Cleat Geeks

NBA Western Conference Power Ranking ’15-16 (10-6)

Last go round we did 15-11, so today, let’s dive into 10-6 today from the West!

 

rockets10) Houston Rockets 41-41

So long Dwight Howard. Goodbye Jason Terry, Terrence Jones, Josh Smith, and Kevin McHale. Here is Mike D’Antoni to potentially clean up the mess left by an organization that couldn’t play defense, couldn’t establish a real identity, and couldn’t get All-Stars to work together. James Harden is an elite scorer and we know this, but his defensive lapses, plays off, and inability to make everyone else around him better have put nothing but question marks on the name of this organization. Does bringing in Mike D’Antoni really help the cause though? His philosophy is space and shoot, but he will have to find a way to get Harden to commit on defense. Corey Brewer, Patrick Beverly, and newly acquired Eric Gordon (when healthy) will have to help because all 4 of them will not play at the same time. What the Rockets scored last year (106 ppg), means nothing if they continuously keep giving up the same number to their opponents.

twolves9) Minnesota Timberwolves 29-53

Flip Saunders you are dearly missed still, rest in power. KG, enjoy retirement. The organization welcomes Tom Thibodeau, with his long lasting mentality of hard nosed practice, and tireless effort of team preparation. Rookie of The Year Karl Anthony-Towns looks to improve upon his success of breaking into the top 10 in scoring, rebounds, and blocks. Andrew Wiggins has established his presence as “the man” and will no doubt be the cornerstone of this franchise should he choose to stay. Even though Zach LaVine has shown he is not a natural PG, and that’s ok, because he will thrive better at the 2 because of how his all around game is built. Speaking of PG, it will be interesting to see how the PG battle fairs seeing rookie Kris Dunn square off against Ricky Rubio. Rubio so far has the better all around ability, and defense, but Dunn might fit the system a little better. Defensively this team should propel itself forward, but can it get them a playoff spot they haven’t seen in almost a decade?

jazz8) Utah Jazz 40-42

Its sad how narrowly close Utah was to getting a playoff spot. Its even worse looking at the fact it happend on “Mamba Night” moments before Kobe’s’ last game. It’s not a given, but can be agreed that Utah has an extremely strong chance of making the playoffs. Thanks to the efforts of Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors protecting the paint, the Jazz ranked 2nd in the league in OPPG. Even Kansas product Jeff Withey proved a valuable backup when the injuries to the big men hit. Free Agent pick ups Grant Hill, Joe Johnson, and Boris Diaw are a much needed presence for this young and upcoming squad. If Quin Snyder can put all the pieces in the right place, Utah can finally start making noise in the West again.

grizz7) Memphis Grizzlies 42-40

Always a middle of the pack team, filled with middle-aged veterans, and a team that always relied on defense to keep them in games. David Fizdale is now the bench boss of this ball club, and will be looking to improve the offense some with a mix of small ball and power ball lineup. Not to mention, the Grizzlies have been a terrible 3 point shooting team for a while. Chandler Parsons has to stay healthy to have any sort of impact on the floor. In his 15th season, Zach Randolph might see his minutes drop despite still being a great rebounder and hustle player. Marc Gasol still has plenty left in the tank, but took a small step back last season due to a broken foot. You can always count on Mike Conley with his defense, but needs to be more aggressive score. All in all, is a big step forward or a big step back for the “City of Blues”?

mavs6) Dallas Mavericks 42-40

You can’t mention middle of the pack without thinking of the Mavs either. Granted the Mavs did get a few nice pieces. Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut didn’t look so good in last years’ playoff run with Golden State, but in a new system, especially under Rick Carlises’ command both players should find a nice home. With Dirk Nowitki still playing without regard of his age or health, it will be interesting to see what he can do heading into his 19th season. Although Deron Williams hasn’t really found his All-Star form, but still putting up decent numbers and playing the role of floor general. The only thing is with all of the role players Dallas has, is it enough to do more than just be average?

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