Are the Spurs cooked without Duncan?

Updated: March 25, 2005, 8:10 AM ET
By Chad Ford | ESPN Insider
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

And the meek have inherited the West.

Last year, the Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves ruled the West. This year, they're scratching lottery tickets.

Last year, the Phoenix Suns and Seattle SuperSonics had the second- and third-worst records in the West respectively. This year, according to our projections, the Suns will likely finish with the best record in the West and the Sonics will finish with the third-best record in the conference.

And how about the lowly Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzlies? Both teams were left for dead in December, but two new veteran coaches have turned these two disappointments into the teams no one wants to play in the first round of the playoffs.

Who will make the playoffs? Who will be playing the lottery?

On Monday, we broke down the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Today, Insider takes a look at the schedules and recent trends and, based on the evidence, projects how things will fall out in the West.

Here's how we break it down:

Chad Ford

ESPN Senior Writer