Suns back in West's upper crust?

PER Diem: Nov. 9, 2009

Updated: November 9, 2009, 8:16 PM ET
By John Hollinger |
Amare StoudemireFernando Medina/NBAE/Getty ImagesAmare Stoudemire is making up for a drop-off in scoring with efficiency and his work on the boards.

Welcome to our predictable season, in which everybody knows the Lakers and Spurs are the teams to beat in the Western Conference after their offseason maneuvers, with perhaps Portland or Denver moving up to challenge them.