We are one month away from the start of the 2023 NBA Playoffs, so now is a good time to take a look at how the standings are shaping up in the Western Conference. There’s been some more separation at the top but there’s still a massive jumble from the No. 5 spot to the No. 13 spot.
Below we take a look at the Western Conference standings and playoff picture.
Western Conference Standings and Playoff Picture
1. Denver Nuggets (46-22)
2. Sacramento Kings (40-26), 5.0 GB
3. Memphis Grizzlies (40-26), 5.0 GB
4. Phoenix Suns (37-30), 8.5 GB
5. Los Angeles Clippers (36-33), 10.5 GB
6. Golden State Warriors (35-33), 11.0 GB
7. Minnesota Timberwolves (34-34), 12.0 GB
8. Dallas Mavericks (34-34), 12.0 GB
9. Utah Jazz (33-35), 13.0 GB
10. Oklahoma City Thunder (33-35), 13.0 GB
11. Los Angeles Lakers (33-35), 13.0 GB
12. New Orleans Pelicans (33-35), 13.0 GB
13. Portland Trail Blazers (31-37), 15.0 GB
14. San Antonio Spurs (17-50), 28.5 GB
15. Houston Rockets (15-52), 30.5 GB
The Lakers and Pelicans should be able to take over for the Jazz and Thunder in the play-in tournament, as the latter two squads are clearly trying to tank. However, both LA and New Orleans are dealing with big injuries. If LeBron James and Zion Williamson can return soon, that will make life a lot easier.
The Warriors would love to hold onto the No. 6 spot or improve, as it would help them avoid the play-in tournament. Golden State has been horrendous on the road but remains a home juggernaut. Will they be able to win a road game in the postseason? It’s hard to bet against this squad, even with its road struggles.
The top four teams appear to be safely in the automatic playoff field. The Clippers and Warriors will have to be the most wary of slipping into the play-in tournament but they’re unlikely to miss out on the postseason altogether. The Lakers, Pelicans, Jazz and Thunder will be the teams worth monitoring. Minnesota and Dallas have been inconsistent but should be able to avoid a collapse.