Pick a champion, any champion.
You could make a case for any of the eight playoff teams to win the wonderfully wild Western Conference.
San Antonio has the best record in the
Oklahoma City has the hardest player to stop in the game,
Houston can outscore just about anyone with
Portland has perhaps the Next Big Three with
Memphis has played as well as anyone the last two months, going 23-9 since the week before the All-Star break.
Dallas has … um … well … All right, so the eighth-seeded Mavericks probably aren't going to win the conference title.
But everyone else has to feel as if they have a shot. Sixth-seeded Golden State has the toughest path, potentially having to beat the third-seeded Clippers, second-seeded Oklahoma City and top-seeded San Antonio to reach the Finals.
The Warriors' first-round series against the Clippers might as well be played on a square canvas surrounded by ropes because there's the potential for uppercuts and jabs when these teams get together.
Houston versus Portland also looks as if it could go seven, with the first team to play defense winning. The