Following are brief profiles of the 15 teams in the National Basketball Association's (NBA) Western Conference ahead of the 2011-12 season.



Founded: 1967

NBA titles: None

Head coach: George Karl

2010-11 record: 50-32; Finished second in division, lost to Oklahoma City in first round of playoffs.

The Nuggets re-signed free-agent center Nene but times still will be tough with forwards Wilson Chandler and Kenyon Martin and guard J.R. Smith unavailable until March after signing contracts to play in China during the lockout.

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Founded: 1989

NBA titles: None

Head coach: Rick Adelman

2010-11 record: 17-65; Finished last overall in NBA.

The T-Wolves will be improved with Spanish playmaker Ricky Rubio and forward Derrick Williams, both rookies, and All-Star forward Kevin Love and small forwards Michael Beasley back. But Minnesota does not appear to have the talent to end a seven-season streak of missing the playoffs.

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Founded: 1967

NBA titles: 1 (1979 as Seattle SuperSonics)

Head coach: Scott Brooks

2010-11 record: 55-27; Won the division and made a run in the playoffs that ended in defeat to the eventual NBA champion Dallas Mavericks in the conference final.

With All-Star forward Kevin Durant looking to claim a third consecutive NBA scoring title and last season's starting roster intact, the Thunder are expected to be title contenders.

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Founded: 1970

NBA titles: 1 (1977)

Head coach: Nate McMillan

2010-11 record: 48-34; Lost to Dallas in first round of playoffs.

The loss of All-Star guard Brandon Roy to retirement and injured center Greg Oden hurt, putting more pressure on forwards LaMarcus Aldridge and Gerald Wallace and newcomers Raymond Felton and Jamal Crawford to keep the Trail Blazers in playoff contention. Above all, the Blazers must stay healthy, something that has been difficult in recent seasons.

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Founded: 1974

NBA titles: None

Head coach: Tyrone Corbin

2010-11 record: 39-43; Missed playoffs for first time since 2005-06 season.

Hard times are likely to continue for this once-proud franchise which suffered just its second losing season in 28 years. With no real standout player, the Jazz will be depending on draft pick Enes Kanterand new signee Josh Howard to help carry the load if there is to be improvement.

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Founded: 1946

NBA titles: 2 (1975, 1956 as Philadelphia Warriors)

Head coach: Mark Jackson

2010-11 record: 36-46; Missed playoffs for first time since 2006-07 season.

New coach Jackson will need to crank up the defense and improve the rebounding for the Warriors to be winners. They already have the scoring potential in Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry. Newcomer Kwame Brown should help inside for a team in transition.

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Founded: 1970

NBA titles: None

Head coach: Vinny Del Negro

2010-11 record: 32-50; Fourth in Pacific, missed playoffs.

The Clippers appear ready to make some noise in the NBA after the acquisition of All-Star guard Chris Paul to team with dynamic power forward and rookie of the year Blake Griffin. The team will be seeking their first playoff berth since 2006.

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Founded: 1947

NBA titles: 16 (2010, 2009, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1988, 1987, 1985, 1982, 1980, 1972, 1954, 1953, 1952, 1950, 1949)

Head coach: Mike Brown

2010-11 record: 57-25; Won the division but were swept out of the playoffs by Dallas in the conference semi-finals.

Brown has big shoes to fill as the replacement to Hall of Famer Phil Jackson, the NBA's most successful coach, who ended his career after last season. The ageing core group of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Derek Fisher return.

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Founded: 1968

NBA titles: None

Head coach: Alvin Gentry

2010-11 record: 40-42; Missed playoffs for the second time in three seasons.

Phoenix remains solid on offense but the defense needs a quick fix for the Suns to get above .500. Point guard Aaron Brooks likely will miss much of the season after signing a contract to play in China. Newcomers Shannon Brown, Sebastian Telfair and Ronnie Price should give seven-time All-Star and former league most valuable player (MVP) Steve Nash some relief.

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Founded: 1945

NBA titles: 1 (1951 as Rochester Royals)

Head coach: Paul Westphal

2010-11 record: 24-58; Last in the division.

The Kings have not made the postseason since 2006 and the talent does not appear there for a run this season. Rookie shooting whiz Jimmer Fredette and trade acquisition J.J. Hickson should help, but the Kings will need big seasons from center DeMarcus Cousins and guard Tyreke Evans to take the next step.

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Founded: 1980

NBA titles: 1 (2011)

Head coach: Rick Carlisle

2010-11 record: 57-25; Finished second in division and went on to defeat the Miami Heat for franchise's first NBA title.

NBA Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki and aging guard Jason Kidd are back along with key contributors Jason Terry and Shawn Marion and the Mavericks have added former Laker Lamar Odom and eight-time All-Star Vince Carter to the mix. But the Mavericks will need to shore up their defense with center Tyson Chandler now playing for the Knicks.

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Founded: 1967

NBA titles: 2 (1995, 1994)

Head coach: Kevin McHale

2010-11 record: 43-39; Missed playoffs for second straight season.

A young Houston team will be pushing hard to return to the postseason. Trouble is the Western Conference is a tough place to play, especially for a team without an established big man. The retirement of Yao Ming, who was limited to a handful of games the past two season because of injury, has new coach Kevin McHale looking to the future with forward Luis Scola and point guard Kyle Lowry.

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Founded: 1995

NBA titles: None

Head coach: Lionel Hollins

2010-11 record: 46-36; Lost to Oklahoma City in conference semi-finals.

A shock winner over top-seed San Antonio in the opening round of the postseason, the Grizzlies are hoping for more surprises after re-signing free agent center Marc Gasol to team up with the bruising Zach Randolph. Small forward Rudy Gay has recovered from a shoulder injury, but the Grizzlies will miss the defense of free agent Shane Battier, who signed with Miami.

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Founded: 1988

NBA titles: None

Head coach: Monty Williams

2010-11 record: 46-36; Lost to Lakers in opening round of the playoffs.

Wins will be difficult to come by for the Hornets with All-Star guard Chris Paul now playing for the Clippers. The league-owned team has gone from playoff contenders to rebuilding mode with the departure of Paul and free agent forward David West, who signed with Indiana. Young guard Eric Gordon, who came over in the Paul trade, helps start the trend as he joins holdovers Jarrett Jack and Emeka Okafor.

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Founded: 1967

NBA titles: 4 (2007, 2005, 2003, 1999)

Head coach: Gregg Popovich

2010-11 record: 61-21; Lost in opening round of playoffs.

The aging Spurs would like to make one more title run with Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. They should win lots of games, just like last season, but their surprising loss to Memphis in the playoffs proved times could be tough when the Spurs go against a team with a big lineup. Rookie forward Kawhi Leonard will be a solid addition but the compact league season with back-to-back games could work against San Antonio and the need to rest its veterans.