X

Have feedback / suggestions? Let us know!

NBA

NBA Power Ranking: Western Conference Post-Free Agency 2014

1 of 31

Western Conference Power Rankings

NBA Western Conference Power Rankings Post-Free Agency San Antonio Spurs
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

It's nearly August and the NBA's Free Agent season is winding down. While the Western Conference hasn't had any LeBron-esque departures (though the clock is ticking on a couple of guys named Kevin), moves have been made and the make-up of the conference has changed somewhat. Can the Spurs repeat? Will OKC ever get over the hump? What are the Lakers doing? Here is how the west stacks up as of this moment.

15. Sacramento Kings

Sacramento Kings DeMarcus Cousins NBA West Power Rankings
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

15. Sacramento Kings

Sacramento Kings DeMarcus Cousins NBA West Power Rankings
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

If Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins are healthy and coexisting, the Kings could actually outperform this slot by a wide margin. I like Nik Stauskas for them (though I wonder what he means for Ben McLemore). They could also be in play for Josh Smith or Rajon Rondo, if you're into that kind of thing. There is talent here, but I have to see it to believe it.

14. Utah Jazz

Utah Jazz Dante Exum NBA Western Conference Power Rankings
NBAE/Getty Images

14. Utah Jazz

Utah Jazz Dante Exum NBA Western Conference Power Rankings
NBAE/Getty Images

The Jazz will be even younger this coming season than they were last, but the future is bright with Dante Exum. Say what you will about the Gordon Hayward contract, but the terms of his deal don't cripple his club and he's one of the best playmaking wings in the league. It will take time for everything to come together in Salt Lake City, so patience will be a virtue for coach Quin Snyder.

13. Minnesota Timberwolves

Minnesota Timberwolves Kevin Love NBA Trade Power Rankings Western Conference - Copy
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

13. Minnesota Timberwolves

Minnesota Timberwolves Kevin Love NBA Trade Power Rankings Western Conference
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The T-Wolves are in a holding pattern as the Kevin Love situation continues to develop. The team has played close to .500 ball lately, but I fully anticipate that their star will get moved either in the coming weeks or by trade deadline. Kudos to them if they can pry Andrew Wiggins from Cleveland.

12. New Orleans Pelicans

New Orleans Pelicans Anthony Davis NBA Western Conference Power Rankings
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

12. New Orleans Pelicans

New Orleans Pelicans Anthony Davis NBA Western Conference Power Rankings
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmer-mania will run wild! In all seriousness, if Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon could stay healthy, and Omer Asik can spark a defensive improvement, the Pels could win some games. However, with the west being the west and the chance of their top guys playing full seasons probably being pretty low, I don't see it coming together in Nola.

11. Denver Nuggets

Denver Nuggets Aaron Afflalo NBA Western Conference Power Rankings
NBAE/Getty Images

11. Denver Nuggets

Denver Nuggets Aaron Afflalo NBA Western Conference Power Rankings - Copy
NBAE/Getty Image

Gary Harris was a steal for them in the draft. The return of Aaron Afflalo and the prospect of a healthy Danilo Gallinari could also be boons to a Denver rotation that is sneaky deep. The Nuggets could challenge for one of the final playoff spots, but the conference is probably too stacked to expect them to get there.

10. Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns Jeff Hornacek Eric Bledsoe NBA Western Conference Power Rankings
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

10. Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns Jeff Hornacek Eric Bledsoe NBA Western Conference Power Rankings
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Suns were the surprise team of the league last season and I think Jeff Hornacek is fabulous, but the loss of Channing Frye hurts and the Eric Bledsoe situation is still up in the air. Don't expect the crew in Phoenix to catch anyone off guard next season.

9. Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant Western Conference NBA Power Rankings - Copy
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

9. Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant Western Conference NBA Power Rankings
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As puzzling as some of their moves have been (Mitch Kupchak is collecting power forwards like David Kahn collected point guards), I can't count a healthy Kobe Bryant out. I also like Jeremy Lin for them (contract notwithstanding) and despite his age and reputation, Carlos Boozer is a winner. If he gets the playing time he should, Julius Randle could be a force. Maybe I'm crazy, but I think you need to keep on eye on the Lakers.

8. Golden State Warriors

Golden State Warriors Steve Kerr NBA Western Conference Power Rankings
Getty Images

8. Golden State Warriors

Golden State Warriors Steve Kerr NBA Western Conference Power Rankings
Getty Images

Scoff all you want—the Warriors nearly missed the playoffs last season and will be in danger of doing so again. I think Steve Kerr has a great basketball mind, but I want to see him earn the crazy deal he got. Shaun Livingston is a nice player and a good story, but the Warriors still haven't suitably replaced that Jarrett Jack/Carl Landry second unit that was so great for them.

7. Dallas Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki Tyson Chandler West Rankings NBA
NBAE/Getty Images

7. Dallas Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki Tyson Chandler West Rankings NBA - Copy
NBAE/Getty Images

Overpaid though he may be, I see Chandler Parsons having a chance to be really good for the Mavs. The loss of Vince Carter smarts a bit, but Mark Cuban's club was able to add some interesting veteran pieces in Richard Jefferson and Jameer Nelson. If the recently reacquired Tyson Chandler can return to form, Dallas will win 50+ games once again and be a tough out in the postseason.

6. Memphis Grizzlies

Memphis Grizzlies Vince Carter NBA Western Conference Power Rankings - Copy
NBAE/Getty Images

6. Memphis Grizzlies

Memphis Grizzlies Vince Carter NBA Western Conference Power Rankings
NBAE/Getty Images

Full disclosure—Vince Carter is one of my favorite players. Personal bias aside, he's a huge upgrade to Mike Miller. If Marc Gasol is healthy, Memphis is a top ten team in the league and a threat to make a run even in the murderer's row of the Western Conference.

5. Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets Trevor Ariza NBA Western Conference Power Rankings
NBAE/Getty Images

5. Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets Trevor Ariza NBA Western Conference Power Rankings
NBAE/Getty Images

You have to give it up to Daryl Morey for swinging for the fences, but losing out on Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony and Kyle Lowry, on top of losing Chandler Parsons to Dallas has to sting. James Harden's recent comments about role players are also disconcerting. Still, the return of Trevor Ariza will help Houston and that Harden/Dwight Howard combination remains a formidable duo.

4. Los Angeles Clippers

Los Angeles Clippers Spencer Hawes Doc Rivers Western Conference NBA Power Rankings
NBAE/Getty Images

4. Los Angeles Clippers

Los Angeles Clippers Spencer Hawes Doc Rivers Western Conference NBA Power Rankings - Copy
NBAE/Getty Images

Doc Rivers has become a fine coach and the Clippers were the best offensive team in the league last season. Spencer Hawes is a good addition and will ease some of the burden on Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan in the frontcourt, so it should be more of the same in 2014-15. That said, I'm not a believer in Lob City. They will still have the same issues defensively that they have always had.

3. Portland Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers Damian Lillard LaMarcus Aldridge NBA Western Conference Rankings - Copy
Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

3. Portland Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers Damian Lillard LaMarcus Aldridge NBA Western Conference Rankings
Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

LaMarcus Aldridge may be the best big man in the game and Damian Lillard is an elite point guard. Steve Blake will fill the Mo Williams role and Chris Kaman can be a solid back-up five-man for the Trail Blazers. Last year, Portland was a bit of a surprise team. Now they'll be expected to win.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder

Oklahoma City Thunder Kevin Durant NBA Western Conference Power Rankings
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

2. Oklahoma City Thunder

Oklahoma City Thunder Kevin Durant NBA Western Conference Power Rankings - Copy
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

As Kevin Durant's contract draws ever nearer to its conclusion, I can't help but scratch my head when their big move is replacing Thabo Sefolosha with Anthony Morrow. Some ill-timed injuries to Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka may have cost them the title (twice over). If they can't stay healthy and put it all together soon, KD's patience may reach its limit.

1. San Antonio Spurs

San Antonio Spurs Tim Duncan Western Conference NBA Power Rankings
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

1. San Antonio Spurs

San Antonio Spurs Tim Duncan Western Conference NBA Power Rankings - Copy
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

I know—Duncan and Ginobili will be a year older. Yes, Patty Mills will miss significant time this season. Give it up already; the Spurs are the Spurs. Kawhi Leonard is on the rise, Tony Parker is an MVP candidate and Gregg Popovich is still one of the best coaches in the game. Their system and the way the players fit into it is a joy to behold. Deal with it.

Ryan Aston covers the Utah Jazz for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @MrMaryKateOlsen or add him to your network on Google.