How The West Will Be Won: Take These Odds While They’re Hot

Everyone’s raving about the Western Conference (including myself, yesterday).

While teams are sneaking into the playoffs in the East with atrocious records, there is an extremely entertaining struggle for the last two spots in the West among five teams over .500 (Suns, Mavs, Grizz, Warriors and Wolves).

But I want to save you some time.

The Spurs will win the Western Conference.

The Thunder are incredibly athletic. After regaining Westbrook, I don’t know if another team in the league can match their front line’s raw talent.

The Clippers and Rockets are making great cases down the stretch. Blake Griffin’s pushing for an MVP ballot slot, Dwight Howard is himself again and both squads are healthy and scoring the ball without issues.

However —

The Spurs will win the Western Conference.

It’s not just because they’ve been there. It’s not just because they have veterans. It’s because no one plays more consistent basketball than the guys from San Antonio. No coach in the league has better perspective on an 82-game season than Greg Popovic, who has no issue taking heat in February for sitting his all-star point guard with little explanation.

I know the Thunder took the Spurs down in 2012 before getting slashed by Miami in the finals.

When they had James Harden coming off their bench.

I know that Serge Ibaka has improved drastically since then on both sides of the floor, but they lost a max contract guy from their rotation. I have yet to understand why people didn’t dock their team talent points for that. Jeremy Lamb is no James Harden.

So, for the record, I’m taking the Spurs to win the West. And, spoiler alert, they’re going to make a very strong case for my Finals pick in the next couple weeks.

Most books have the Spurs at around +450 to win the West, which is too much upside to turn down even if you don’t think they’re a lock. My advice — hit it and hit it hard. Because down the stretch run, people will remember (as they do every year in early April) that San Antonio exists and that they’re serious contenders.


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