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15 Questions, 15 Teams: The 2013-2014 NBA Western Conference Preview

The NBA is about to start. Our heads are bursting with questions. Here are the ones directed at the league's Western Conference.
by Raul Maningat | Oct 29, 2013
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Ilang tulog na lang, every Pinoy basketball fan will again be having his daily diet of grade "A" hoops action as the 2013-2014 NBA season commences on October 30 (Manila time).  But before that, taste a couple of scrumptious appetizers that we've prepared for you. This particular starter is all about the NBA's Western conference. 

The West was won by the Spurs, pretty handily, last season but with all the twists and turns that we've seen and are still seeing, who knows what will happen this time around? The huge developments that took place during the off-season--D12 teaming up with Harden, the Clips' hiring of Doc Rivers and Iggy joining the Dubs, just to name a few--have undeniably reshaped the landscape of the Western conference.

The West alone has produced enough subplots to get us pumped up for the upcoming NBA season. With all the player movements, the new rivalries brewing and young stars emerging, it's only natural to come up with questions concerning every single team in the Western conference. We feel that this time is just about right to address those queries, so here we go!   

If you want to read our preview of the East, you can click here.

1. Los Angeles Lakers - Will Mike D'Antoni get fired before the season ends?

Mike D' Antoni's lack of desire to incorporate a substantial defensive scheme in his coaching structure has put him in the blacklist of the purple and gold's most die-hard fans. It seems like Lakers big boss, Jim Buss is just waiting for one more major f*ck up, like starting the season 0-10, before he finally withdraws his irrational support of the beleaguered coach. With Kobe still sidelined, every citizen of Laker Nation will be watching Mr. D' Antoni's every move, from the opening game against the Clippers until the last day he forces his offense-first approach on the Lakers. The season has yet to begin and we'll say Coach "No D" Antoni's already has one foot in the grave.  

2. Los Angeles Clippers - Will the Clips reach the conference finals?

CP3 made a lot of noise when he arrived in L.A. two years ago. But for all the dunks and the alley-oops he's orchestrated, Lob City has yet to make it beyond the second round. The Clippers have been solely relying on Paul to generate the team's offense and to a certain extent, it worked. Come playoff time, though, where you run into defensive monsters such as the Spurs and the Grizzlies, the one man show just won't cut it. However, things are looking much different now for Paul and company. The team's core is still intact--Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Matt Barnes and Jamal Crawford will all be back--plus the Clips' hired the services of highly decorated coach, Doc Rivers.

Adding to that are these long range gunners: J.J. Reddick and Jared Dudley, along with a solid backup for CP3 in Darren Collison. Diversity in the Clippers' offense is imminent. Let's say you're the best pure point guard in the world, you've got an NBA champion head coach, two freak athletes in your front court, a bunch of terrific shooters around you and a starting PG for your substitute, what else do you need to be a threat in your conference? CP3 has more than enough weapons at his disposal to make it through to the West finals.    

3. Phoenix Suns - What can we be excited about in Phoenix?

Channing Frye is back! What? No? It doesn't quite have the same ring to it as D. Rose's return, does it?  The best player in this outfit is Slovenian point guard Goran Dragic whose career averages are 9.5 ppg. and 4.2 apg. You can count on him to make amazing plays here and there but not much more. Phoenix drafted 7' 1" project, Alex Len from Maryland and recently traded away their starting center, Marcin Gortat for the injury-riddled Emeka Okafor.

The moves the Suns made suggest that they're not looking to do anything but increase their chances of having to pick first among next year's stacked draft class, led by the high-flying Andrew Wiggins. Phoenix is in rebuilding mode, the days when they were the most fun-to-watch team in the NBA are long gone. But if they do win the Wiggins sweepstakes, next season will be a complete turnaround.  

4. Sacramento Kings - How many technical fouls will DeMarcus Cousins be called for this season?

The NBA's newest bad boy comes in the form of 6' 11", 270 pound Sacramento KIngs PF/C, DeMarcus "Boogie" Cousins.  Boogie is undoubtedly one of the most highly skilled big men in the league, even the USA national team pool recognizes his talent, but his impressive play has always been overshadowed by his antics. He has had run-ins with players, broadcasters, coaches, dogs, squirrels, etc.--you name 'em he's butted heads with 'em. Latest proof that he is the league's ultimate head case is his league-leading 17 technical fouls last season. Shaq just became part-owner of the Kings and has vowed to help Boogie with his issues.

Under O' Neal's guidance, we bet that Cousins will get only 16 T's this season. If that happens, does that make him NBA's medyo bad boy?  

5. Golden State Warriors - How can Andre Iguodala make the Dubs better? 

Everybody knows what the Splash bros., Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, do--they shoot the ball through an invisible pipe that leads right to the basket. That's why the duo will constantly be marked men for opposing teams' defenses. The Warriors understood that they needed to have another player on the floor who can make things happen when the two shooters are being hampered by their defenders. And so Golden State lured Andre Iguodala with a 4-year,48 million dollar contract. Sans injuries, the Warriors will get their money's worth with Iggy.

Not only is he a playmaker, he's also a lockdown defender. He'll be a key guy if the Dubs collide with the Spurs once again in the playoffs. He'll probably be asked to stop Ginobili, match up against Kawhi Leonard or, sometimes, even guard Tony Parker – tasks, he is capable of accomplishing. Iggy will have an impactful stay in Oakland as he brings in versatility on both ends of the floor.   

NEXT: Who's going to be the alpha bear for the Grizzlies? What Dirk will we see? How are the Spurs going to surprise us this season?

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