1. San Antonio Spurs, 19-7, 1st Southwest … Until the reigning champs go down to defeat in this year’s playoffs, they’re still the best team in the NBA, by far. Versatile and disciplined, the best blend of Offense, Defense & Rebounding in the league today.
2. Los Angeles Lakers … 17-10, 2nd Pacific … With new puzzle pieces this year (i.e. Derek Fish, in place of Smush Parker; Chris Mihm, returning from injury last season; and Trevor Ariza, in exchange for Maurice Evans & Brian Cook) and the expected growth in Andrew Bynum’s game, this team will soon be a Force again in the NBA, under the Zenmaster. A “Sleeper Pick” for this season.
3. Portland Trailblazers, 15-12, 2nd Northwest … The required building blocks are in place for this franchise to have an extended run of success at the very top of the NBA … once they add-in Greg Oden next year. No team in the league has a better core group of young players, plus an elite level head coach, than the Blazers.
When the Spurs and Kobe finally begin to wane, 5 or so years from now, it will be Portland that emerges as the #1 team, overall, in the Western Conference.