Can the Clippers win the West?

Chris Paul and the Clippers edged out the Heat on Wednesday night, but will they win the West? Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

The only thing Ric Bucher and Chris Broussard like to do more than report on the NBA is argue about the NBA. That's why, as the NBA returns, so does Insider's weekly One-on-One series, in which they'll debate the hottest topics in the association.

Question: Will the Los Angeles Clippers win the Western Conference?

BUCHER: Now that all the confetti has been swept up over the Clippers' acquiring point guard Chris Paul, adding Chauncey Billups and retaining DeAndre Jordan, it's time to consider exactly how potent the upgrades have made them. They certainly have depth and a decent amount of athleticism, both vital elements in this season's nonstop sprint of a 66-game schedule. I fully expect them to lock down a playoff berth for only the second time in the past 15 years (and there's little question that Wednesday night's win over the Miami Heat was impressive).

But the vital elements to making any significant noise in the playoffs are not evident -- defense, free throw shooting, collective playoff experience -- which is why getting to the second round looks to be their high-water mark as of now.

BROUSSARD: I disagree. I don't have the Clippers as definitive favorites in the West the way the Heat are in the East, in my opinion. But in a field that is wide-open, I give them a very good chance to reach the Finals. In fact, they are my pick to rep the West. Clearly, they need to improve, but I believe they can do so significantly by the time the playoffs roll around.