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Spitballing the playoffs

On the radio yesterday, Jazz broadcaster David Locke asked me to tell him which eight teams would make the playoffs in the West, and in what order. It was a total ambush. And let's be honest, between now and then there will be winning streaks, injuries, coaching changes, trades and other surprises. It's a crazy time to play this game.

But it's fun! So let's get to it. I'm pretty sure this is what I rattled off:

  1. Lakers The only obvious pick.

  2. Jazz Perhaps I have been hypnotized by their recent play. But that team is humming.

  3. Nuggets The West's second-best team before the Jazz went crazy.

  4. Mavericks Even though owner Mark Cuban says his team sucks right now.

  5. Spurs The tank looks empty, but tanks can be re-filled. Right? Have to believe they'll figure something out, possibly via trade.

  6. Suns Steve Nash won't really miss the playoffs, will he?

  7. Blazers Somehow hanging on despite all the injuries.

  8. Grizzlies After that slow start, they certainly look like a playoff team.

Teams I'm nervous about omitting:

  • Thunder: John Hollinger's playoff odds mock me.

  • Rockets: I mocked myself, to Locke, for omitting the Rockets, who are the junkyard dog you can't bet for, but hate to bet against.

And as long as we're at it, let's make some picks in the East, where the selection process is a lot tamer:

  1. Cavaliers By most measures, the class of the NBA thus far.

  2. Magic Vince Carter has been in a funk, but the team has been good anyway.

  3. Hawks They'll have to reverse a bad rebounding trend to beat Boston for this spot.

  4. Celtics Healthy, they're the class of the conference. As is: Not healthy.

  5. Bobcats Teams that play good defense don't tumble down in the standings.

  6. Heat The Suns of the East, I guess. Wade won't let his team back into the lottery.

  7. Raptors Now, Hedo Turkoglu looks like the player the Raptors wanted.

  8. Bulls They underperformed early, but Derrick Rose is back.

Teams I'm nervous about omitting:

  • Bucks Andrew Bogut is a serious big man who seems to have good chemistry with Brandon Jennings.

  • Nobody else Seriously, it's amazing. Anybody think the Sixers, Knicks, Pacers, Pistons, Wizards or Nets will make the playoffs this year?