Time is no longer on my side with these NBA predictions.  That being said, I wanted to at least complete and document my full predictions.  Since the season is already almost a week old and my real life commitments are starting to pile up as the year draws to an end, I’ll phone it in here with one bulk review for the non-playoff teams in the West.  I’ll post the final standings for the West and the NBA as a whole at the end of the post along with some award predictions.

Minnesota Timberwolves – If Kevin Love was healthy, I’d be tempted to say they'll squeak into the playoffs.  I love this young roster and the core they’re building here in Minnesota.  When healthy, Love is probably the best PF in the NBA and if they can get Ricky Rubio back so he can continue to grow as an NBA player, the team will be set for the future.  It'll be interesting to see how Brandon Roy performs over the course of the season as he tries to return from debilitating knee injuries.  Certainly a team on the rise, but having a lot of potential doesn’t mean everything in the stacked West.

Utah Jazz – I’m a big fan of Al Jefferson.  If he played for a more prominent team in the NBA, he’d be a perennial All-Star.  The success for the Jazz this season hinges on young players stepping up and showing what kind of NBA players they're going to be.  Derrick Favors is a former 3rd overall pick and Enes Kanter was also picked 3rd overall in 2011.  We can also toss in newcomer Marvin Williams being a 2nd overall pick in 2005 and his disappointment since then.  If these guys can finally reach their potential - big "if" - then the Jazz could compete.

Portland Trail Blazers – I’m not convinced LaMarcus Aldridge is a guy who can carry a team all on his own.  He seems like a player that would be best served to play on a team where he’s the second option and defenses can’t focus all their attention on him.  Nicolas Batum is a very nice player, but again, he's no star.  Same goes for Wesley Matthews.  The team is riddled with solid role players, but nobody who can put the team on their back and lead them to victory.

Golden State Warriors – Every year I enjoy watching the Golden State Warriors.  Stephen Curry is an exciting young player that can fill the box score with ease.  He’s very injury prone, however, and the likelihood of him staying healthy for all 82 games this season is very slim.  Another key player that is full of injury questions is big man Andrew Bogut.  He was brought in midseason last year while out with an injury and he'll be counted on to help establish the Warriors as a formidable NBA team.  They've been a fun and exciting team for a few seasons now, they will have to try and step up and prove they can win consistently.

New Orleans Hornets – I love the Draft the Hornets had last summer.  It was the best in the NBA for my money.  Anthony Davis with the number 1 pick was a foregone conclusion, but then nabbing Austin Rivers with the 10th pick as well is what propelled them to the top in terms of quality drafting.  Both guys are sure to be mainstays for the franchise going forward as they try to return to the playoffs.  Al-Farouq Aminu has played very well in the first few games of this extremely young season and you can count me amongst his believers.  If these players continue to play well and Eric Gordon can eventually return healthy, the Hornets will be a young team to keep your eyes on in the West.

Sacramento Kings – Tyreke Evans is healthy and ready to go back to being the stud he was in his rookie year.  I expect big things from him this season, but that being said, it won’t do anything to make the Kings any more competitive.  DeMarcus Cousins has all the potential in the world but may be the most immature player in the league.  Too often he lets his emotions take over and it greatly hinders his game.  Thomas Robinson has the potential to be a decent big man in the NBA, but it may be a work in progress.  The only other player that will consistently contribute for the Kings is Marcus Thornton, who is one of the more underrated scoring guards in the league.

Phoenix Suns - I don't see a bright future for the Suns as of right now.  Steve Nash is gone and the team will be relying on guys like Goran Dragic and Marcin Gortat to keep them competitive.  Michael Beasley is a prototypical bust who makes his coaches hang their heads more than anything else.  I like the addition of Luis Scola, but on a team that is going to be this bad, it doesn't mean much.

Final West Standings:

1 – Los Angeles Lakers

2 – Oklahoma City Thunder

3 – San Antonio Spurs

4 – Los Angeles Clippers

5 – Denver Nuggets

6 – Memphis Grizzlies

7 – Dallas Mavericks

8 – Houston Rockets

9 – Minnesota Timberwolves

10 – Utah Jazz

11 – Portland Trail Blazers

12 – Golden State Warriors

13 – New Orleans Hornets

14 – Sacramento Kings

15 – Phoenix Suns

Full NBA Rankings:

1 – Miami Heat

2 – Los Angeles Lakers

3 – Oklahoma City Thunder

4 – San Antonio Spurs

5 – Los Angeles Clippers

6 – Boston Celtics

7 – Indiana Pacers

8 – Denver Nuggets

9 – New York Knicks

10 – Brooklyn Nets

11 – Memphis Grizzlies

12 – Dallas Mavericks

13 – Houston Rockets

14 – Chicago Bulls

15 – Philadelphia 76ers

16 – Atlanta Hawks

17 – Minnesota Timberwolves

18 – Utah Jazz

19 – Cleveland Cavaliers

20 – Portland Trail Blazers

21 – Golden State Warriors

22 – New Orleans Hornets

23 – Washington Wizards

24 – Milwaukee Bucks

25 – Toronto Raptors

26 – Orlando Magic

27 – Sacramento Kings

28 – Phoenix Suns

29 – Detroit Pistons

30 – Charlotte Bobcats

Awards:

MVP – LeBron James

Runner-Up – Kevin Durant

Rookie of the Year – Anthony Davis

Runner-Up – Dion Waiters

Coach of the Year – Scott Brooks

Runner-Up – Doc Rivers

Executive of the Year – Daryl Morey

Runner-Up – Pat Riley

Defensive Player of the Year – Serge Ibaka

Runner-Up – Dwight Howard

Sixth Man of the Year – Ray Allen

Runner-Up – Jason Terry

Most Improved Player – Paul George

Runner-Up – Kawhi Leonard

All-NBA First Team:

LeBron James

Kevin Durant

Dwight Howard

Kyrie Irving

Kobe  Bryant

All-NBA Second Team:

Deron Williams

Chris Paul

Dwyane Wade

Blake Griffin

LaMarcus Aldridge

All-NBA Third Team:

Carmelo Anthony

Chris Bosh

Marc Gasol

Russell Westbrook

James Harden

All-Rookie Team:

Anthony Davis

Dion Waiters

Bradley Beal

Austin Rivers

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

All-Rookie Second Team:

Royce White

Thomas Robinson

Harrison Barnes

Jared Sullinger

Kendall Marshall

All-Defensive Team:

Serge Ibaka

Dwight Howard

LeBron James

Andre Iguodala

Rajon Rondo

All-Defensive Second Team:

Tyson Chandler

Omer Asik

Thabo Sefolosha

Chris Paul

Gerald Wallace

NBA Championship:

Miami Heat defeat Los Angeles Lakers

Finals MVP – LeBron James

If you're looking for past teams I've already covered, click my name below the title to see a list of my articles.

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