Warriors

Where Warriors stand in Western Conference after free agency

Warriors
LeBron James, Steph Curry, Anthony Davis

NBA free agency has more or less come and gone. There were few earth-shattering moves, and only one blockbuster trade.

As of Tuesday, Dennis Schröder and Paul Millsap are the biggest remaining names on the market, but neither's decision will move the needle when it comes to the Western Conference or NBA title picture.

With that being said, it's time to look at the Western Conference pecking order with most of the offseason moves in the books.

1. Los Angeles Lakers

Additions: Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Malik Monk, Wayne Ellington, Trevor Ariza, Kent Bazemore, Kendrick Nunn, Talen Horton-Tucker (re-signed)

Losses: Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso, Andre Drummond, Markieff Morris, Schröder, Wes Matthews, Ben McLemore

The Lakers are old, no doubt. But this team isn't built to try and win 70 games. It's built to win 16 in May and June. The health of LeBron James and Anthony Davis will obviously be paramount. The addition of Westbrook solved the Lakers' need for another shot-creator who can create offense when James sits, but that fit only will work if James and Davis agree to play more four and five than they have in years past.

If the Lakers try to play Davis, Howard/Marc Gasol and James along with Westbrook, spacing will be a massive issue. Still, when healthy, the Lakers are the favorites in the West.

2. Phoenix Suns

Additions: Chris Paul (re-signed), Cameron Payne (re-signed), Landry Shamet

 

Losses: Frank Kaminsky, Torrey Craig

The Suns re-signed Chris Paul and Cameron Payne, and that's really all the defending Western Conference champions needed to do. The Suns were the beneficiaries of injuries to Davis, Jamal Murray and Kawhi Leonard during their run to the Finals.

But as long as Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton continue to elevate their games, Phoenix should be in the thick of the title hunt.

3. Warriors

Additions: Otto Porter Jr., Andre Iguodala, Nemanja Bjelica, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody

Losses: Kent Bazemore, Eric Paschall, Kelly Oubre Jr., Alen Smailagic

After missing the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, the Warriors should be primed to jump back into contention this season. Klay Thompson is expected to return at some point after tearing his Achilles last November, marking the first time the Warriors' core will take the floor together since Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals.

Andre Iguodala's return will give the Warriors a secondary ball-handler and versatile wing defender off the bench who also will serve as a sounding board for Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Thompson, as well as a mentor to rookies Kuminga and Moody.

While no blockbuster trade has materialized for the Warriors, Golden State addressed some areas of need and it looks like Kuminga and Moody might be able to give them more than initially expected. If Thompson can return and work his way back to where he was in the 2019 NBA Finals, the Warriors will be a legitimate title threat.

4. Utah Jazz

Additions: Mike Conley (re-signed), Rudy Gay, Eric Paschall, Hassan Whiteside

Losses: Derrick Favors, Georges Niang, Trent Forrest

Mike Conley is back, and the Jazz brought in Gay to give them another veteran wing who can give them some scoring off the bench. The Jazz still have all the pieces to be one of the conference's top teams, but it's unclear if Donovan Mitchell has enough consistent help for the Jazz to beat the West's best in a playoff series.

5. Dallas Mavericks

Additions: Tim Hardaway Jr. (re-signed), Reggie Bullock, Sterling Brown, Boban Marjanovic (re-signed), Moses Brown

Losses: Josh Richardson, J.J. Redick, Nicolo Melli

Keeping Tim Hardaway Jr. was an important move for the Mavericks, but losing out on the Kyle Lowry sweepstakes hurts a team that is in need of another ball-handler to take the pressure of Luka Doncic. There have been whispers that the Mavericks could eventually be a landing spot for Goran Dragic, but as of right now, it appears the veteran guard will be staying in Toronto.

Doncic makes the Mavericks a top-five team, but Dallas probably needs to make another move to be a real title threat.

6. Denver Nuggets

Additions: Will Barton (re-signed), Jeff Green, JaMychal Green (re-signed), Austin Rivers (re-signed)

Losses: JaVale McGee, Paul Millsap

Denver has the reigning MVP in Nikola Jokic, but they will be without Jamal Murray for most of the season after the star guard tore his ACL late in the year. The Nuggets will need continued improvement from Michael Porter Jr. in order to stay out of the play-in tournament.

 

7. Los Angeles Clippers

Additions: Kawhi Leonard (re-signed), Reggie Jackson (re-signed), Nicolas Batum (re-signed), Justise Winslow, Keon Johnson

Losses: DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson

The Clippers checked all their boxes by retaining Leonard, Jackson and Batum. However, Leonard likely will miss the entire season after tearing his ACL in the playoffs. With Leonard out, Paul George will be tasked with carrying a heavy load and Jackson will need to show that his scorching hot playoff run wasn't a mirage.

LA should be in the postseason conversation, but it will take MVP-level play from George to get them in the title hunt.

8. Memphis Grizzlies

Additions: Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe, Ziarie Williams, Sam Merrill, Santiago Aldama

Losses: Jonas Valanciunas, Grayson Allen, Justise Winslow

Trading away Valanciunas was a curious move. The 29-year-old big man played well last season and was a good fit with Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. Allen was a solid rotation piece who can knock down open 3-pointers and play in crunch time. His trade opens up more time for DeAnthony Melton and Desmond Bane.

I'm not sure how well Adams and Bledsoe will fit with the Grizzlies roster. They'll be in the play-in tournament hunt yet again.

9. Portland Trail Blazers

Additions: Normal Powell (re-signed), Ben McLemore, Tony Snell, Cody Zeller

Losses: Zach Collins, Carmelo Anthony, Enes Kanter, Harry Giles

After all the offseason noise about Damian Lillard potentially wanting out of Portland, Neil Olshey went and did a whole lot of nothing in the offseason. The Blazers are a good team with a clear ceiling as currently constructed. Lillard is good enough to get them a top-six seed (he did it last year), but all that awaits them is a first-round playoff exit.

Plus, there's always the possibility that Lillard hits his breaking point and asks out.

10. New Orleans Pelicans

Additions: Jonas Valanciunas, Devonte Graham, Tomas Satoransky, Garrett Temple, Trey Murphy III, Herbert Jones

Losses: Lonzo Ball, Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe, Josh Hart, James Johnson

All the Pelicans should be focusing on is keeping Zion Williamson happy. He's now on his third coach in three seasons and lost Ball, who was a good fit with the roster. Jettisoning Adams and Bledsoe was important. Valanciunas should be a better fit next to Williamson and Brandon Ingram than Adams, but this roster still has a lot of question marks.

11. Kings

Additions: Davion Mitchell, Tristan Thompson, Richaun Holmes (re-signed), Moe Harkless (re-signed), Alex Len, Terence Davis (re-signed)

Losses: Delon Wright, Hassan Whiteside, Kyle Guy

The Kings surprised by taking another guard in the NBA draft, but Davion Mitchell will give them a jolt on the defensive end and a three-guard lineup with De'Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton will be a nice wrinkle for Luke Walton. The Kings are in the market for a big trade that can reshape the franchise, but as of right now they aren't a playoff team.

 

12. Minnesota Timberwolves

Additions: Taurean Prince

Losses: Ricky Rubio

A full season of Karl Anthony-Towns, D'Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards should excite Timberwolves fans. That trio showed promise when on the court together last season. They won't have a problem scoring, but their defensive issues are too glaring to consider them a playoff contender.

RELATED: Porter Jr. 'has something to prove' with Warriors

 

13. San Antonio Spurs

Additions: Zach Collins, Chandler Hutchinson, Thad, Young, Doug McDermott, Josh Primo, Bryn Forbes

Losses: DeMar DeRozan, Patty Mills, Rudy Gay, Gorgui Dieng, Trey Lyles

It looks like it's finally time for a full rebuild in San Antonio. With Mills, Gay and DeRozan all gone, the Spurs now will build around Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell and Primo. Collins presents upside if he can stay healthy. At least Pop won gold this summer.

14. Oklahoma City Thunder

Additions: Josh Giddey, Derrick Favors, Tre Mann

Losses: Al Horford, Moses Brown

The pairing of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey in the backcourt is an interesting one, and the Thunder have a ton of draft capital to make a big splash if Sam Presti wants.

15. Houston Rockets

Additions: Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun, Josh Christopher, Usman Garuba

Losses: Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk

The Rockets' tank job landed them a potential star in Green. Sengun is a high-upside throwback big and Garuba gives them versatility in the frontcourt. Houston's rebuild is off to a strong start.

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