Trending Topics: Who are the 3 best teams on paper in the West?

Relive the 2021-22 season, which culminated in an NBA title for the Golden State Warriors.

As the 2022-23 season attracts close to, our writers will weigh in on some intriguing matters round the league.


Who are the 3 best teams on paper in the West?


Steve Aschburner:

  1. Golden State Warriors
  2. Memphis Grizzlies
  3. Phoenix Suns

Why would the Warriors be much less of a favourite to repeat, contemplating how effectively they married their twin trajectories — growing younger guys, heeding the championship appetites of their core — to attain their triumph in June? Young guys reminiscent of Jordan Poole, Jonathan Kuminga and presumably James Wiseman can reliably assist the previous heads Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Memphis may be the hungriest workforce in the NBA, although, with a small-market chip on their shoulders, powerful younger items all through, and the league’s most electrical participant, Ja Morant. And I’m not satisfied the Phoenix Suns cannot splice their 2021 postseason to their mature efficiency of final season. If the Deandre Ayton wrangling did not harm their chemistry, they nonetheless — on paper — impress me as repeat Finals clients, as soon as eliminated.


Brian Martin:

  1. Golden State Warriors
  2. Phoenix Suns
  3. LA Clippers

Golden State’s The four-ring trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green is again for one more run. The Warriors have the younger expertise — Jordan Poole’s follow-up to a breakout season, the continued growth of Moses Moody, Jonathan Kuminga and James Wiseman — to not solely complement the core, however maintain this title rivalry window open. Despite an unpleasant loss to Dallas in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals, remember that Phoenix received eight extra video games than any workforce final season. Yes, Chris Paul is 37, however the remainder of the core — Deandre Ayton (24), Devin Booker (25), Mikal Bridges (26) and Cam Johnson (26) — is younger. That embarrassing loss to finish final season can both break a workforce or gasoline them to redemption. The phrase “if he is wholesome” is completely connected to Kawhi Leonard’s title when projecting the Clippers this season. If he is wholesome, LA boasts one among the deepest and most proficient rosters in the league. On paper, LA edges out Denver and its two “if he is wholesome” gamers: Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr.


Mark Medina:

  1. Golden State Warriors
  2. LA Clippers
  3. Memphis Grizzlies

The Warriors have the proper elements to defend their NBA championship. They have All-Star caliber gamers that are in their prime and totally wholesome (Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins). They have a confirmed coach that may deal with stars and function gamers (Steve Kerr). They have promising younger gamers outfitted for larger roles (Jordan Poole, Jonathan Kuminga and James Wiseman). The Clippers might disrupt the Warriors’ plans, although. Kawhi Leonard will return after lacking final season and a part of the 2021 playoffs due to a torn ACL in his proper knee. Paul George is anticipated to be totally wholesome. And the Clippers have saved most of their key rotation gamers (Nicolas Batum, Amir Coffey and Ivica Zubac) whereas including veteran level guard John Wall. The Grizzlies have sufficient youth and expertise to construct on final season’s second-round look. But they should wait their flip for one more season.

(*3*)

The Clippers might make a return to the high of the West standings.


Shaun Powell:

  1. LA Clippers
  2. Golden State Warriors
  3. Denver Nuggets

This is oh so harmful to conclude that the Clippers, nonetheless ready to justify the Kawhi Leonard-Paul George tandem, is all of the sudden going to place all of it collectively and likewise thwart the defending-champion Warriors. John Wall — the X of all X-factors — may have a say-so in the matter. It’s not usually when a defending champion returns with a better ceiling than the earlier season, however such is the case with the Warriors if solely as a result of James Wiseman will return and Jordan Poole will probably have one other gear left (and he’ll be taking part in for a contract). If Denver could be greater than respectable with out Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. — as was the case final season — what about once they return? Nikola Jokic might use the assist. And newcomer Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will convey championship expertise, big-shot making and perimeter protection.


John Schuhmann:

  1. Golden State Warriors
  2. LA Clippers
  3. Phoenix Suns

If you had been to take a look at the fifth- and eighth-best gamers in every rotation, the Clippers won’t be in the high three. But success in this league is pushed by the very high of the roster, and the Clippers have two of the best two-way wings in the league. Speaking of the very high of the roster, the Warriors have, arguably, the most impactful offensive participant and the most impactful defensive participant in the league. Those two are surrounded by championship expertise and a few younger guys with room to develop. The Suns had been, by a large margin, the best common season workforce final yr, ending in the high 5 in each offensive and defensive effectivity. They have a actually good high six they usually’re getting huge man Dario Saric again from damage.


Michael C. Wright:

  1. Golden State Warriors
  2. LA Clippers
  3. Phoenix Suns

The reigning champs confirmed resilience working via early rising pains final season to peak at simply the proper time. The lack of gamers reminiscent of Otto Porter Jr. and Gary Payton II would possibly harm some, however the additions of JaMychal Green and Donte DiVincenzo ought to offset that considerably, together with a few of the membership’s youthful gamers taking extra outstanding roles this upcoming season. Let’s additionally keep in mind that Klay Thompson needs to be even higher after easing into final season coming off main accidents. All that mentioned, it looks as if we’re sleeping on the Clippers, although. And that is a mistake as a result of the duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will probably be hell to take care of together with newcomer John Wall, who appears poised to return to the explosive participant we had been accustomed to watching. The Suns come into this season with nearly the similar squad that just about captured a title in 2020-21 however with a renewed sense of urgency after final season’s surprising loss to Dallas in the semifinals. Expect to see a laser-focused Phoenix group in 2022-23.


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