Are the Nuggets in Suns', Spurs' class?

What kind of grades do the Lakers, Grizzlies and Nuggets deserve? Chad Ford has the report cards for every team in the West.

Updated: April 19, 2005, 1:04 PM ET
By Chad Ford | ESPN Insider
Just 36 hours and the real season finally can begin. Then 82 games become an afterthought.

For many NBA fans, the regular season is really a long, long preseason. A warm-up for the real event.

The Suns can win 62 games this season, up from 29 the year before. But if they lose in the playoffs, some will argue that the team was a disappointment.

"Everyone talks about the playoffs," Suns point guard and MVP candidate Steve Nash told Insider. "I don't know why it's not important in the NBA to be the best team in the regular season. It's an 82-game season. It's pretty silly. In Dallas, even making the playoffs wasn't important enough. Even making the Western Conference finals wasn't enough.

"I care about how we play every day. I want to win every game. The playoffs are the playoffs. My job is to play hard every game."

Can't argue with Steve. In the end, only one team will win the title. A miracle shot (just ask the Spurs) or a miracle block (just ask the Pacers) can end months and months of hard work.

So with playoff mania about to set in, there's no time like now to look back to July 1 and give a little credit to the teams that did it right since then and take a few shots at the ones that screwed it up.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Chad Ford | email

Senior Writer, NBA Insider

ALSO SEE