With the playoffs set to start tomorrow, below are one of each team’s strengths and weaknesses in the Western Conference Playoffs.
Golden State Warriors (73-9)
Strength: This is the best regular-season team in NBA history. They have a star-studded lineup led by MVP Stephen Curry and a deep bench. They are the title favorites and nothing less than that would be a disappointment.
Weakness: If Curry and Klay Thompson are cold from three point land, the team can struggle to score. Teams should look to guard the three point line and force the Warriors to hit jump shots and lay-ups.
San Antonio Spurs (67-15)
Strength: This team has the leadership and the coaching to win the NBA Finals. No other team can match their experience and this will come into play in the postseason. With a lockdown defense, the Spurs have their eyes on an NBA title.
Weakness: When the game’s tempo is increased, the Spurs lose their offensive flow and are unable to defend as efficiently. They must control the pace.
Oklahoma City Thunder (55-27)
Strength: The Thunder have the best 1-2 combination in basketball right now with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Nobody else can match this. They also have the third highest field goal percentage behind Golden State and San Antonio, indicating this team can really score.
Weakness: Oklahoma City consistently blows fourth quarter leads to the disappointment of many. Despite having two great scorers, they often come up short. This has to chance in a tough Western Conference. The team also has 15.9 turnovers per game, the fourth highest in the league.
Los Angeles Clippers (53-29)
Strength: Los Angeles has the third fewest turnovers in the league at 13.0 per game. Chris Paul does a great job of handling the ball and keeping his team under composure. DeAndre Jordan is also one of the best shot-blockers in the NBA and commands a big presence on the defensive end.
Weakness: Blake Griffin is still easing back into NBA action after his injury and the Clippers need him to be healthy. He is a great passer and scorer. He is vital to the team’s success if they want to advance past both Portland and Golden State. Even if the numbers suggest Los Angeles could be better without him, he is too good of a player.
Portland Trailblazers (44-38)
Strength: The Trailblazers have one of the best backcourts in the NBA in Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. These two have emerged as the main scoring options for Portland and represent a big fraction of their points. Lillard can score at will and should give any opponent problems.
Weakness: Their strength is also their weakness. If Lillard and McCollum fail to have big games, this team will lose. They do not have many other scoring options and have a weak front court. This team needs their two guards to light it up.
Dallas Mavericks (42-40)
Strength: Dirk Nowitzki is ageless and can hit shots when it counts. Dallas has plenty of veterans with playoff experience and will rely on this in the playoffs. They also have a great coach in Rick Carlisle.
Weakness: The Mavericks are full of crafty veterans but they showed some fatigue late in the season. After a strong start, they did not finish strong. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues in the postseason.
Memphis Grizzlies (42-40)
Strength: Zach Randolph is a very good post up scorer and Memphis always has a great home court advantage in the postseason. This team will rely on their crowd to win games.
Weakness: Health. The Grizzlies are currently the worst playoff team by a big margin. Without Marc Gasol or Mike Conley, this team doesn’t deserve to be in the postseason.
Houston Rockets (41-41)
Strength: Houston has been hot lately and James Harden has looked like his former self. He is a great scorer and will give Golden State issues.
Weakness: The Rockets have vastly underachieved this year and are playing Golden State. If they win the series, it will be the greatest upset of all time.