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NBA season western preview

Jenfrin Rodriguez

Sports Editor

The Eastern Conference in the NBA has played well a week in but the West isn’t far behind. The Golden State Warriors are looking to avoid the play-in tournament altogether this season with a 2-0 start to the season. The part that makes them scary is even in a game where Stephen Curry isn’t playing to his usual standards, the rest of the cast can still keep the Warriors in the game. Jordan Poole is an early favorite for “Most Improved Player” of the year because of how much of a threat he is beyond the arc. Draymond Green is still the anchor, he has always been on the team since their championship years. A name not known well yet is Nemanja Bjelica on the team. He plays the game at his own pace and doesn’t force anything. A 6’9 forward who can rebound and pass at a high level, he doesn’t take ill advised shots with this group. James Wiseman is only in his second year and how he will develop remains to be seen. Andrew Wiggins up to this point in his career has been a streaky player so how this year will go is still up in the air. With all of these pieces, the Warriors are also looking to add Klay Thompson back later on in the season after missing the past couple of seasons due to injury. The Warriors may be back.

The Utah Jazz is yet again a team that is seeing a lot of regular season success as they are 2-0 themselves. Donovan Mitchell has improved every year since 2017 and has been a breath of fresh air for Utah. Rudy Golbert in the paint has been a constant threat on defense. His “Defensive Player of the Year” awards are an indication of his abilities on that side of the court. Bojan Bogdanovic is still as good a shooter as ever, Mike Conley is still a solid point guard and Jordan Clarkson is still one of the best players off the bench. Whether or not they can perform in the playoffs is yet to be seen but once again they are an intriguing team.

The reigning MVP Nikola Jokic has the Denver Nuggets rolling with a 2-0 start to their year. He is an efficient player who can score really well with a complete toolset on offense in addition to being a gifted passer. Michael Porter Jr. has not lived up to expectations but being only in the third season and playing after the back injury he sustained, Denver is optimistic about him. The potential return of Jamal Murray will add a much needed boost to the team, as he is a 20 points per game scorer who teams need to key in heavily when matched up against. Will Jokic have another MVP run this season or can he lead the Nuggets to a deep playoff run in the loaded Western Conference?

The Los Angeles Lakers have not been the team they should be on paper with all the big names they have signed and traded for. Their 0-2 start would be worrisome if not for the fact that fans have seen this before. Newly assembled teams with Lebron James always struggle out the gate and don’t hit their stride until the late season push before the playoffs begin. This team is composed of mainly older vets and injuries could be detrimental to this roster. The Lakers aren’t built for the regular season, they are a playoff team and no matter what seed they get will surely be a problem. Russell Westbrook is a high energy player who gets better as the season progresses. Westbrook got off to a slow start in Houston as well as in Washington but by around January opinion of him changed when he started to play up to the level he can play at. Whether or not he is a good fit for the Lakers remains to be seen and can’t be determined in the first week of the season.

The Phoenix Suns and other teams like the Los Angeles Clippers will surely be in the playoff picture but whether or not as contenders is yet to be seen.


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