2018-19 NBA Preview: Power ranking the bubble playoff teams in the Western Conference Playoffs
The results of the 2018-19 NBA season are all but confirmed following DeMarcus Cousins' decision to sign a one-year deal with the Golden State Warriors, enabling them to be the only team in NBA history to field three All-Star Game starters and five All-Stars when Boogie stages his comeback from the Achilles injury he suffered late in January 2018.
With this out of the way, however, do keep in mind that there are 14 other teams in the Western Conference. The Warriors will probably take the top seed, health permitting, just like they did for three straight years.
The losses of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute will definitely hurt the Rockets, but despite coasting in the last two weeks of the 2017-18 season, they still finished as one of only 19 teams in NBA history to record 65 wins in a regular season campaign.
This makes them prohibitive favourites to make the playoffs for another season, and they will probably end up winning at least 60 games even if their defense worsens (as predicted).
The rest of the Western Conference playoff picture, however, is shrouded in doubt, and the following 10 teams are the ones with the best chances of making the cut:
#10 Memphis Grizzlies
For a franchise that doesn't have its own first-round pick in 2019, the Grizzlies are in a pretty good position to ensure that the Celtics are unable to extract the full use of their pick.
They are likely to make a concerted effort to make the playoffs, but their lack of squad depth will ensure that this push is negated by the end of the season.
For all of Conley's and Gasol's virtues, and there are many of those, they lost too many players over the past two seasons to be a realistic playoff contender this year.
In all likelihood, they will be fighting over the very last playoff berth, and the likes of the Phoenix Suns and the Dallas Mavericks will be breathing right down their necks.