Applies To: Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers, Minnesota TImberwolves (Pick 3 of the 5).

The West may not be as top-heavy as the East but if your sole (pathetic) goal is to simply cash a playoff check then you'd be better off as a mediocre squad near the Atlantic.

A lot of analysts are stuck on who's just getting in out west: The Mavericks or the Timberwolves. We'll go with the Wolves but give them about the same chance of advancing to round two as the non-existent nine-seed. That's all contingent upon whether or not Kevin Love can stay healthy. If not, the Mavs may find themselves on cloud nine prior to getting swept by the Thunder, Spurs or Clippers.

As for the other two, we'll go bold and dismiss the Nuggets (who lost a lot and have a new coach). And we'll go not bold and dismiss the Trail Blazers. It'll make it all the more confusing when you see slide number one.