Earlier this week, TGH took a look into some of the surprising teams in the Eastern Conference, featuring the Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers.
To wrap up the week, TGH is taking a look into surprise teams in the West. This list will be a little more difficult to break down because if you take a look at the NBA standings for the Western Conference, all the teams that you’d expect to do well are doing well.
There’s four “for sure” teams (Clippers, Lakers, Nuggets and Jazz) followed by a scramble for the last four playoff spots.
This will list will require a little more breakdown, so let’s get right into it.
The Jazz have always been a Western Conference powerhouse. Since the days of John Stockton and Karl Malone, to Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer, it seems that Utah has found their next generation of stars.
Since coming into the league, Donovan Mitchell’s skills have grown exponentially, and he’s morphing into a superstar talent. Not to mention stud center from France, Rudy Gobert, on his side, this team is solid.
The reason they’re a surprise: everyone knew the Jazz would be good, but not this good. They currently hold the number one seed in the West.
The Jazz are on a 10-game winning streak, not losing a game since January 6, which was a 112-100 loss to the Knicks in New York.
Potential candidate for Sixth Man of the Year, Jordan Clarkson, is second in scoring for Utah, averaging just under 18 points per game. Clarkson leads a bench full of solid role players for head coach Quin Snyder.
For the Jazz to prove that they’re a team to be reckoned with, they’ll have to prove themselves against other top teams like the Lakers, Clippers and Nuggets. Then the world will see if they’ll be able to compete for a title.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors have had their fair share of unfortunate moments that last two seasons. Since the departure of Kevin Durant, the Warriors success has gone down the drain.
It all starts with circumstances surrounding Klay Thompson. Thompson missed last season due to a torn ACL in his left knee. After a year-long rehab, he was set to return to the court this season, but then injured his Achilles on his right foot, making him miss another full season.
Despite the Warriors being injury riddled the last two years, they’ve still managed to be somewhat successful this year. But why are they a surprise team?
It’s because they have found a way to still compete. They aren’t as bad as many people had anticipated.
The play of two-time MVP Steph Curry has elevated this squad. Curry is leading the team in points per game (27.7), accumulating a 10-9 record, good enough for ninth place in the West.
Although Golden State doesn’t seem to be a threat on paper, don’t sleep on this team to make a run later this season.
San Antonio Spurs
If you take a look at their roster, it’s compiled of two former all-stars and a lot of great role players, yet Gregg Popovich has been able to get the job done.
San Antonio is a surprise team because they’re a small market that has flown under the radar. They’re overlooked by teams like the Lakers and Clippers that get all the publicity and they still find a way to win.
Looking at their schedule, they’ve already gotten some difficult games out of the way against the Lakers and Clippers. They have games coming up against the Grizzlies, Warriors and several Eastern Conference teams, which are very winnable.Surprise Teams in the Western Conference
The Spurs are another team in the West that could surprise a lot of people. Although they might not have an all-star, they still have a group of guys that’ll be able to go to battle on any given night.
They’ll be a team to look to compete for a bottom seed in the West come playoff time.
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