Apr 17

2009 Western Conference Playoffs

Posted By:Ashton Williams - Clinton, SC  Tags:

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The NBA likes to promote and describe their playoffs as "Drama".  Well, the word "drama" hits the nail directly on the head when describing the Western Conference playoffs.  In 2009, the playoffs are also filled with questions. Here are some questions that we will find the answers to during this years Western Conference playoffs:

- Can the Spurs win without Manu Ginobili?
San Antonio will have to go into the playoffs without starting shooting guard, Manu Ginobili, who suffered a season ending fracture in his right ankle.  Losing Ginobili is a huge blow, even for a team that has won 4 championships in 10 years.  Roger Mason Jr. (a basketball player everyone should get to know, if you don't already) has been asked to play a new role.  Can the Spurs survive without Ginobili in the lineup?

- Are the Trail Blazers good enough yet to make any noise in the playoffs?
The Portland Trail Blazers have improved, step by step, over the past several seasons.  Brandon Roy has established himself as one of the bigger names in the league.  They have proved that they are a problem for teams in the Western Conference (including the Lakers), but how good are they as a playoff team?  The Trail Blazers have gotten good, but just how good are they?

- Can the Nuggets get past the first round?
The Denver Nuggets have a reputation of not being able to get out of the first round.  This is one of the only scars on Carmelo Anthony's resume.  The addition of veteran point guard, Chaucey Billups, has already proved to be the best move the team has made in a while.  Will Billups be enough to push them past the first round?

- Can the Rockets get past the first round?
The Houston Rockets are the very definition of drama.  No Tracy McGrady (knee injury - out for season), no Rafer Alston (traded), but they do have Yao Ming and Ron Artest.  At the same time, they do have the same first round reputation as the Denver Nuggets.  Can the Rockets advance past the first round?

- Can Jason Kidd repair the sinking ship in Dallas?
If the Rockets are the definition of drama, then there may not be a word in the dictionary to describe the Dallas Mavericks.  This franchise has been described as a sinking ship.  Jason Kidd will be be given one more shot at what he was brought to Dallas to do, which is finish the job that the team couldn't finish in 2006.  Can he do it?

- Can the Jazz start a hot streak in the playoffs?
Being a lower seed may not be hospitable to the Utah Jazz, as they are visibly a much better team in Energy Solutions Arena than they are on the road.  At the same time, there may not be a more streaky team in the league than the Jazz.  If they're not on a hot streak of winning games by about 10 points, they're on a cold streak of losing games by about 10 points.  Can Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer get the Jazz hot enough at the right time?

- Will the Hornets be able to step up to help Chris Paul?
The New Orleans Hornets are the New Orleans Chris Pauls, and will need somebody to step up and play big along with CP3 in order to win.  Tyson Chandler will be in the lineup, but theres no way he could be 100% healthy.  On a team where most of the players already aren't 100% healthy, will anybody be able to step up on a team that a lot of people early on picked to be the x-factor?

Finally, perhaps the most asked question across the nation as we enter the 2009 Western Conference playoffs...

- Will the Lakers win the NBA Championship with Andrew Bynum?
Los Angeles was dominant in the Western Conference last season, but fell just short of the NBA title.  Laker fans say that the outcome of the NBA Finals would have been different last year if Andrew Bynum had played.  Well, Bynum is back, so we will find out how true that is.  Can they finish the job this season with Bynum in the lineup?

I, for one, am eager to find out the answers to these questions.  The Western Conference playoffs never seem to spare any excitement when it sorts itself out.  I have a feeling this season will be no different.

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