In the great tradition of the ESPN NBA Summer Forecast, it's time to roll out our first Winter Forecast.
For foresight, we consulted with 115 of ESPN's best basketball minds, including contributors from ESPN.com, the TrueHoop Network, TrueHoop TV, Daily Dime Live, ESPN TV, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, espnW, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Insider, ESPN Fantasy, ESPN Games, ESPN Dallas, ESPN Los Angeles, ESPN Boston, ESPN Chicago, ESPN New York, ESPN Stats & Information, ESPN Topics and ESPN Analytics.
And yes, our voters slid their ballots under the door before the season started.
Enjoy, argue, agree, disagree ...
Forecast: 2011-12 Western Conference Standings
CONF TEAM W L PCT '11 W '11 L '11 PCT 1 Okla. City Thunder 48 18 .727 55 27 .671 @mmm9731: OKC has young stars in Durant & Russell, Thabo, Serge & Perkins on defense and Harden coming off the bench. What more do you want?
@EugeneOliver: 48 for OKC is low. Best team in a weaker West, young, and Durant/Westbrook/Harden still improving. A lock for low 50s at least.
2 Dallas Mavericks 45 21 .682 57 25 .695 @EugeneOliver: Don't see how Mavs are winning 45 games this year. Odom not a good fit, they'll miss Chandler ... Playoffs? Yes. Division title? No.
3 Los Angeles Lakers 42 24 .636 57 25 .695 @joaquin_trillo: I say LA Lakers won't make it even in top 5 in West and will end up 10th or 11th counting both conferences.
@vemparty: Lakers will be 37-29 or worse if they don't get Dwight. Bynum back is the only reason they will win 37 games.
4 Los Angeles Clippers 41 25 .621 32 50 .390 @talkhoops: Would be more of an outrage about the Clippers "only" ranked 4th in the West if we hadn't watched Chauncey Billups shoot on Xmas.
5 Memphis Grizzlies* 40 26 .606 46 36 .561 @ljreardon2024: Why is MEM so low? I think they will be better than DAL -- really, how bad have they looked? MEM should be 4 seed, if not higher!
@RobertoAedoC: Memphis will be a top 2 team, only below OKC ...
6 San Antonio Spurs* 40 26 .606 61 21 .744 @TaylorHair50: Love the low ranking for the Spurs. The same team that won 61 games last year and kept most of its core players. Haters.
@RawkStarr1980: Short season lockout prediction: San Antonio Spurs 54-12 (#1 in West overall). P.S. -- Will win just like in '99 lockout :)
7 Denver Nuggets 35 31 .530 50 32 .610 @jorhadmusic: 7th seed? Somebody forgot that it's a shortened season and Denver has a young, deep, explosive team and the 2012 Coach of the Year.
@minutemandan: Predicting the Nuggets go 46-20, picking over if they can repeat first half from Dallas game.
8 Portland Trail Blazers 34 32 .515 48 34 .585 @iPlay2K: You know the competition in the West is tough when an Aldridge & Wallace-led team falls to the 8th seed.
@Clintonite33: After watching the Blazers for a couple games, I severely underestimated their win total this season, methinks.
9 Houston Rockets 32 34 .485 43 39 .524 @FaizanQurashi: The Rockets won't even be 9th. They'll be too sad from realizing they missed out on both Pau & Marc Gasol.
10 G.S. Warriors 30 36 .455 36 46 .439 @ljreardon2024: I like the Warriors over the Blazers at 8, but it could go either way, look out for Mark Jackson and his new-look team this year!
@lindseymathias: With last night's W over the Bulls, Warriors should be ranked higher than 10th. Warriors are so underrated.
11 Phoenix Suns 29 37 .439 40 42 .488 @traread: The Suns' run-and-gun offense will get them some easy wins early on. But I can't see them sustaining a solid year with their roster.
@d_WAX: Suns have an aging Nash & Hill, their next best is Gortat, and the rest are role players at best. Should be 14.
12 Utah Jazz 28 38 .424 39 43 .476 @drewjohn13: There's a storm coming from Salt Lake City, but it won't arrive this year. In time, though, these young bucks could be scary good.
@WooSports: If I was ever okay for the Jazz to finish 12th in the West, it would be this year. Youth movement + 2012 Lottery = high optimism.
13 Sacramento Kings 23 43 .348 24 58 .293 @glazier_25: Don't see how the Kings don't win 33 games after last night. Great backcourt, solid frontcourt, and good depth in a short season.
@MagnEgo: Kings will stun this year. 60 points between Thornton, Evans and Cousins alone on any given night.
14 Minnesota Wolves 23 43 .348 17 65 .207 @mmm9731: Fourteenth? Wolves should be 8th or 9th with Kevin Love scoring and rebounding, Michael Beasley, Derrick Williams, & Ricky Rubio. Although young, they are great.
15 New Orleans Hornets 22 44 .333 46 36 .561 @mmm9731 : NOH should be 13-14th in the West, but not dead last. Eric Gordon is a rising star, Emeka Okafor is reliable down low, & Carl Landry is fantastic.
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