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2020-2021 NBA Season Preview: Western Conference

How’s this for a Hollywood ending? The Lakers did it for Kobe, but still the job, like Rob is not done. After bubbling in Florida behind the talents of King James and the Kareem to his Magic, AD the purple reigning champs are ready to defend their throne in the L.

Los Angeles Lakers Lebron James 2020 2021 Nba Season Preview Western Conference
Los Angeles Lakers Lebron James 2020 2021 Nba Season Preview Western Conference

Southwest Division

Dallas Mavericks

Luka Dončić like LeBron said is a “bad mother”…shut your mouth! Now as long as the Mavericks don’t get shafted again we’re looking at one great run through the Texas triangle like a Tex Winter play. As soon as Kristaps Porzingis gets Knicks healthy we will have the dynamic duo we only wish we could have seen as a big-three with Nowitzki.

Dirk has passed the baton to the beacon of light that is Dončić. Add another former Madison Square Garden favourite back for another go-round in the Southern state in Tim Hardaway Jr. and it won’t long before Mark Cuban is lighting up his last namesake like Red.

Jalen Brunson keeps it in the NBA family and Willie Cauley-Stein literally takes it higher. But Dallas begins and ends with the bad M.F. Luka Dončić may be the best Euro the NBA has ever seen since Drazen Petrovic.

Houston Rockets

How many times have I made the Apollo 13 reference? Well, not this time! Houston have more than problems and James Harden finally showing up for preseason like Christian Bale preparing for roles isn’t going to cut it. After demanding a trade he made the team chemistry bubble over and threaten to acid burn everyone in sight.

First Chris Paul. Now the Russell reunion after Oklahoma? Thank goodness for the covalent bond of former Kentucky Wildcats DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall. The latter being brought in from the Washington, Westbrook trade.

Those two could ball out like bathrobes. Cousins was still a star that was deemed not playing fair when he signed with Golden State and last year looked ready to be dominant with the King’s dynasty until he went down and Dwight Howard took his spotlight for a Hollywood ending to his Los Angeles times.

If Cousins is healthy like Wall, this ‘Cat can be a king like Sacramento. However, Houston has a lot more health issues grounding them right now, and it has nothing to do with the physical. On a more positive note Kenyon Martin Jr. who has hops like pops is about to show you how what runs in the family, runs the floor. If only the rest of the squad could become a family in Rocket red thicker than water.

San Antonio Spurs

Pop goes Coach’s Spurs again. How does the most consistent franchise on-court not get more respect? Cue the Leonard laugh. Sure this team is about as exciting as a Kawhi quotable, but it’s window of opportunity has been open longer than your apartments one in Summer.

From the days Duncan/Robinson was not a Miami Heat sharpshooter, to the original big-three with Manu and Tony Parker. Now Duncan sits on the side-lines with future coach Becky Hammon and watches his clone LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan who defied a Compton homecoming in California to run it back.

San An is as reliable and to non-purists unremarkable as Rudy Gay and Patty Mills. Even Lonnie Walker IV’s hair became boring, but if he blows up then this team will really go forth.

Memphis Grizzlies

Ja Morant almost ended Kevin Love’s career…if not his life. You love to see it…the dunk, not the career or demise of one of the associations best bigs. Then again if you thought that was a dunk, Zion came through and blew the horn, dunking all over Morant’s Rookie of the Year campaign. Ja still rules though.

Plus with Jaren Jackson Jr., Jonas Valanciunas and Justice Winslow the Grizz’s new grit is a few additions away from multiplying. Between me and you though, they can’t put it all on Ja if they want to reign. Pain isn’t love if this young star gets so banged up he can’t play. Time to have Morant roll with someone that can truly rock before it gets colder than a Vancouver throwback. Word to Bryant Reeves.

New Orleans Pelicans

Crescent City, Mardi Gras. New Orleans are another name change away from being everyone’s favourite. The Big Easy has never been this big…and it’s about to look more than easy. Rising from the swamp of the Anthony Davis fallout, their haul is still in prime position folks. Even if AD ended up the champ. All-star Brandon Ingram got PAID.

Josh Hart is still one of the best role players in the league…even if he isn’t one of the best ‘Call of Duty’ ones and now LaMelo is the new LaVar hype, Lonzo Ball is free to throw alleys to Rookie of the Year Zion until Williamson becomes the new ‘Bron.

Oh and this incredibly young and talented team added last Oklahoma City Thunder star standing Steven Adams and former next great Eric Bledsoe to the J.J Redick veteran mix. Now the Pels have the perfect combination for championship contention. I give it a few years before there’s a whole new parade in the N.O. That’s all folks.

Northwest Division

Utah Jazz

Take note, the Jazz just re-upped with Rudy Gobert. If all is good post-COVID fallout with superstar Donovan Mitchell now, expect Utah’s chances out West to be the same. No need to rub salt in the wounds, it’s time to heal in Salt Lake City.

Mike Conley’s second straight season could see the Jazz really run and Jordan Clarkson and his new, richly deserved contract always have the potential to be Sixth Man of the Year, or heat up like microwave dinners for those who work nights.

Bojan Bogdonavic is big and Utah is deeper than the desert. We just hope they see the same potential we always thought Derrick Favors could reach. However, there’s not much you can trust more than the reliable. Like a Stockton and Malone pick and roll. Or music to your ears in a game that’s between the notes but always on key like this franchise name that still feels like it belongs in New Orleans. Speaking of a name change.

Denver Nuggets

Things to do in Denver when you almost left LeBron done. Re-sign Jerami Grant. Erm. The Nuggets almost mined the champs, but this off-season they lost one of their most outstanding players. Not much of a matter when you have Canada’s next great in Jamal Murray.

The kind of superstar even Donovan Mitchell and Ja Morant and their soaring seasons and big Bubbles wish they could be. Add The Joker Nikola holding all the front-court cards with Manute’s son Bol Bol and new rookie Vlakto Cancar and the Nugs will do anything but canter.

Making a gallop in this game. Forget gold like teams in purple, with young stars like Michael Porter Jr. and vets like Paul Millsap the Nuggets have all the horses to drag them to the top of the Wild West.

Minnesota Timberwolves

The Twin Cities now have twin talents in day one friends Karl-Anthony Towns (our thoughts are with him after all he’s been through this year) and day one friend D’Angelo Russell after a mid-season trade with the Golden State Warriors. Now with ice truly in his veins in the cold of Minnesota, Russell is no longer loading like with LA, the Warriors, or even his Brooklyn All-star breakout that deserved better.

Now Kat and D-Lo are the new Garnett and Marbury. Give them a remix of that iconic Da Kid and Starbury SLAM cover like the ‘Showbiz and KL’ of Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love. This is the biggest identity for Minny since Da Big Ticket KG tried to punch above his weight with Sprewell and Cassell. Minneapolis used to purple reign in Prince’s Paisley town with Elgin Baylor’s MLPS. Now they’re howling at a brand new moon with number one pick Anthony Edwards in the spot. Oh, and Ricky Rubio is back too.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Fancy a move back to Seattle? It’s still hard to believe that Russell Westbrook isn’t a Thunder player anymore (why not?). Yet the former MVP is with his second team in as many a year after his Rocket reunion with former OKC teammate James Harden didn’t go exactly A-OK. At least he’s been seen making friends with Kevin Durant again in a time were we all need to bury the hatchet and let bygones be bygones. You love to see it.

From Paul George to Carmelo Anthony, Victor Oladipo to Dennis Schroder. Even all the guys they tried to surround this zero hero with are gone. At least they still have Steven Ada…oh, wait! Al Horford joins the promising talent of Justin Jackson and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Alongside valuable vets like George Hill and an A.W.O.L.

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Trevor Ariza who in one week changed jobs more times than Bill Bixby’s seventies ‘Incredible Hulk’ show. Chris Paul took them far in the Bubble, but this year the only thing that will be popping is lottery balls.

Portland Trail Blazers

When will Paul George learn? He kept trying to knock Damian Lillard and then Dame Time clocked him and his former team (see above) from deep, for that camera stare down, iconic clutch moment. Then as a Clipper he kept talking and now everyone’s taking shots at him…although that isn’t right either. The blazing City Of Roses’ Portland team are still on a trail whilst the opposition really smells like poo-poo-ooh (love to OutKast).

They almost had last years Bubble breakers in the first round after the first game before the King was crowned champion. Dame and CJ McCollum still rival the best back-court in the league now that Westbrook has joined Beal in Washington and the Splash Brother of Klay Thompson is injured again after Steph Curry’s return.

Add the great journeyman Enes Kanter to a roster of roles belonging to the likes of Jusuf Nurkic and Gary Trent Jr. and you really have something here. Just like the re-signing of legend Carmelo Anthony after a season more storybook than Howard’s end in Hollywood. Portland in their new Oregon jerseys for the city may have stayed ‘Melo, but when it comes to on-court they’re anything but calm.

Pacific Division

Golden State Warriors

The Dub dynasty ain’t dead. Steph Curry is back…and boy have we missed him like everyone else has written him off. Such is sports. Yet flying like a Bird with a legend like Larry for his O’Brien, Stephen is the greatest shooter this game has seen. He was ready to make a Splash again with his back-court brother this year until Klay Thompson in a cruel twist of fate went down with another season ending injury.

With Thompson healthy and defensive Draymond Green, Golden State has a legendary big-three of Duncan, Ginobili and Parker longevity. Even if Durant is gone. D’Angelo Russell didn’t last too long with Splash in his veins either. With Andrew Wiggins, Kent Bazemore and Kelly Oubre Jr. the Warriors have plenty of players ready to dip a toe though.

Yet thanks to a no tank lottery year San Francisco have some new gold for their state in the second pick in the 2020 NBA draft, James Wiseman. Speaking of San Antonio, once Klay has his day again this could be like the time the Spurs clicked their heels with Tim Duncan forming the twin towers with the Admiral, David Robinson. From not making the playoffs to being NBA champions. Sometimes losing seasons make winners out of us all.

Los Angeles Clippers

The defensive dog and former spurned Lakers draft choice loved the fact that last year’s free agent Kawhi Leonard did the same to LeBron’s men and then was joined by former Laker target Paul George last Summer in Clipper land.

Say what Twitter does about this star who was actually going through a deep depression we should all sympathize with respectfully, but he’s essentially a Tracy McGrady and a player purple and gold fans would defend to the death if we was on the other side of STAPLES. This looked to win the battle of Los Angeles like Brooklyn in a fight for NY with a more storied Knicks. Any team Kawhi is on can go all the way right? Not exactly. Just another misunderstood reason why you shouldn’t sleep on Toronto.

The Clippers needed more depth and understanding of what it takes to play like a team. They could have learned from LeBron. Pat should learn from new neighbour Marc Gasol. He was a traded draft pick too (for his brother), but you don’t see him complaining.

Now the reigning champs have just swiped Montrezl Harrell from the cross-arena STAPLE that usually picks their pockets (Lou Will, Zubac, almost the other Morris twin) too…and you should see Pat’s Twitter. Time for the Clippers to regroup with big vets like Batum and Ibaka off the market. Although it’s all on Kawhi and PG to either be the talk of barbershop, or clippings ready to be swept, dustpan and brush.

Los Angeles Lakers

How’s this for a Hollywood ending? The Lakers did it for Kobe, but still the job, like Rob is not done. After bubbling in Florida behind the talents of King James and the Kareem to his Magic, AD the purple reigning champs are ready to defend their throne in the L.

You would think losing the likes of a Hollywood ending Dwight Howard, Avery Bradley, Playoff Rondo, a back-to-back champ contributor and unfairly treated Danny Green, JaVale McGee, DeMarcus Cousins and Quinn Cook (briefly), not to mention Bubble boys J.R. Smith and Dion Waiters would be devastating.

But adding Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell, Wesley Matthews Jr. (senior was a Showtime member) and Marc Gasol for the new do-over season is just dominating. Especially whilst re-signing Markieff Morris, KCP and the big one…Jared Dudley. The Lakers also kept hold of someone called Anthony for five and extended the Brady like ‘Bron until his 40th birthday and what could be NBA history with ‘Bronny.

Even if they’ll never get Giannis next year now, they’ve still got an Antetokounmpo in Kostas. Not to mention the GOAT in Alex Caruso. All this and even Kyle Kuzma has been playing like a Showtime smooth Jamaal Wilkes this preseason with his Jesus stroke from beyond the arc. No wonder the Lake Show no longer blocked his contract demands. Extending him yesterday. All this and then the THT of Talen Horton-Tucker breaks out in the preseason like the next Eddie Jones or young core star.

Don’t trade this one! Now all that’s left as history looks to repeat itself is to add the brother Marc Gasol’s original Lakers draft rights were traded for back in the day. Side-by-side it’s the only way to honour Pau properly before putting the number 16 who helped the Lakers reach sweet sixteen up in the rafters. Kobe will be watching…and smiling.

Phoenix Suns

That 70-point showing from Devin Booker back in the day was all the hype you needed. How he and the rising Suns blazed the Bubble in Florida was just the justification. If only they could have made it to the playoffs. Looking up from the hardwood, Book see’s a new order in Phoenix that is pure Potter magic.

Looking even better than those Valley uniforms for the city. The arrival in the desert of point guard legend Chris Paul to his back-court. The Suns are about to shine on everybody now.

Ready to rise like a WNBA Mercury with another GOAT like Taurasi. Yet it’s the monster Deandre Ayton that’s been playing huge this preseason. Threes’ don’t get much bigger than this and with CP3’s leadership the dynamic duo of the future will scorch like the tip of a lit fuse…and boom goes the dynamite.

Sacramento Kings

This fan can’t stop trolling Sacramento on Twitter. I’m sorry. I can’t help it. What do you expect me to do when you ask us to name our favourite King? Marvin Bagley III, Jabari Parker, Harrison Barnes, Hassan Whiteside, De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Cory Joseph, Glenn Robinson III. There’s plenty to choose from.

Now it’s time for one to step-out, step-up, take the lead and make their name. Even the Kings amongst Kings, Bibby/J-Will, Hedo, Peja and general manager Vlade were led by C-Webb. Only one can wear the crown and out in California when it comes to Kings, there’s not much room on the throne.

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