In order of predicted finish with last year’s record in parenthesis.
1. Oklahoma City Thunder
Key adds: Russell Westbrook (from injury), Steven Adams (R), Andre Roberson (R),
Key departures: Kevin Martin, Ronnie Brewer
Skinny: As long as Westbrook returns to full health, Thunder remain a viable contender. Reggie Jackson stepped up in Westbrook’s absence and Jeremy Lamb is ready for a bigger role. Lamb was fantastic during UCONN’s run to an NCAA title and with Team USA, but has not emerged in the NBA. Some size and depth concerns, but enough here to win tough West. Ideally, team would find way to move Kendrick Perkins, but that might not be possible.
Burning question: Will Westbrook be himself and will his return elevate Durant’s game even further? OKC needs the Westbrook of old, not only for what he provides himself, but because he makes life easier for Durant, who took more difficult shots with Westbrook injured.