Way Out West – Playoff Confusion Edition

There are only two days left in the NBA regular season, and here’s what we know about seeding for the Western Conference playoffs.

Next to nothing.

I mean, we know which eight teams are headed to the playoffs, so we have that going for us. But beyond that, it’s pretty much a mystery wrapped in an enigma, and I possess neither the patience nor the mathematical acumen to fully explain how this could all shake out.

OK.

I’ll try.

  • Warriors- number one seed.
  • Nuggets- two or three-seed
  • Rockets- Two, three or four-seed
  • Trail Blazers- three, four, or five-seed
  • Jazz- four, five, or six-seed
  • Thunder- five, six, seven or eight-seed
  • Clippers- six, seven or eight-seed
  • Spurs- six, seven, or eight-seed

That’s an awful lot of confusion to be lingering around with only two games left to play. Especially when you consider that the Kings, currently the ninth-ranked team in the West, trail the Clippers, Spurs, and Thunder by a whopping nine games. A few teams look ready for the playoffs. Golden State, Houston, Portland, and Utah have all won eight of their last ten, and seem to be ready for prime time, even if they take these last few games as a respite. On the other end of the spectrum, Denver, who had pushed the Warriors all season long in a battle for the number one seed, suffered a late swoon, winning only five of their last ten, as have San Antonio and OKC. Denver’s late challenges must be exceptionally frustrating for long-suffering Nuggets fans, especially given that they boast the best home record in the West but sit at .500 on the road.

Closing time at Oracle

The Warriors wrapped up the number one seed with a win over the Clippers in the final regular season game at Oracle Arena. A 131-104 drubbing of the playoff-bound Clippers is a nice way to close the building down, but methinks that the defending champs would like to have a more meaningful win as the swan song for the Oakland home of the franchise. The move across the Bay to San Francisco might seem downright trivial to basketball fans across the country. After all, the Warriors new home will only be ten miles from their old one. But viewed more closely, it’s a move that’s fraught with concerns that the soul of the franchise is being left behind to cater to the whims of an increasingly wealthy, tech-money-driven fan base. Generations of Warriors fans who supported the team at its worst are being priced out in favor of bandwagon jumpers who are more interested in being seen at the game than supporting a franchise that’s been a part of the fabric of Oakland since the seventies. It’s a gamble. The Warriors brass think that with a more central feeling arena in San Francisco, the seats will continue to fill bros still pay hundreds for courtside seats when the team is scrapping for the eighth seed and a quick playoff exit? Will the skyboxes sell out when the team boasts only one All-Star, instead of five? Frankly, I’m not sure, but I doubt it. The same experiment seems to have worked decently enough for the Giants in San Francisco but failed the Niners horrifically down in Santa Clara.

This juggernaut of a team seemed to be unstoppable just a season ago, but with the potential departure of Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, or others, it remains to be seen if, even in the short- term, the Warriors can maintain the necessary momentum to build a mostly new fan base so close, but yet so far, from home.

Image Source: Mercury News

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