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Do the Western Conference Rankings Mean Anything?

Teams that were up in the top of the rankings for the Western Conference at the start of the season have been surpassed by other teams that were not expected to do as well in the extremely competitive Western Conference.

At the start of the season, experts predicted that the Clippers, Spurs and Thunder would dominate the Western conference and be the conferences’ top three teams. As we head into the fourth week of the season, the Clippers are 7-5 and in tenth place. The Spurs, at 9-4, are in sixth place. The Thunder, plagued by injuries, are 3-12.

Taking the place of those teams, Memphis, Golden State, Portland and Houston have all showed up better than they have been predicted to do.

Memphis is 12-2 and has finally started to click under their coach Dave Joeger who is in his second season. It always takes some transition time under a new leader and now, the Grizzlies have made it through that awkward phase in a way that is paying off big now. Lead by Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, who are playing as great as ever, the Grizzlies are becoming a strong contender in the West.

Golden State is 10-2 and trailing the Grizzlies in the standings. The Warriors were able to make it to the playoffs last season with the third-ranked defense in the league and are proving that same strength so far this season. While the defense has their act together, the offense is catching up and if all continues to go well, the Warriors will return to the playoffs against this year.

Portland Trail Blazers, 10-3, and the Houston Rockets, 10-3, have also come out strong this season, adding to the lack of accuracy that the preseason rankings held. Lead by LaMarcus Aldridge, who has averaged 21.3 points per game, the team is ranked seventh for points scored per game, averaging 103.6.

The Rockets were also not predicted to dominate the Western Conference but have proved otherwise this season so far. Their defense is helping their case, as the Rockets are second in the league with points against per game, averaging 92.2.

There is still a lot of basketball left. These rankings could flip within the next few weeks or the top four in the Western Conference could continue to pull out far ahead of the rest of the teams.

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