Bradford Doolittle writes that the Minnesota Timberwolves and New Orleans Hornets appear ready to become Western Conference powers in the future and that one of the two could be a top-four team in the West in 2012-13.
Pau Gasol eyes an early return, Myles Brand could help U.S. basketball, and Joe Dumars reveals the Pistons' flaw.
Mo Cheeks expects Allen Iverson to stay in Philly, the Hornets are still buzzing, and much more.
The Western Conference fell back to Earth this summer. The Spurs, Rockets and Wolves hope to pick it up.