Kobe Bryant Utah Jazz April 2013It's going to be a wild ride for the 2013 NBA Playoffs.

The Eastern Conference already has its frontrunner with the Miami Heat. The Heat are heavy favorites, already winning the Eastern Conference this season. The New York Knicks sit at second place, 10 games behind on a 12-game win streak. However, recent postseason failures leave many skeptic.

The Western Conference is very different. There are a lot more "quality" teams, but there doesn't seem to be an elite team.

The San Antonio Spurs are first-overall in the West, just like the past two years; however, they have ended with extreme disappointment. In 2011, they were stunned in the first round by the No. 8 seed Memphis Grizzlies. Last year, the Spurs blew a 2-0 series lead to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Now the Spurs are fighting injuries to star players such as Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker. Ginobli is expected to miss about a month and Parker's return is still uncertain. Sorry, I'm not buying the Spurs come playoff time.

Then there's the Thunder: a team that has one of the best players in the NBA in Kevin Durant. They have a better win-percentage compared to last season, but it's not as balanced. Last season, the team had James Harden to help close games, but that doesn't exist anymore.

Russell Westbrook still insists on shooting more than Durant, which in itself is unbelievable. A team with a shoot-first point guard won't win a championship.

After the Spurs and Thunder, there is pretty much "everybody else." The Denver Nuggets, Grizzlies, Utah Jazz and Golden State Warriors are all decent teams, but they don't have a bona-fide superstar. The Los Angeles Clippers are a fun team to watch, but they lack a true scorer.

Could the Lakers and Kobe Bryant make a late run and become the first No. 8 seed to win an NBA Championship? Unlikely, but the West is wide open. The Houston Rockets franchise knows what it's like to win a championship as a low seed. In the 1995, House won it all as a No. 6 seed.

Regardless of which team wins the Western Conference playoffs, one thing is for sure: it's going to be a wild ride.


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