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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Who Will Win the Western Conference?

According to at least one gambling site, the Lakers are by far the favorite to win the West. But how far ahead of the rest of the field are they? Los Angeles was 11 games better than any other Western team. But the Lakers are only 55 win percentage points better than the Trailblazers, .739 to .684, when using expected win percentage based on run differential. That’s a bit closer than the 134 point difference when looking at actual win percentage. Additionally the Lakers are most likely going to face the Jazz, Blazers, and Spurs/Nuggets. Certainly that’s tougher than the Pistons, Hawks/Heat, and Magic/Celtics that will meet Cleveland in the East.

So what do you think, can any Western team derail the Lakers?

{democracy:27}

17 comments on “Who Will Win the Western Conference?

  1. Owen

    Difficult to see anyone other than the Lakers going through, but they probably aren’t the best bet in that group….

  2. David Crockett

    Gotta roll with the Lakers, but I so want to pick the Blazers. Man, I love watching them play.

    Welcome back blog format!

  3. Z

    I’ll be truly surprised if the Lakers don’t come out of the West. They did it last year with a worse team. This year they have swagger. I don’t even think they face much stress in the first three rounds.

    But I think LeBron wins his first of many rings in this league this year.

    Hopefully his last couple can come as a member of our NY Knicks…

  4. TDM

    I think Denver wins the West behind the clutch free throw shooting of Balkman.
    Kidding aside, I think Denver poses the biggest challenge. Billups knows how to win at a high level, KMart is playing comparbly to his NJ years, they are tough offensively with Melo and JR, and defensively with KMart, Nene and Birdman.

    That’s my pick.

  5. jon abbey

    “expected win percentage based on run differential.”

    hehe, someone’s moved into baseball season already. :)

    Portland has beaten the Lakers seven times in a row in Portland, they’ve got a real shot if they can steal one of the first two in LA (and much more importantly and obviously, get past Houston in the first round who they don’t match up very well with).

  6. Z-man

    Looks like Rose had a coming out party last night vs. Celts. I’m shocked, shocked that Steph couldn’t step in and fill the talent and leadership void left by KG.

    Honestly, I love and respect KG, Pierce and Allen, but still hate the uniform and would love to see them get swept.

    I also think they made a huge blunder not keeping Posey (not sure whether it was an option, but I thought he was an immense X-factor last year, sort of like Horry was for so many teams. Some guys are just winners and Posey is one of them.)

  7. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    This is truly painful to read:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/19/sports/basketball/19help.html?_r=1

    Contrast that to this Times article from the Curry-era (2006).

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F01E3DD143FF93AA25757C0A9609C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1

    …The 2006 draft class is viewed as weak. In an informal survey of a half-dozen executives in the National Basketball Association, all asserted that Curry was better than anyone on the draft board. The executives — five general managers and one scouting director, representing five of the six divisions — were granted anonymity because they were not authorized to comment on another team’s player.

    Some of them qualified their assessment, noting that the choice depends on a team’s particular needs. But on talent alone, Curry got the nod every time.

    “Without a doubt,” an Eastern Conference scouting director said. “I wouldn’t even bat an eye to think about that one. There’s nobody in this draft that you’re going to add to your team and he’s going to make you a playoff contender.”

    That last sentiment was repeated by every person surveyed. An Atlantic Division scout took the argument one step further, saying that Curry was also better than anyone in the 2005 draft, with the exception of Chris Paul, the Hornets’ point guard.

    And, gulp, this one (2005):

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F02E1DD1130F937A35753C1A9639C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all

    Curry has shown immense promise in four seasons since going directly from high school to the N.B.A. in 2001. At 6 feet 11 inches and 285 pounds, he is strong and athletic and is generally regarded as one of the most talented young big men in the league. Curry averaged 16.1 points and 5.4 rebounds — in just 28.7 minutes a game — last season.

    Even if he improves only modestly, Curry will be the most talented center the Knicks have had since Patrick Ewing was in his prime.

  8. jon abbey

    Thomas and Noah are solid players with a lot of upside still, but they’d be sitting home watching the playoffs on TV also if Chicago hadn’t lucked into Derrick Rose last year.

  9. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Thomas and Noah are solid players with a lot of upside still, but they’d be sitting home watching the playoffs on TV also if Chicago hadn’t lucked into Derrick Rose last year.

    Yeah but Rose would be at home watching the playoffs if the Bulls still had Eddy Curry instead of Thomas and Noah.

  10. jon abbey

    well, the point remains that those two play PF, the only position we actually have a real player (at least until this summer). Ariza, Rondo, Bynum, these are the guys that bum me out/piss me off, and we easily could have had all of them with or without the Curry deal.

  11. Gorky

    And to engage in some spamming/promotion, if any of you are bored without the Knicks to complain about and want to follow a pathetic team stuck in a cycle of mediocrity, I urge you to check out the New York area’s Major League Soccer team, Red Bull New York. Unfortunately, there’s not much statistical analysis in soccer, at least not yet.

  12. Z-man

    Geez, what happened to Orlando in the 4th quarter? Obviously, Turkoglu didn’t show up for this one. Big game by Dwight, though.

    Orlando doesn’t have much of a bench, it seems. On the other hand, Philly’s bench looks deep. Did they just wear the Magic down?

  13. Z-man

    Atlanta looks tough. Josh Smith just threw down a ridiculous alley-oop slam off a Bibby feed. They might match up really well with Cleveland.

  14. d-mar

    Iguodala doesn’t get enough credit for being a guy not afraid to take the big shot, and he’s made a few big ones this season and yesterday. May be one of the most underrated players in the NBA, and the type of player I’d like the Knicks to have.

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