Play-off picks: Western Conference

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

Last season's most multi-faceted offence added Kevin Durant, one of the most multi-faceted offensive stars. Good luck guarding them.

Last season: 73-9

Players - Out: Leandro Barbosa, Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli, Brandon Rush, Marreese Speights, Andrew Bogut. In: Kevin Durant, David West, Zaza Pachulia, JaVale McGee. Rookie: Damian Jones.

LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS

The only National Basketball Association team who can still match the depth of the Warriors, they will need Blake Griffin to be fit and explosive for the play-offs.

Last season: 53-29
Players - Out: Cole Aldrich, Jeff Ayres, Jeff Green, Pablo Prigioni, C.J. Wilcox, Branden Dawson. In: Alan Anderson, Brandon Bass, Raymond Felton, Xavier Munford, Marreese Speights, Dorell Wright.

SAN ANTONIO SPURS

Life without Tim Duncan means one fewer option for two easy points, but Spurs still have loads of firepower. Last season: 67-15 Players - Out: Boban Marjanovic, David West, Boris Diaw, Tim Duncan (retired). In: Dewayne Dedmon, Pau Gasol, David Lee. Rookies: Livio Jean-Charles, Dejounte Murray.


HOUSTON ROCKETS

James Harden is a superb slasher - taking the ball to rim to score. The big bugbear for Rockets: non-existent defence. Last season: 41-41 Players - Out: Dwight Howard, Terrence Jones, Jason Terry, Michael Beasley, Andrew Goudelock. In: Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, Nene Hilario, Pablo Prigioni.

PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS

A young and fast team who have matured together. Look out for Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum to cause defences fits with their versatility. Last season: 44-38 Players - Out: Gerald Henderson, Brian Roberts, Cliff Alexander. In: Festus Ezeli, Evan Turner, Shabazz Napier.

OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

Year One without Durant will be tough, but Russell Westbrook and newbie Victor Oladipo form an interesting backcourt duo. Last season: 55-27 Players - Out: Kevin Durant, Randy Foye, Dion Waiters, Serge Ibaka. In: Ronnie Price, Joffrey Lauvergne, Ersan Ilyasova, Victor Oladipo. Rookie: Domantas Sabonis.

UTAH JAZZ

Traditionally a defence-first team, Utah have added some firepower in Joe Johnson and George Hill. Last season: 40-42 Players - Out: Trevor Booker, Tibor Pleiss. In: Joe Johnson, Boris Diaw, George Hill, Henry Sims.

NEW ORLEANS PELICANS

Their single big concern: to keep Anthony Davis healthy. The centre, 23, can become the next dominant force if he can stay on the courts. Last season: 30-52 Players - Out: Ryan Anderson, James Ennis, Eric Gordon, Jordan Hamilton, Luke Babbitt, Toney Douglas. In: Chris Copeland, Langston Galloway, Solomon Hill, Terrence Jones E'Twaun Moore, Robert Sacre, Lance Stephenson.

Teams not in contention
Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis, Minnesota, Phoenix , Sacramento.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2016, with the headline 'Play-off picks: Western Conference'. Print Edition | Subscribe