The Western Conference has never been easy. For as long as I've been watching, this league has continued to produce extreme powerhouses from the west with the lakers 3 peat in the early 2000s to the Warriors wild run in the mid-2010s.
This year's race to the playoffs has been closer than ever with five teams trying desperately to reach the ninth seed are all within two games of each other. The eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies have the hardest schedule remaining in the NBA and hold only a one-game lead over the Portland Trail Blazers. It’s only a matter of time before we see which teams end up in those spots. Here are takeaways on each of the six teams in the West play-in race:
Starting with the grizzlies, one of the teams I have had the most fun watching throughout this season. The rookie, Ja Morant, coming in from Murray State and completely electrifying this Memphis team is one of the most exciting things I have seen in a long time from this team. This team has tons of talent like Jaren Jackson Jr. one of the leagues best up and coming two-way players. With all this amazing talent coming to Memphis it's absolutely going to be something to watch over the next five years. Despite all the amazing things said the one thing this team lacks is experience and unfortunately there's nothing you can do for that except play. One recent turn of events is they lost a vital structure to the team. Jaren Jackson Jr. tore his meniscus and is out for the remainder of the season. This team has gone 0-4 and honestly, it's not looking too hot fort the Memphis grizzlies, but if there's one thing I know its that Ja Morant is fueled by doubt. So as for the grizzlies I'm gonna hope for the best but expect the worst.
On to the leagues most talked about Rookie, Zion Williamson, and the New Orleans Pelicans a team who in my opinion is completely overrated. Zion is good don't get me wrong but there's just no way this lasts. Brandon Ingram has shown solid improvement compared to last year. The one thing I haven't seen enough of from this team that makes me doubt them so much is the extreme lack of defense. When you have a guy like Zion and he's not in the paint or even attempting to block shots it makes me wonder why is he even there. I was hoping to see the athleticism that as shown at duke with zion chasing loose balls and rebounds like it was something he was born to do, but honestly, that version of Zion has been completely MIA this year. He is coming back from an injury and it shows. his movement seems hesitant and not as fast as he used to be. I'm hoping that this is just time off thing and its nothing more than that. I hope I'm wrong about all this but only time will tell for Zion's career.
Los Suns, this team has truly been one to watch in the bubble and none other than the undervalued Devin Booker an offensive threat I have always thought was remarkable to watch and now after so many years he actually has a team around him this team is by all means fun as hell to watch. Devin Booker draining that fadeaway last-second three right over paul George's head was exhilarating. I've never been a suns fan but damn that made me jump out of my seat with excitement. and for some reason, I see myself kind of rooting for the Suns to make that 9th spot. Pheonix is on an absolute tear right now going 4-0 in the bubble so far. I'm hoping for nothing but some deserved success for this franchise whos fans were so close to giving up.
The one team that has never failed to achieve is the San Antonio Spurs. they are easily the league's most overlooked team but why do people begin to even doubt Pop easily one the NBA's most respected Coach because of the consistent success and through it all this team has shown true grit. They show each and every game that they don't care if they are they are the underdogs. The Spurs have relied on their bench to open the court and allow shot-creator Demar DeRozan to do what he does best, hit that mid-range jumper. If everything goes right for this gritty Spurs team then you might be looking at your newest 9th seed (1.5 G/B 8th).
Now on to the team who really almost got screwed out of the postseason, The Portland Trailblazers. Early on in the season, the Blazers have been riddled with injuries with Zach collins out just three games into the season, and Nurkic not even expected to play this year. This Team was saved by the postseason play-in tournament. It's easy to say that this team deserves a chance to be in the playoffs. they have the talent and the team to compete. Dame has been an absolute monster this year and Melo cam back to really say F*** the people who doubt me in the way he's playing. Understanding his position as a role player in this offensively electric team. All in all this team deserves a spot and I really hope they get it.
Finally, the last team in contention for that 9th seed spot is the Sacramento Kings. My consensus for what they have to do is absolutely nothing. this team sucks and I can't wait to not have to watch them play anymore. no hate to the team its cool to watch them play but if we're talking playoff spots the never had a chance. Final verdict: they suck.
As always, until next time.