5th Oklahoma City Thunder

The loss of Kevin #Durant is the biggest talking point for OKC, and so it should. Not only have they lost one of the best players in the world, but they were already rather thin in the Small Forward position, and they have not acted upon changing that fact even with KD’s departure.

Russell Westbrook will elevate his game, while Steven Adams continues to improve. Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo are great pick-ups in a trade with the Orlando Magic, while Enes Kanter can also be a consistent 17-20 point scorer.

Expect Oladipo to elevate his level, while Westbrook becomes a prime MVP candidate, leading the Thunder to an impressive record and a good finishing position in the West.

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4th Memphis Grizzlies

 

With a starting-five of Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Chandler Parsons, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, the Grizzlies remain one of the biggest threats to the star teams in the West.

Keeping Conley was huge, and so will keeping Gasol healthy for the upcoming season. Their bench is stacked but lacks quality, and that could prove a problem in the big games, but if Parsons is on his best form throughout the season, then there is every reason for Memphis to enjoy another successful year.

3rd Los Angeles Clippers

Last season couldn’t have been littered with any more bumps for the Clippers, and they will hope that this year the star-filled roster finally fulfils its rich potential.

The core unit stays the same, while adding Alan Anderson, Brandon Bass and Marreese Speights could be huge if the additions work out as they hope.

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Blake Griffin must stay healthy, as he slowly but surely takes over as the star of this LA team. Brice Johnson could prove a fabulous addition if the rookie is afforded enough minutes off the bench.

2nd San Antonio Spurs

They won’t replicate their brilliant 2015-16 regular season, but in spite of the retirement of lifelong Spur Tim Duncan, this Spurs team has certainly improved as they look to unseat the Warriors domination of the West.

Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge continue the new era of Spurs basketball, but the veteran presence of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili as well as free agent Pau Gasol will be heavily influential in assuring that the Spurs manage the long season with their usual brilliance and with plenty left in the tank.

1st Golden State Warriors

Following on from their record breaking season, it didn’t seem possible for the Warriors to improve. But after losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in last season’s finals, they have done precisely that.

There have been many changes, most notably the addition of another superstar in Kevin Durant, turning this already great team into a juggernaut beyond belief.

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But they have lost plenty as well, including Andrew Bogut who has been replaced with Zaza Pachulia. A player unlikely to bring the same results at either end for Golden State.

With so much talent – including the two-time MVP Stephen #Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green – in their starting line-up then it is no surprise that the Warriors aren’t as deep as last year. But before you shed a tear for them, just remember they still have Andre Igoudala, Shaun Livingston and David West to hold the second unit together. #NBA