A Look at the Western Conference Race...
The Parody in the Western conference is sure to provide with a great finish to the season. There is no clear cut front runner in the West, because all teams have holes. This year more than many other might prove that it isn't what the team is seeded, but the match up that happen in the playoffs. Here is a break down of who team want and don't want to play in the playoffs.
Who they want to play: Rockets, Spurs, Lakers
Who they don't want to play: Warriors, Suns, Hornets
The Mavericks match up well with bigger teams. They have more athletic big men that are able to out run teams that want to play a slow down type game. Nowitzki plays his best against slower big men that he is able to draw outside of the paint. They are terrible against teams that want to run and gun. Especially with the addition of Kidd, who isn't able to keep up with the quicker guards in the Western Conference. They also have terrible perimeter defense.
Who they want to play: Warriors, Suns, Hornets
Who they don't want to play: Spurs, Jazz, Lakers
They don't play defense. They want to run and gun and out score their opponents. They are bigger and more athletic then many of the open court philosophy teams. They struggle against teams that use a half court set. There set defense can't withstand a 48 minute slow down game. Allen Iverson is slowing down and won't have a lot left in the tank to take a very physical playoff series.
Who they want to play: Mavericks, Hornets, Spurs
Who they don't want to play: Jazz, Lakers, Blazers
Baron Davis is able to dominate smaller and slower guards. As Baron Davis goes, so do the Warriors. They also have no interior defense. Any team with a powerful post presence that can run will be able to slow down the warriors.
Who they want to play: Suns, Warriors, Nuggets
Who they don't want to play: Jazz, Mavericks, Lakers
Losing Yao Ming was huge! It transforms them from a half court pound it inside team into a run and gun team. A team that is going to try and give it to Tracy McGrady and let him dictate the ball game. This philosophy plays well against teams that struggle with playing defense. It will fall apart against teams that are more disciplined, and also teams that are run and are bigger inside. (The Mavericks)
Who they want to play: Jazz, Nuggets, Warriors
Who they don't want to play: Hornets, Spurs, Mavericks
The Lakers look like the team to beat. They should be able to beat up teams that have poor interior defense and aren't athletic enough to get to outside shooters off of double teams. They will struggle against teams that want to play a more up tempo game, and are bigger inside. The Spurs have the ability to guard Kobe, Gasol, and Bynum. They also have the offensive weapons to create mismatches for the Lakers on the defensive end.
New Orleans Hornets:
Who they want to play: Mavericks, Lakers, Nuggets
Who they don't want to play: Jazz, Spurs, Blazers
Chris Paul is the backbone of this team. When teams allow Chris Paul to run the court, and don't have a defender that can stop him, he destroys teams. They also play hard nose basketball on the inside when Paul is running free. They have outside shooters that can heat up. The Hornets downfall caome when teams play physical defense against Paul, and out work them on the glass.
Who they want to play: Mavericks, Trailblazers, Hornets
Who they don't want to play: Spurs, Lakers, Jazz
The addition of Shaq has given the Suns something they needed. A big body on the inside that can get to the hole and open things up for Stoudemire. The problem is Shaq isn't keeping up with the Suns on offense, and he is a HUGE defensive liability in the middle. Teams that have a good half court set should be able to take advantage of the hole in the middle of the Suns defense. The suns will be able to beat teams that like to get up and down the court
Who they want to play: Jazz, Hornets, Rockets
Who they don't want to play: Suns, Lakers, Mavericks
This team is a powerhouse on the horizon in the Western Conference; however, they probably won't make the playoffs this year. The inexperience they have will make this season a building block going into next season when they have Oden. Their physical style of play will give teams trouble if they did make the playoffs. They are very good at force teams to take outside jump shots, and denying second chance opportunities.
San Antonio Spurs:
Who they want to play: Jazz, Suns, Lakers
Who they don't want to play: Mavericks, Blazers, Warriors
The Spurs have the pieces they need to contend with the top teams in the West. They are built to slow the game down and win with their defense and their half court offense. There are teams in the West that are designed to beat them. The Mavericks are the best example of this. They have a post presence that can handle Duncan, a guard that can match Ginobili, and can make them break out of their half court set and run. The Spurs are built to beat the best and be upset by an up and coming team.
Who they want to play: Hornets, Rockets, Warriors
Who they don't want to play: Lakers, Blazers, Spurs
Deron Willams and Carlos Boozer are the pulse of the Jazz basketball team. If they play good the Jazz win, if they don't, they struggle. Boozer struggle when facing bigger and taller interior opponents that force him out of the key. When he uses his jump shot as a first option he is less productive. Without Boozer's presence in the middle the lains shut down for the Jazz on the inside. The Jazz's interior defense is also suspect. The Lakers duo of Gasol and Bynum will spell trouble for the Jazz.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
A Look at the Western Conference Race...