NBA Mid-Season Western Conference Playoff Predictions: Nuggets to repeat as champs?

NBA Playoff Predictions: Western Conference Analysis

Oklahoma City Thunder v Denver Nuggets
Oklahoma City Thunder v Denver Nuggets / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages
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First round: 3rd seed Oklahoma City Thunder vs. 6th seed New Orleans Pelicans

This series has the potential to be the most exciting series out of all the first-round series. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Chet Holmgren, Jalen Williams, and Josh Giddey are a force to be reckoned with. Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, and C.J. McCollum are no slouches either. This has the makings to be a highlight city.

The Thunder are so much fun to watch. It feels like every night they find a different way to win. That's really cool, and also very helpful. The defense isn't elite, but it's around league average. Their offense, on the other hand, is elite. They are a tough team to watch. All members of their starting lineup are able to defend multiple positions and hit open shots. SGA's driving and kick-out ability, in addition to the knock-down ability from everyone else on the court, is dangerous.

The Thunder's offense is dangerous, and their defense is league-average. The New Orleans Pelicans' offense is around league average, but their real danger comes from their above-average ranked defense. It's almost a perfect matchup in regards to strengths and weaknesses.

The Pelicans have star power on their roster. Brandon Ingram, C.J. McCollum and Zion Williamson are all 20+ point-per-game scorers. However, after that trio, the roster is filled with young specialists who are better served in smaller doses. The Pelicans do have the experience advantage here, but I think that this is the only true advantage they hold over this young Thunder team.

Last year we saw the seventh-seed Lakers defeat the inexperienced second-seed Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs. The Lakers were the more experienced team and it showed. I don't think that this will apply here. Zion and Ingram are no LeBron and AD, hence we're rocking with the herd here and taking the Thunder.

Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder win 4-2