A stunning start for Sacramento, spear-headed by the dark horse MVP candidacy of DeMarcus Cousins, had us believing the Kings were one of a dozen Western Conference teams contending for eight playoff spots. One case of viral meningitis and an ill-advised firing later — oh, and whatever happened to Denver — and the West is, more or less, a 10-team race for eight slots.
The injury riddled Oklahoma City Thunder are a .500 basketball team after the unlikeliest slew of injuries this side of Chicago; they share ninth-place with New Orleans, either the oldest-youngest or youngest-oldest team ever assembled, and possibly the worst team in league history built around an All-Star averaging 24 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks per game.
Each week, the West changes — we’ve seen a flurry of trades well in advance of the February trade deadline, if only for contenders like Dallas, Memphis, and Phoenix to better their chances of jostling through the NBA’s varsity league. San Antonio is closer to missing the playoffs than securing one of the top two seeds for the fifth consecutive season, while Golden State has elevated itself from a No. 6 seed to mostly unbeatable.
This is why I’ve decided to pull out my figurative camera over the next couple months of this devilishly fun season to take some snapshots of the West. Let’s start at the bottom — there’s a Drake reference to be made — and work our way to the top.
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