Boston Celtics are the best team in the East and maybe in the league, but when you look at the teams and players in the West, do feel like that is clearly the stronger conference this season?

I think overall, I would say the Western Conference is stronger. 

They've definitely been beating up on each other.

I think injuries and Milwaukee kind of unable to really find their rhythm in the Eastern Conference, obviously kind of to me gave a nudge to the Western Conference.

But I would agree, I feel like the Boston Celtics are playing the best basketball right now in the league.

The Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Clippers I feel like are the two strongest in the West, although the Clippers are on a little skid right now. 

I think they've lost six out of their last 11 or something like that, but I still feel like when they're all bought in and healthy, they're going to be a monster.

And then to win the rings, you got to go through the champs, so you still can't forget about Denver as well. 

The Denver Nuggets have been excellent since the All-Star you think the West still runs through Denver and particularly Nikola Jokic?

I think so, I think they are the best team in the West. 

I love what Oklahoma City Thunder and Minnesota Timberwolves are doing right now, I think they're next in line. 

I think this playoff for both these teams will serve them well in the long haul. 

I could see one of them maybe sliding to the second round and I say that with all due respect, but I really feel like roads run through Denver.

I feel like for the two teams, it should hopefully line up to where it'll be the Clippers and Denver in the Western Finals. 

What about Nikola Jokic himself? In your mind is he going to be MVP? 

I mean you can give him the MVP every year and the best player in the league every year, but you can I feel like you can also do that for a few other guys.

I feel like Jayson Tatum is kind of being overlooked, I feel like he should definitely be in that conference conversation. 

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, he's a young boy and someone who Doc Rivers was very hesitant to give up.

When they got Kawhi Leonard, he thought that Kawhi and SGA could have really built up a relationship but, Kawhi insisted on getting Chris Paul, which wasn't a bad move either obviously because Paul is a great player.

But I think Shai should definitely be in that conversation as well.

What Jokic does night in, and night out is a factor and all the facets he covers for his team, and steadily improving on the defensive end.

Again, he's one of the, two or three or four guys that can be named best player and MVP every year.

What about this young Oklahoma City Thunder team - are they ready and set up to win the West this season?

I see them eventually getting there, obviously the team that I played against that was a boatload of monsters. 

You think about Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Serge Ibaka, Thabo Sefolosha, and Kendrick Perkins. 

I mean they had a lot of great pieces on that team, but I think the sole superstar on this team is SGA, but I think a few of these young guys are ready to step in that Robin role.

This team all plays together, and I feel like they have great team chemistry, so it'll be interesting to see. 

I mean, they have the talent, and they're young enough to not care who they play. 

I think sometimes the gift and the curse of being young is the lack of experience, but at the same time, you don't care about anything.

You don't care about Jokic and his run for MVP and the fact the Nuggets won last year.

You don't care about those old guys with the Clippers, you feel like you're young and you're next in line.

I think OKC could be a very scary team in the playoffs, and I enjoy watching them night in night out. 

SGA is the star of this team, but Chet Holmgren has had an amazing season so far.

He was in the lead I think for a little while for Rookie of the Year, but I think Victor has overtaken him in that category with his play of late.

Chet is very talented, and they've got a slew of other guys that are really ready to step up and I think be challenged, so I think they're doing a great job.

Minnesota Timberwolves have been somewhat of a surprise this season - do you think they are real contenders to get to the Finals?

It's crazy to say a team that has been back and forth and won all season, I don't necessarily think they're a contender.

I love Anthony Edwards; I think he has an opportunity to be the face of the league. 

Karl Anthony-Thomas is playing good basketball, you've got an anchor like Rudy Gobert in the mix. 

You've got a lot of young talent around those guys, but there's something that I can't put my finger on with that team, whether it's chemistry or locker room issues, their coach is always coming out and saying weird things all the time.

I'm not sure how bought in they are with him, but on paper they have a lot of talent.

They've had a tremendous year, so I wouldn't be surprised if they made a run and got hot at the right time and possibly could make it to the Western Conference finals. 

But I think overall this year will be a great learning experience for this core of this team to really see what it's like to get down and dirty and have a lot of expectations because they've been sitting at the top of the Western Conference the entire season.

The Los Angeles Clippers have looked fantastic at times - is health really the key to them making a genuine push in the playoffs?

I think the absolute key is health, I think they have a lot of depth and I think they have one of the best minds and best in-game adjusting coaches in Tyronn Lue.

They're two deep in every position, Kawhi has played a majority of the games this year.

James has acclimated now, Paul George has been out, but once he's healthy, he's a monster.

Then they have the likes of Terrence Mann and Norman Powell. 

Norman Powell, he's a big-time player, so, I really like the depth of this team and I'm a big fan of T-Lue.

I feel like health definitely for every team, but particularly that team is going to be key in this playoff run.

You look at the teams currently sitting in the Play-in spots - The Suns, Mavs, Warriors & Lakers - they have all had their issues - which of those four do you see being able to make a genuine push as the season gets to the playoffs?

I can definitely see the Golden State Warriors getting hot, I can see the Los Angeles Lakers getting hot and I can see Phoenix Suns as well.

I feel for Phoenix, the Achilles heel is depth in their stars and them all being able to get a chance to play with each other. 

I feel like with the Lakers, they made a nice comeback against OKC and were able to secure that victory.

But I feel like they're an older team with size who's built for the playoffs. 

I think that the night or two off in between each game will serve LeBron James well and this team, but they have the pieces in place. 

I always thought it was going to be an up and down season for them, but if they were able to get to the playoffs, I think they could do some damage.

And then Golden State, you can never count out a team like that, although I feel like their window is closing and they're looking for what's next.

They can possibly get hot, but probably the only team I can see possibly winning a championship and this might sound crazy, but I can see the Lakers out of those three I just mentioned having a Cinderella season such as they did last year.

But getting hot this time and being able to get past Denver to potentially win it. 

That's why I said this is a good season to be on the play in bubble because there's so much inexperience at the top of the Western Conference.

Again, I love and respect each of those teams in OKC and Minnesota, I feel like the best is yet to come from them.

But these old dogs at the bottom of the Western Conference that have these savvy vets that are kind of on their way out but still have some gas in the tank. 

I wouldn't bet against any of those three teams I mentioned against the top two and I'd probably go with the lower seeds in both situations.

NBA Western Conference Predictions and Pick

Who ends up being the number one seed in the West come the end of the regular season?

I think the one seed will probably be OKC.

They're young, but I really like them, I like their camaraderie and their chemistry. 

You can tell that young team are really locked in and they play for one another, so I'd probably say OKC will finish at the top of the Western Conference this season.

What about the play-in spots - which teams end up there?

The Sacramento Kings had a big season last year and had a lot of questions to answer this year.

It's been an up and down season for them, but it's just it shows how tough the West is.

We haven't really discussed Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving and what they can do, so any of those teams, Sacramento, Phoenix, Golden State or Lakers.

I feel like any of those bottom four teams could have a shout, obviously Sacramento got a little taste of the playoffs last year, but those other teams having very experienced players and have been to the top of the mountain for the most part and won championships.

I can see any of those teams outside of Sacramento really making a run, whether they solidify as the fifth or sixth seed or if they have to come through the play-in route.

Is there a team that you think is flying under the radar a bit that can make a genuine push in the playoffs?

I think the team flying under the radar if I'm being honest, and it sounds crazy because they won last year but it's Denver.

Denver have stayed around that middle of the pack this year, now they're in the top four, but they understand what's ahead of them.

They got a taste last year, Jokic has been Jokic, but I feel like they lost a few key role players in Bruce Brown and Jeff Green and some of those guys from the year before. 

Guys have filled in and gave some of the younger guy’s opportunities to play such as Peyton Watson and Christian Braun.

So, they're very interesting to me, I think they've kind of been saving their best for last though. 

As high as I am on the Clippers, I still think the road runs through Denver to get there.

Does Nikola Jokic have a stranglehold now on the MVP race?

It could be, but I can also see them giving it to Shai if they finish in the first seed and what he's been able to do.

You always think the NBA is entertainment, so if you give MVP to a Canadian, it will continue to grow the game north of us. 

There are two or three guys that I feel like really have a shot, but Jokic could easily get it. 

I thought Joel Embiid was on pace to duplicate what he did, but unfortunately, he got hurt.

So, if I'm going to pick one guy to win it, I would probably say SGA.

When it gets down to it, which two teams do you think get to the Western Finals and who advances to the NBA Finals?

Western Conference finals I'm going to go the Clippers and Denver.

Then in the finals, I'm going to go Clippers versus Boston. 

I can't give the who's going to win, I've been backing the Clippers all year, but Boston are scary and Jayson Tatum could make a difference.

I'm not going to dive off a cliff yet, but they're the two teams with the most talented rosters with two great coaches.

Joe Mazzulla, I think got out-coached last year, but he would have learnt a lot from that experience and T-Lue is one of the best young minds in the game.

Two great coaches and two really talented teams.

Victor Wembanyama - what are your thoughts on what you have seen from the French Phenom in his rookie season?

I think he's incredible, I think his versatility is something we haven't seen before.

His length is something we haven't seen for his size, his ability to be the blanket of the defense, despite their defense not being very good. 

He's averaging, five or six blocks in the last handful of games, it looks like he fears no one and you hear that he's on a strict regimen.

9:00pm, no distractions, I'm reading and then I'm going to bed.

I don't think people understand sometimes how important it is to land in a quality organization. 

The San Antonio Spurs have been able to do great things with David Robinson, they've been able to do great things with Tim Duncan. 

Now I feel like it's Victor Wembanyama's turn, obviously, they're still a very young team and need some work. 

But I was just debating this the other day, I feel like Victor can be the alpha male. 

I feel like he could be a Batman on a team that could win a championship, so it'll be interesting to see what San Antonio is able to put around him. 

But I love Victor and really hope that he can stay healthy and continue just to get better because it seems like every single time you watch him, he's getting better. 

Is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander going to be the best player in the league at some stage?

I think the next wave, there will be probably multiple faces. 

I don't think anyone has necessarily stood out like LeBron has and had his dominance and had his run to the finals who solidified himself as the best player and the face of the league.

Even when he was doing that, Steph Curry still got some looks as the face of the league, Kevin Durant got some looks as the face of the league. 

So, I would say there's a handful of players in this next wave and I don't include Giannis Antetokounmpo. 

I think Giannis will touch that a little bit, but we're talking young players 25, 26 or 27 at the oldest, I think it's the Tatum's, the Luka's, it's the Ant-Man or it's the SGA. 

These guys in that realm and I think Victor will be in that conversation probably the next 3 to 5 years as well.

I definitely think the NBA is in great hands. 

Will Luka Doncic ever be able to win a title while playing for the Dalla Mavericks?

I think he needs some help. 

I think he's incredibly talented, I think the more he plays this game, the more he starts to figure out what he needs to do as far as picking and choosing the spots.

I think he's one of the most un-guardable players we've seen at his size and skill set and his pace. 

But I feel like each year you play in this league; you figure out a little more and how to if it's going to be Kyrie is his wingman. 

I want to be respectful to Kyrie, but I still feel like they need a few pieces, whether that's a three in D or more of a stretch four or more of a presence in the middle.

I feel like they're one piece away and I'd have to look at their team more to really see what they can do. 

But I feel like Luka is smart enough, he looks like a ten-year vet out here and he's still only young. 

So, I really love Luka in this game and as he continues to play this game, he's going to continue to get better.

Are LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers going to be serious contenders again at some point or has he already won his last title?

I think this is their last window unless they go and get another superstar that can literally carry the team the entire season.

Anthony Davis has done a better job, but LeBron has to carry the team for the most part.

If they can find one more star or AD decides that he wants to be the one to carry this team. 

I think they got a really good chance this year if they can get in it and get their stuff together.

But you never want to count the Lakers out because they're always doing crazy stuff and making things happen when you don't think there's anything to be had in free agency or in the summertime.

It looks like pretty much the ten teams that are in the West, you know, are going to be the ten teams in the playoffs that are one for ten right now.

Is there a team in the West that won't make the playoffs this year that you think will make a leap next season?

I don't even think Memphis Grizzlies would be in there if Ja Morant was healthy this year. 

We all know he's must watch TV and it was a very unfortunate injury for him.

The Utah Jazz always have a great system so they can surprise people. 

But I really want to see what San Antonio is going to continue to build around Victor.

He's showed he's a unicorn and a very special player and now it's their job to put young talent around him, but he needs another star next to him.

It'll be interesting to see what they can do. 

I don't know if next year will be too soon for them, I think they obviously have a core of good young guys, although they're not household names, but they're still talented, they're just young.

I feel like, whether it be this offseason or the next, I think they got to make a jump at another star that's a little bit older, not old, but older. 

Someone who can lead all these guys as co-leader with Victor.

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