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Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant reaches for (Credit: AP)

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant reaches for the ball in front of Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Kidd during the frirt half of Game 2 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals. (May 19, 2011)

NBA Western Conference preseason power rankings

Ranking the projected playoff teams in the Western Conference.

Predictions by Bobby Bonett

3. GRIZZLIESLast season was no fluke. Memphis is
(Credit: AP)

3. GRIZZLIES
Last season was no fluke. Memphis is young, has Marc Gasol locked up, and go-to scorer Rudy Gay returns from injury. Could surprise teams in playoffs.
Prediction: Western Conference finals

7. BLAZERSBrandon Roy is gone, LaMarcus Aldridge has
(Credit: AP)

7. BLAZERS
Brandon Roy is gone, LaMarcus Aldridge has health issues, and who knows what Greg Oden can contribute. Still, pieces are there (Jamal Crawford, Wesley Matthews, Gerald Wallace).
Prediction: First round playoff exit

8. NUGGETS Losing Wilson Chandler to China hurts.
(Credit: AP)

8. NUGGETS
Losing Wilson Chandler to China hurts. Between Nene’s return and the growth of Arron Afflalo and Danilo Gallinari, though, they’ll compete for playoff spot.
Prediction: First round playoff exit

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