Who will emerge in the wide-open West after Kevin Durant’s injury and uncertainty surrounding the Grizzlies, Warriors?

The years of Western Conference dominance and the reigns seem to be on hiatus for a season, and that could be the case for the foreseeable future.

It’s so messed up and things are so uncertain, that the new-look Los Angeles Lakers could reasonably be considered a team to make some noise if they get out of their current play-in tournament status.

Kevin Durant’s ankle injury not only halted his debut for the hometown Phoenix fans, but further delayed his adjustment with his teammates, and they with him. Now he’s the most malleable star this league has probably ever seen, able to easily fit into any system because of his style of play and basketball acumen. But this two-to-three-week injury exposes a fragility Suns’ ambitious plan: The slightest health issue, especially with Durant or Chris Paul, will blow this all up in smoke.

Their lack of depth and continuity with each other will make it a tough road regardless of where they land in the playoffs, even if the Suns’ ceiling is higher than anyone in the conference.

It would be easy to believe them, if there were real evidence. But there is no extensive work yet and likely won’t be before the playoffs.

Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant will miss at least three weeks with a sprained left ankle suffered in pregame warmups on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

It seemed like the Memphis Grizzlies were next in line. They had everything from a budding superstar to a hungry young core, even getting knocked out in the second round last year by the Warriors to add some heartbreak to the guts.

But Ja Morant’s uncertain status, along with the Grizzlies’ own inconsistencies, made Morant’s “I’m fine in the west” the comment seems more like a challenge to the competition than a statement of fact.

Steven Adams out for the rest of the regular season and Brandon Clarke missing the playoffs after Achilles surgery are no small problems. Adams’ size and Clarke’s activity cannot be easily replaced, definitely not in a playoff setting.

Dillon Brooks overpowered Draymond Green, barking and biting, but his decision-making isn’t reliable when it matters. If Morant comes back and looks like a reasonable copy of himself, what’s to stop the up-and-coming Brooks from stealing a playoff series by himself?

There is no reason not to believe in the Denver Nuggets. Their defense has improved from a rough start to the season, their scoring margin is consistently near the top of the West and, oh yeah, they use the biggest favorite to win MVP: Nikola Jokić.

When those things traditionally describe one team, it seems to be the overwhelming favorite — except the Nuggets aren’t, simply because they haven’t done it before.

That’s a pretty big reason why the MVP conversation feels so ugly so far, but regardless of the circumstances the last two years, the Nuggets haven’t made the conference finals.

Jokic is unselfish, averaging double-digit assists and creating plenty of space for Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. to do their thing. Injuries kept both dynamic perimeter players from the floor in the Nuggets’ first-round loss to Golden State last year, and health permitting, that won’t be the case this time around.

Stephen Curry and Giannis Antetokounmpo are both unselfish by nature, but when the time called for the ultimate one-of-a-kind performances to help their clubs prevail in tough situations, they delivered. We haven’t seen Jokić when the stakes are highest, but that doesn’t mean he can’t or won’t. He hasn’t punished him in the MVP debates for the past three years, but there will be no excuses this year.

Champions have erased their own excuses from the past and rely on that corporate knowledge to get going at some point — especially on the road. But maybe that’s just not in their plans this season. A team can’t walk away with a 7-26 record from the Chase Center and believe it’s really built to win a title. The Warriors have withstood so many barriers and body blows and still stood strong, especially last June when they won their most improbable title of this era.

But there is nothing short of blind faith that would lead anyone to believe they will go through four grueling playoff series to win another title, or even three to return to the Finals stage.

The only teams in the same class as the Warriors on the road are those trumpeting Victor Wembanya — Detroit (7-26), San Antonio (6-27) and Houston (6-28).

There have been injuries, controversies and starts and stops at every turn, but they will be so nonchalant about winning when it matters, in hostile environments and doing it with guile and fervor, why should anyone believe in them this season?

That doesn’t discredit their championship last year or any of their previous consistent excellence. But this is a year on its own and unlike last year, when the Warriors got off to a hot start before running into trouble, there’s no sweat equity to fall back on this season. Their defense only looked title-like for small periods, but for the most part disinterest was the only constant.

It is unclear when Andrew Wiggins will return to the team due to a personal problem, or if it will have a positive effect. They have been in doubt due to various issues, especially Curry’s injuries, but they have had a better record without him than with him in uniform (20-21 with Curry).

The Clippers have been struggling all season with availability and their own identity. It would be easy to say that they are lurking, but the same can be said for several teams. Yes, Kawhi Leonard looked like the 2021 playoff version before his ACL injury halted a possible run to the Finals, but something still feels off.

Tyronn Lue is experimenting with more small lineups, using Leonard as a big, but the addition of Russell Westbrook, who Lue is believed to have sought, complicates things further. Westbrook shot 52% from the field and is averaging 8.1 assists in seven games as a starter — whatever ails the Clippers won’t be on Westbrook’s shoulders, much like the Lakerland mess — but it’s still a fragile situation at best.

Either of these teams could overcome their problems and holes, and someone will emerge from this mess and play in the first week of June.

Or it could be the Sacramento Kings.

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