LeBron’s most significant challenge this season would be to adjust to life in the Western Conference. The East has four outstanding teams (Toronto, Boston, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia), and then there is the rest of the field. The West, on the other hand, is a bloodbath (minus Phoenix). Just take a look at the standings.
Portland, Memphis and the Clippers top 3? With about 20% of the games played, almost anything is not as we expected it to be. Mind you, a few games, and this could look completely different, the only constant is that Phoenix is last and running towards Zion or R.J. Everything else is up for grabs.
Last year, Portland finished third with 49 wins and Denver was out of the playoffs with 46! The West is once again proving to be the much deeper conference, and there are almost no easy games. Yes, it’s likely thing will even out and we may see Sacramento and Dallas drop off a bit, Houston is picking up speed and Klay, and KD will start making more threes. But is there any other team expect the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings you are confident will be out of the playoff hunt on January 1st, 2019? What About after the All-Star break?
The West is legitimately 12-teams deep, and every game counts. That’s where health and depth come in play. The grind gets everyone, and you need capable rotation players. So don’t sleep on the teams like the Clippers or Memphis. They may not have Anthony Davis or Paul George, but they do have enough players that are good enough to make it through an 82-game season.
Remember, the regular season is a marathon; the playoffs are a sprint.