Summer Forecast: 2016-17 Western Conference champions

ByESPN.com news services
August 03, 2016, 10:30 AM

— -- After winning an NBA-record 73 games during the regular season, the Golden State Warriors battled back from a 3-1 deficit to overcome Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference finals. 

Now with Durant on their side, is a third consecutive trip to the NBA Finals a foregone conclusion for the Warriors? Or could teams like the San Antonio Spurs or LA Clippers give Golden State a run for its money?

We asked our ESPN Forecast panel to predict which team will emerge as Western Conference champions in 2016-17. Then we totaled up the ballots, with a first-place vote receiving five points, a second-place vote receiving three and a third-place vote receiving one. ( Here's how ESPN Forecast works.)

To participate in the discussion, #ESPNForecast is the Twitter hashtag to use. 

So who will be best in the West? Read on.

Western Conference champ projections

1. Golden State Warriors

Projected record: 67-15

First-place votes: 47

Points: 235

2. San Antonio Spurs

Proj. record: 57-25

First-place votes: 0

Points: 108

3. LA Clippers

Proj. record: 52-30

First-place votes: 0

Points: 63

4. Utah Jazz

Proj. record: 45-37

First-place votes: 0

Points: 9

5. Portland Trail Blazers

Proj. record: 46-36

First-place votes: 0

Points: 5

T-6. Oklahoma City Thunder

Proj. record: 44-38

First-place votes: 0

Points: 1

T-6. Memphis Grizzlies

Proj. record: 43-39

First-place votes: 0

Points: 1

T-6. Dallas Mavericks

Proj. record: 40-42

First-place votes: 0

Points: 1

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