Monday , Nov , 10 , 2008 Oly Sandor

Ranking the Western Conference: L.A. Lakers, New Orleans Hornets, Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, and Houston Rockets

I used to call the Western Conference Rome. For years, they dominated the NBA like Caesar manhandled Europe. Not any more. While the west has many great players, the Lawrence O’Brien trophy currently resides in the Eastern Conference with Boston. Still, many Western Conference clubs are fully capable of wrestling back the NBA Title from the Celtics. In this edition of ‘Listed’, we ranked the left coast’s top five contenders through two weeks of the regular season …


Ranking the Western Conference: L.A. Lakers, New Orleans Hornets, Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, and Houston RocketsEvery week, HoopsVibe the Blog drops a basketball related list for fans to weigh-in on. We call it ‘Listed’ …

I used to call the Western Conference Rome. For years, they dominated the NBA like Caesar manhandled Europe. Not any more. While the west has many great players, the Lawrence O’Brien trophy currently resides in the Eastern Conference with Boston.

Still, many Western Conference clubs are fully capable of wrestling back the NBA Title from the Celtics. In this edition of ‘Listed’, we ranked the left coast’s top five contenders through two weeks of the regular season.

As always, read the post, form an opinion, and get at us in the comment box below.  

1) Los Angeles Lakers

Why: The purple-and-gold is a perfect 5-0. Yet, their play has been far from perfect. Kobe and company have been ice cold from the field, hitting 43% of field goal attempts through four games.

Two nights ago, they broke out against Houston, nailing over 50% of shots in a 111-82 romp. And the Lakers are arguably the league’s best defensive team, giving up a stingy 83 points per game. As the Rockets found out, L.A. is unstoppable when firing on all cylinders.

2) New Orleans Hornets

Why: Even with mediocre three-point range, Chris Paul still dominated last season. Despite defenders sagging, the jitterbug table-setter still got in the lane and found teammates.

Fast forward to 2008-09 and ‘CP3’ has connected on over 40% of attempts from beyond the arc. With opponents now forced to play-up on Paul, the All-Star will have more opportunities to create for David West and three-point marksmen like Rasual Butler, Morris Peterson, James Posey, and Peja Stojakovic.

Expect New Orleans to keep buzzing.

3) Utah Jazz

Why: Right now, the Jazz gets a slight nod over the Rockets and Suns for two reasons. First, they are 5-1 without star Deron Williams. This is remarkable. Last I checked the stocky table-setter makes everything go in the desert. Second, Utah is playing airtight defense, giving up a stingy 91 points per night. 

4) Phoenix Suns

Why: Sure, Terry Porter’s crew should establish an identity. For instance, are they a running team or a slow the pace, half-court crew? Amare Stoudamire’s continued development might allow Phoenix to play anyway it wants. STAT is that good.

5) Houston Rockets

Why: On paper, there is too much talent and defensive ability for Houston to again fall short. Unless, of course, something happens with you-know-who or another freak injury hits Yao or T-Mac.

Agree or disagree with our rankings? Well, tell us why. Even better, give us your own top five from the Western Conference. Come back to HoopsVibe the blog for more NBA tidbits and image provided courtesy of gumball monkey.