NBA Picks: NBA Western Conference Power Rankings

Jordan Sharp

Thursday, January 31, 2013 7:02 PM GMT

Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013 7:02 PM GMT

The term ‘wild wild West’ is normally a sad cliché or reference to a horrific late 90s Will Smith film. However this season, I can think of no better term to describe the NBA's Western Conference.

NBA Western Conference Power rankings update

Teams are emerging and falling off left and right, and with the exception of the top few teams, the playoff picture in the West is far from being able to accurately predict. However I am here to try and do just that so that maybe we can get a jump on some of the upcoming NBA picks.

  1. San Antonio Spurs (Up one spot, 37-11 SU, 27-19-2 ATS, 1st in West standings)

San Antonio has rallied off nine straight wins, and now they sit one and a half games up on the Oklahoma City Thunder for the number one seed in the Western Conference. Despite their nine straight wins, their ATS numbers have been coming back down to earth. However that does not diminish what they have done without Tim Duncan in the lineup. Duncan has missed the Spurs’ last four games, and five out of their last six. I don't care what sport you're in; winning nine straight games is an accomplishment, especially when you did five of them without your best player. The Spurs deserve to be number one, however Vegas has gotten smarter with them as their ATS record is declining.

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder (Down one spot, 34-11 SU, 25-17-3 ATS, 2nd in West standings)

The Thunder could not hang in with the Lakers on Sunday night, as their legs were just too tired coming off the long road trip. They now will have had three days off before their game this evening against the Grizzlies, and with the trade of Rudy Gay it appears Oklahoma City should have themselves a good win tonight. However their recent road woes are bit concerning. If the Thunder do not grab the top spot in the Western Conference, I think that seriously decreases the betting odds of them getting back to the NBA finals.

  1. Los Angeles Clippers (34-13 SU, 27-20 ATS, 3rd in West standings)

Much like last week the Clippers are still awaiting their best player, Chris Paul, and even though this team is extremely talented still without him, they are losing some of the ground they have made without him. They have gone 2-2 SU since my last power rankings update, and it's looking more and more like Paul might end up missing through the All-Star break. This team is taking no chances with their star player, especially because this could be the last year they have him. Paul is once again set to be a free agent, and the Clippers are going to need a deep run into the playoffs if they want to convince him to stay.

  1. Memphis Grizzlies (29-15 SU, 26-17-1 ATS, 4th in West standings)

Memphis apparently realized that there are three better teams than them in the Western Conference, and last night finalized a trade that sent arguably their best player to Toronto. Rudy Gay is now a member of the Raptors, and Jose Calderon is a Piston. In return for Gay, Memphis gets back young and promising big man Ed Davis from Toronto, as well as NBA champion Tayshaun Prince and young combo forward Austin Daye from Detroit. Memphis also got back a second round pick. I think this is an incredible move for the Grizzlies, both for their payroll and even a little bit for this season. If Prince can give them a solid presence as a starting small forward defensively, along with Davis and Daye backing up Prince, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, this team could climb in the West. This is the second trade the Grizzlies have been involved in already this season, so let’s see if they can catch the West’s top three. It might take them a while ATS, but I think they will turn around and have good value after the All Star break.

  1. Denver Nuggets (up one spot)
  2. Golden State Warriors (down one spot)
  3. Houston Rockets (up one spot)
  4. Los Angles Lakers (previously unranked)


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