The 2019-2020 NBA regular season was brought to an abrupt halt on May 12th when NBA officials decided to suspend the season due to a player testing positive for the covid-19. Since that time, NBA officials have been meeting regularly to determine when they will begin the season again and how that season will play out. However, if the season were to end today, the following would be the potential first round matchups in the Western Conference playoffs.
The top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers would host the eight-seeded Memphis Grizzlies. Los Angeles has two of the top 10 players in the NBA in LeBron James and Anthony Davis and would dominate the younger inexperienced Grizzlies who are led by rookie Ja Morant. Although Memphis would play well from start to finish of each game, the Lakers would easily sweep the undermanned Memphis in the series and move on to the second round.
The second-seeded Los Angeles Clippers would host the seventh-seeded Dallas Mavericks in what would be the most thrilling series of the first round. The Clippers are led by the star duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, while the Mavericks have two of the best foreign-born players in the NBA in Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. The Clippers are much deeper from top to bottom than are the Mavericks and would wear down Dallas over the series and end up winning and moving on to the second round.
The third-seeded Houston Rockets would face off against the sixth-seeded Denver Nuggets in a series that could go the distance. The Rockets played streaky all season behind the play of James Harden and Russell Westbrook. The Nuggets are led by triple-double threat Nikola Jokic and sharp shooting point guard Jamal Murray. Houston's Harden is averaging an NBA leading 34.4 points per game and teammate Westbrook is close behind averaging 27.5 points per game. Houston and Denver split the four games they played this season and it would not surprise anyone if the series went the distance. Houston wins though thanks to home court advantage.
The fourth and final matchup of the first round in the Western Conference would feature the fourth-seeded Utah Jazz against the fifth-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder. Donovan Mitchell is the only true threat on offense for the Jazz, while Oklahoma City is led by veteran point guard Chris Paul, who guides a younger set of stars. The series would likely go the distance as well, as both teams are evenly matched, but the Thunder would upset the Jazz and move on.
In the second round of the Western Conference playoffs, the top-seeded Lakers would easily dispose of the fifth-seeded Thunder while the second-seeded Clippers would defeat the third-seeded Rockets. The finals of the Western Conference would be between the top two seeds the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers with all 7 games played at the Staples Center. This would be a series where anything could happen and each game would be played as if it were Game 7. In the end, the Lakers would prevail and move on to play the Eastern Conference champions in the NBA finals.