "goods" (Grizzlies and Thunder), and the "terribles" (everyone else). The Western Conference landscape is quite different from its Eastern Conference brethren (Cleveland's the only Eastern Conference team worthy of being considered "elite"), but it doesn't have a good team suitable for the eighth seed in its conference. In other words, a team will likely win the Western Conference's eighth seed merely by default.
            Let's take some time to consider the candidates for who'll get blown out and likely swept by Golden State in the first round. Portland has one of the best (if not the best) backcourts in the NBA, but offer nothing else. The Sacramento Kings rely on a bipolar Demarcus Cousins as their superstar. The Timberwolves were supposed to be kind of like the Jazz and emerge as a good team thanks to Tom Thibodeau becoming their head coach, but have sputtered while lacking a deep bench. The Pelicans are relying on Anthony Davis to win all of their games instead of giving him some quality assistance. The Nuggets can score, but can't defend. Finally, the Suns, Lakers, and Mavericks are all too painful to watch.
            So which one of these "terribles" will emerge for a chance to get whipped like a government mule by the Warriors in the first round? Portland has the best chance to get ahead based on their backcourt alone, but they'll need a defensive specialist to come in and help them. Denver will need some defensive help as well. New Orleans needs to find another player for Anthony Davis to help out (maybe take a flier on Reggie Jackson or Ricky Rubio before they get traded?). They should just look at scoring help so that Davis doesn't have to do all the work. Either that or just get Buddy Hield more playing time. I don't know. Just get Anthony Davis some help for once and make it snappy. Minnesota could use a veteran on the team to help with the younger players, i.e. Jason Terry. The Kings need to either find a veteran who can mentor Cousins and calm him down or shop him. As for the Suns, Lakers, and Mavericks, just compete for lottery balls. Your seasons are already lost, so it's best if you rebuild for the future.
            Again, it probably won't matter who makes it out of the first round because the Warriors have too much talent (most of it offensively) for any of these aforementioned teams to handle. Still, we live in an age where handing out participation trophies is the norm and we feel the need to hand out awards to mediocre teams for making a tournament only to get obliterated by a much stronger opponent. Anyways, may the best "terrible" win!

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