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Seizing game places in the West will be difficult


Let’s go ahead and put Denver and Sacramento in the Western Conference playoffs. It’s hard to imagine Memphis and Phoenix falling out of the mix, even with Ja Morant away from the Grizzlies and Kevin Durant still unable to make his home debut for the Suns due to an ankle problem. Also put them on the stand.

And from there, anyone can guess.

West is an absolute mess, and the middle of the pack — the race for the last two guaranteed playoff spots and the four play-in tournament spots — is as confusing and murky as it gets.

“Hope,” Utah coach Will Hardy said, “is a good motivator.”

TRUE. There is still a lot of hope there too.

The West has, more often than not in recent years, been the power broker of the NBA. Not this year. The brightest records are at the top of the Eastern Conference, which is on course to finish with three of the four best records this season – something that hadn’t happened since 2008-09.

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