2011 NBA Playoff Predictions: Western Conference Team-by-Team Analysis

Recently, the Western Conference has been known for one thing and one thing only: the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers are the NBA’s defending champions for the past two years and it will be difficult to dethrone this Lakers team in the 2011 NBA playoffs.

Although players like Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams have moved out East, the Western Conference still has strong teams that could emerge as victors this year. The San Antonio Spurs are one example of a team that has been relying on older players, unlike some teams in the East relying on their youth.

Heading in, the San Antonio Spurs start off the playoffs as the top team in the West. The Spurs have arguably the most balanced team in the playoffs with solid offense and defense. Some of the most important factors that make this team as great as it is, are the fact that the Spurs are virtually unstoppable at home and have the most experienced leader in future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan.

Next to the Spurs, the team that everyone will be watching is the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe Bryant and company have a great shot at winning their third straight NBA title, with consistent play all year long. This Lakers team knows the feeling of winning championships, and will do whatever it takes to win another ring.

The Dallas Mavericks come in as another team that will cause some problems during playoff time. What you notice about this Mavericks team that differentiates it from others is the great play by veterans who are all hungry for a ring. This might be the last chance for Dirk Nowitzki to make noise in the playoffs, which makes him a force to be reckoned with for opposing teams.

With the speed of the NBA progressing faster as the game goes on, the most important asset a team can have is great youth. One up-and-coming team is the Oklahoma City Thunder. When you have a great scorer in Kevin Durant and a quick point guard in Russell Westbrook running the show,...

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