NBA Bandwagon Breakdown – the West

8 teams left in the NBA Playoffs and we help you pick the right bandwagon for you. Picked Last brought you the bandwagon breakdown for the Eastern Conference. Today we’re looking at the West, and with so many good teams, this is going to be a tough one if this double-overtime thriller from San Antonio is any indication:

Golden State Warriors: The Warriors are as bandwagon friendly as a team can get, and convenient since both Harjit and I live in the bay. They have a superstar in Stephen Curry whose sharpshooting makes him always worth watching, exciting SportsCenter-friendly young wings, and a bunch of low-maintenance vets who do what they do well. Another bonus is the classy gold and blue “The City” jerseys and logo. Remember the fun 2007 “We Believe” team that knocked out top seeded Dallas? Like that team, expectations were low this season, making the conditions perfect for another underdog run. One area of concern is All-star David Lee’s injury, but if Game 1 against the Spurs was any indication, they might be better without him. Recommendation: JUMP! But really, you probably already BELIEVE.

San Antonio Spurs: Oh the Spurs. Commenting on the age of their “Big 3” Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli, and Tony Parker is pretty old in itself. It hardly matters this season given their solid play night-in, night-out. Barring the same type of freak injury that derailed the team in the last several seasons, the Spurs are the clear frontrunners in the West. Ginobli’s good health and outstanding performance in Monday’s double-OT game should seal that, as should Kawhi Lenoard’s exciting two-way play. The Spurs don’t need bandwagon fans because odds are, you’ll see them against the Heat in the Finals and you’d be rooting for them eventually unless you’re already at Heat fan. Root for the Warriors this round then jump again in the Finals (or earlier). And really, do you want to be associated with the Screaming Spurs LadyRecommendation: HOLD

Oklahoma City Thunder: OKC was the previous conference favorite until guard Russell Westbrook went down for the season. Kevin Durant and Westbrook was a deadly one-two punch on the wings, but now OKC is just Kevin Durant and a bunch of stiffs that KD plays with. Kevin Martin can’t be trusted to show up on defense or even on offense regularly (see his 2 for 11 stinkbomb last night). Serge Ibaka, for all his talent and athleticism has dominated fewer games this playoffs than Dwight Howard; ouch, but true. This team reminds me of a mortgage-backed security circa 2008 (stay with me). Sure it had some outstanding assets with Durant and Westbrook. But look more closely: this team starts a shooting guard who largely can’t shoot (Sefolosha), no real power forward to speak of (there’s Perkins, but if he were a player in NBA Jam his signature move would be a scowl), and their backup point guard Derek Fisher is so old I suspect he is cryogenically frozen during the offseason to maintain freshness. This package is toxic, and if you’re holding on to it, you’re gonna need a bailout. Recommendation: BAIL, Rockets draft pick Royce White is still right:

Memphis Grizzlies: Despite getting shocked by Durant in Game 1, this team has looked balanced in the last two games and seriously took care of business in the last series against the Clippers. Mike Conley, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol are a terrific combination and showed in this series and the last that this team can score as well as play stingy, physical defense. In other words, championship ball. And I would argue that Z-Bo and Gasol are the best big man combination left in these playoffs; Memphis can ride them a long way. They’ll need to get more consistent play from the rest of their team to live up to Harjit’s finals prediction, but this is a team to watch for. Don’t be surprised when they’re jumping all over the Spurs in the conference finals. Recommendation: JUMP


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