2012 NBA Western Conference Preview

The Dallas Mavericks have just won the team's first ever championship. With the help of star Dirk Nowitzki and role players Jason Terry, Jason Kidd, and Tyson Chandler, the Dallas Mavericks team was able to dominate the competition during the post season. As we look ahead during the off season it is inevitable that the Dallas Mavericks are at the top of the question-filled Western Conference.

On the one hand, we have the Spurs that have dominated the league in the last 10 years. Though they were once a team filled with veteran players (much like the Dallas Mavericks), the Spurs are no longer the same team. The team is coming off of an injury-riddled season and a disappointing first round loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. I agree with Tony Parker in the fact that this team needs changes now.

That brings me to my next team. The Memphis Grizzlies were one of the biggest surprises during the post season. During the regular season, this team struggled to even secure a playoff spot. Yet, during the playoffs the team was able to knock off the Spurs and was close to advancing to the Western Conference Finals. Still, maturity is an issue with this team. I cannot see the Grizzlies going too far next season. Yes, the team has many pieces to work with. (Memphis has the young point guard with Mike Conley and the young center with Marc Gasol. In addition, this team went all the way to the second round without their star player-- Rudy Gay). But, even with all of these star players, I am not ready to jump onto the bandwagon. I need to give this team a couple of years before they can truly become a "contender".

Much like the Grizzlies, the Thunder need time to mature. It became very evident that Kevin Durant is TOO unselfish. Kevin Durant must demand the ball in the crunch time in order to propel his team to victory. The Thunder is not going anywhere if Russell Westbrook shoots half of the team's shots. The team also has to consider whether or not the Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant tandem will work. Both seem to want to shoot the ball, which led to the team's loss to the champs"”the Dallas Mavericks.

Finally, the Lakers is another team that is in a mess. With Phil Jackson leaving the Lakers, the Lakers had to go out and hire Mike Brown. Mike Brown has a different philosophy with how he preaches "defense first". It is going to take a while for this team to transition out of the triangle offense and, thus, will not be going far in the playoffs next season. Furthermore, Kobe Bryant seems to have lost "his touch". If this team wants a chance to win a championship in the future, Kobe Bryant must get back to his normal self.

As you can see, the door is wide open in the Western Conference. If the Dallas Mavericks can resign Tyson Chandler and Deshawn Stevenson, this team is in good shape. The only questions that Dallas must ask itself it a) whether or not Jason Kidd is coming back and b) whether or not they want Caron Butler back.

Read More about 2012 NBA Predictions.

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