A few NBA teams will hold their media days on Friday, and the rest will do so beginning next week. That means training camps are just about upon us, so with that in mind, here's an introductory look at one thing each team should look to address before the regular season gets going at the end of October. We looked at the Eastern Conference last week. Here's our look at the West.
Photo: Thearon W. Henderson
Los Angeles Lakers
With Kobe Bryant gone after 20 spectacular seasons, the youth movement is officially underway in Los Angeles. New head coach Luke Walton will give the keys to D'Angelo Russell, and will use training camp to install his new systems.
Walton has already said that rookie Brandon Ingram, the No. 2 pick in this summer's draft, won't start right away, and that's fine. But training camp and the preseason will be important in terms of preparing him for the long grind of his first NBA season. Photo: Vincent Frank / Sportsnaut / Yardbarker
The Suns are in a similar situation as the Lakers, in that they have a ton of young talent that needs playing time to develop. The problem is the three guys pictured: Brandon Knight, Tyson Chandler and Eric Bledsoe, who are all worthy of a starter's share of minutes.
Head coach Earl Watson will need to determine just how much he'll be able to play budding star Devin Booker, not to mention the team's rookies -- Tyler Ulis, Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss.
Tom Thibodeau took over as president of basketball operations and head coach this summer, so we can expect the young Timberwolves to improve greatly on defense.
Thibodeau is known for getting maximum effort out of his players, so Minnesota should finish much better than it did a season ago, when its defense ranked just 27th. More interesting to see, though, will be just how much of a leap can be made by the young core of Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine and Karl-Anthony Towns. Photo: David Sherman
New Orleans Pelicans
This wasn't a great offseason for the Pelicans on the surface. Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon both left in free agency to sign with the Rockets, and the team didn't do anything to replace the production of those two key rotation players.
The Nuggets have some nice young talent in Emmanuel Mudiay (pictured), Jusuf Nurkic and Nikola Jokic. It'll be interesting to see how the team will be able to blend those pieces with the more established Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried, and training camp is a great time to start to figure it out. Photo: Matt Birch / The Sports Daily / Yardbarker
The biggest move the Kings made this summer was installing Dave Joerger as head coach. He'll need to bond with DeMarcus Cousins (pictured) as quickly as possible in order for Sacramento to have its first controversy-free season in several years.
Make no mistake, the Kings are still a bad team from a talent perspective. But if Joerger can start building a culture that Cousins can believe in, it could go a long way in changing the fortunes of the franchise.
The Jazz seem poised to make a leap this season. One of the better defensive teams in each of the past two years, Utah added Joe Johnson, George Hill and Boris Diaw this summer. As long as head coach Quin Snyder can use training camp to begin to make the new pieces fit, Gordon Hayward and company should be in good shape. Photo: Darryn Albert / Larry Brown Sports / Yardbarker
James Harden actually had a better statistical season last season than he did in the one before where he finished second in MVP voting to Stephen Curry. But his performance was lost thanks to a Rockets season that went off the rails very early on.
Harden admitted there were chemistry issues last season, and now, with Dwight Howard gone and Mike D'Antoni in place as the new head coach, Harden is as focused as ever in getting his team back to the level of playing with the league's elite. Photo: Jason Rowan / Sportress of Blogitude / Yardbarker
Mike Conley is the highest-paid player in the NBA, thanks to the five-year, $153 million contract he signed this summer. Memphis also has a new head coach in place, after parting ways with Dave Joerger in favor of longtime Miami Heat assistant coach David Fizadale.
Chandler Parsons agreed to a big-money deal to join Memphis in free agency this summer, so training camp will be important for a new head coach to get his players on the same page for the upcoming season. Photo: Justin Ford
Dirk Nowitzki may still be the centerpiece in Dallas, but every offseason, the Mavericks surround him with different players in a bid to improve the team.
This summer was no different. Dallas added former Warriors Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut in free agency, and training camp will be as important as ever for head coach Rick Carlisle to acclimate his new players and get them familiar with his systems. Photo: Steve DelVecchio / Larry Brown Sports / Yardbarker
Portland Trail Blazers
The question for Portland when training camp begins is simple: Did the team reach its ceiling last season?
The Blazers advanced to the second round of the playoffs, after many predicted them to miss the postseason entirely. Portland went all in on its core, while also adding Evan Turner and Festus Ezeli. Injuries to Blake Griffin and Chris Paul undoubtedly helped the Blazers advance last year, and it'll be interesting to see whether the new additions in Portland make this team more formidable in 2017. Photo: Ezra Shaw
Los Angeles Clippers
A healthy Clippers team should be among the West's top teams. A core of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan can at times be among the league's best, and Doc Rivers coaching a veteran group makes L.A. one of the more dangerous units.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Kevin Durant is gone, so this is Russell Westbrook's team now. OKC should still be a threat, but training camp will be important in terms of defining Westbrook's role for the upcoming season.
San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan retired this summer, so this is Kawhi Leonard's team now. Pau Gasol came to San Antonio in free agency, and with Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and LaMarcus Aldridge still in place, Gregg Popovich should have no trouble making another contender out of this group of Spurs.
Golden State Warriors
Believe it or not, training camp may be more important for the Warriors than it will be for any other franchise. Golden State won an NBA-record 73 games during the regular season last year, but will be entering the 2016-17 season without five of its key rotation players from the past two seasons.
Eventually, the Warriors may turn into an unfair opponent for the majority of NBA teams. But they'll take more time to figure things out than many people expect.