2011 NBA Playoff Predictions: Projecting Western Conference First Round Winners

Who will rise as the best in the West?

After an unpredictable year in the Western Conference, many are expecting a very competitive playoff to ensue. The defending champion Los Angeles Lakers enter the playoffs as losers of five of their last seven regular season games and with questions surrounding the health of Andrew Bynum.

The San Antonio Spurs have been the most dominant team of the regular season, but might be without Manu Ginobili for Game 1 of their series against the Memphis Grizzlies.

With the acquisition of Kendrick Perkins, the Oklahoma City Thunder might be better equipped to challenge for the NBA crown than many think.

LaMarcus Aldridge has gone from All-Star snub to the potential ring leader of a huge playoff upset...but we'll see what Dirk Nowitzki has to say about that.

And who knows how Danilo Gallinari and the Denver Nuggets will fare in their first playoff series without Carmelo Anthony?

While it is probably too early and too difficult to figure out who will represent the Western Conference in the 2011 NBA Finals, we most certainly have some predictions as to who will be the Final Four in the conference.

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