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What’s Next For Eliminated Western Conference Teams

Struggling and giving it all you got all season long to get to the playoffs only to be eliminated in the first round never feels good.  Often times, despite being one of the top eight teams in a conference, a first round playoff elimination is looked at as a team having major problems.  Let’s take a look at what each of these teams need to do next in order to remain relevant and go a for a deeper playoff run next season.

Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets were able to give the Thunder a pretty good fight.  They forced a six game series and often times looked to be the overall better team.  You have to keep in mind, though, that the Thunder were without Russell Westbrook for most of the series.  Westbrook went down with an injury in Game 2.

The Rockets were also without Jeremy Lin.  However, it was clear early in the series that the one-two punch of Lin and James Harden are simply not enough to compete with the likes of the Thunder.  The Rockets need another super talented player.  If the Rockets want to make a series playoff run sooner rather than later they do not need to bank on the draft but instead look to pick up a talented free agent.

Rumors have been abound that the Rockets are interested in Dwight Howard so much so that there are special props of if he will go to the Rockets.  The odds, though, are not in favor of that happening.  The Rockets have their guard positions filled out with talent.  Their are several big name forwards heading into free agency including Pau Gasol, Lamar Odam and Luol Deng.  They would be wise to make a play for a talented post position.

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers have a lot of question marks surrounding their team.  It is clear from his playoff performance that Dwight Howard is not ready to be a leader for this Lakers squad.  Regardless, they need to resign him and not let his talents wonder off to another team.  They should look at Howard as the future of the Lakers with Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant all getting older.

The Lakers will need to get Bryant back in the game and healthy.  They will also need to convince Steve Nash to play another season.  Whether or not Gasol will be a Laker is more up in the air than whether or not the Lakers will resign Howard, in my opinion.  D’Antoni made it clear throughout the season that he was not a fan of Gasol’s.  It will be interesting to see what kind of moves the Lakers make during the offseason.

Los Angeles Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers came into their series with the Memphis Grizzlies as the big favorites.  Six games later and the Clippers are out of the playoffs.  The Clippers had a stacked roster and were poised to make a big playoff run, however, they continue to fall short.

The Clippers have a load of talent headed for unrestricted free agency including Chris Paul and Lamar Odam.  The Clippers would be wise to try and resign their talent.  However, given that the Clippers have consistently failed in the playoff, it will be interesting to see if some of their talent try to make a run for greener pastures.

Denver Nuggets

No other team is more disappointed in their early exit from the playoffs than the Denver Nuggets.  The Nuggets were the number 3 seed and the favorites to beat the Golden State Warriors, causing some odds jockeys to lose quite a bit of money.  We did expect that the scrappy Warriors would put a fight, but did not think they would beat the very solid and consistent Denver Nuggets.

The Nuggets will not likely make too much noise during the offseason.  I expect them to keep things relatively the same and make another run at the playoffs next year.

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