Who Has The Deepest Roster in The West?
This is an informative sports article analyzing the roster of each of the playoff teams in the western conference.
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This year in the NBA has been quite an odd season in itself. First and fairly we didn’t even know that we would have an NBA season due to the lockout. Next you have Ron Artest change his name to Metta World Peace which no one even knows the significance behind. And finally through all the debating and negotiating the players and owners were finally able to resolve their differences and leave us with a shortened season. And because we actually have an NBA season, even though it may be shortened, there has to be a team that emerges to claim the NBA championship. But who really is the clear cut team to win the Western Conference?
If the season were to end today the teams that would make it from the West would be the Thunder, Spurs, Lakers, Clippers, Grizzlies, Mavs, Nuggets, and Jazz respectively. Out of these teams who really comes out to represent the West? Honestly you have to consider the teams with the proven stars who can run a team and take over a game such as Durant for the Thunder, Parker, Duncan, and Manu for the Spurs, Kobe for the Lakers, CP3 and Blake Griffin for the Clippers, and Dirk for the Mavs. This leaves out the Nuggets, Jazz, and Grizzlies. Out of these 3 teams in my opinion the Grizzlies are the only threat to the other teams because of Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph and how far they got in the playoffs last year. One of the most fundamental aspects of a championship team is their depth so let us compare depth of these possible contenders.
The Thunder have undoubtedly the best one two punch in the West with Durant and Westbrook but they also have other weapons. James Harden has come out to be a surprise this season coming off the bench and scoring 17 points off the bench and most likely going to be this year’s reigning 6th man of the year, which would help any team really. If you add the point totals of Harden, Durant, and Westbrook it comes out to be 2/3 of Oklahoma City’s offense per game which is more than any trio in the West. Outside of offense, by having Serge Ibaka, the leading shot blocker in the league, it really gives the Thunder an outstanding frontcourt alongside near 7 foot Kendrick Perkins.
Next you have the most experienced team in the West with the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs have a trio of their own in Parker, Ginobili, and Duncan but this trio is much older than the Thunder’s which could really hurt this team. Others would in fact argue though that this age gives the team a veteran advantage. Nevertheless, the Spurs do have a jam packed roster. Kawhi Leonard, Dejuan Blain, and Daniel Green have all proved to be worthy starters each producing more than 8 points per game which gives San Antonio some flexibility with offense. But it’s really not their starting lineup which impresses, rather it’s the team’s role players and bench. The acquisition of Stephen Jackson was a great move for this team because it adds instant offense and energy. Matt Bonner has proven time in and out that he can be clutch shooting the three shooting nearly 45% from deep. Gary Neal has proved he can run the point guard when Tony Parker is taken out averaging nearly 10 points per game. And Tiago Splitter also adds 10 points per game in the frontcourt when Duncan is out. Even though this team is old, they have a lot of depth which could rally help them in the long run. Plus having your head coach rest your trio frequently gives this team an edge.
The Lakers obviously have Kobe. But they also have the most dominant frontcourt in the West with Gasol and Bynum. Some argue that Gasol is soft but he does give them 17 points and 10 boards. But what really is impressive about this team is having Andrew Bynum, who is having a breakout season averaging 18 points and 12 rebounds. Adding a player like Ramon Sessions to this team also gives them a solid point guard who adds 10 points and 5 assists and can run the offense opposed to a veteran like Fisher who was traded this season. But the frightening part about this team is the lack of depth. The only game changers the Lakers have on the bench are Matt Barnes and Steve Blake. Barnes is another World Peace meaning he’s a solid defender but doesn’t give you much on offense. Steve Blake is really a spot up shooter and when Sessions is taken out of the game for Blake, the pressure falls back on Kobe to run the point which Kobe can handle but I do worry about it. Other than Barnes and Blake the Lakers don’t have much along with the drama that’s going on with Kobe and Mike Brown.
Next you have the young and energetic Clippers making their first playoff debut in a while. The acquisition of Chris Paul was easily the best free agent the Clippers have picked up in a long time and undoubtedly the best point guard in the West (possibly Westbrook). Then you have Blake Griffin who gives 20 points and 10 boards each game who some say can be impossible to stop on the fast break. But outside those 2, not much is seen. Caron Butler isn’t what he used to be when he was with the Wizards and Deandre Jordan isn’t much of an offensive threat unless he receives a lob pass from Chris Paul. But these 2 are both great defensive players which does mean something. But again, outside Paul and Griffin this team does have much of an offensive threat. Sure they have Nick Young off the bench but he is no way as consistent as a James Harden which tells me if they get deep in the playoffs, they will have a lot of problems with teams like the Thunder who can drain shots.
That leaves the defending champs, the Dallas Mavericks. You have Dirk who gives you 20+ but what about the rest of the lineup. Jason Kidd isn’t really a contributor to this team as he was last year, rather Delonte West had a better year over Kidd. Shawn Marion and Vince Carter are both in the decline of their careers and can’t really create their own shots like they used to. So what is that so far? One superstar and 3 former superstars who aren’t really what they were before. Other than Jason Terry they don’t have much on their bench either. Lamar Odom’s heart is still with the Lakers and because of that got cut and Delonte West barely gets playing time. The departures of Tyson Chandler and JJ Barea really do hurt this team and because of this the team does not get past the first round.
So you have seen the rosters of the teams in the West. From all these teams I honestly think that San Antonio has the deepest roster but OKC is right behind them if not the same level as them. San Antonio has the depth to rest their starters frequently plus having the experience of Greg Popovich as head coach really gives a team that X factor to move above and beyond. All I know is that the West is packed this year and it is going to be great watching how it turns out.