The NBA season is in full swing and the race for the playoffs is heating up. In the Western Conference, there are a number of teams vying for position. In this blog post, we will take a look at the current standings in the Western Conference and how the teams stack up against each other. We will also provide some analysis on what to expect from the rest of the season.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors are currently in first place in the Western Conference with a record of 51-14. They have won four consecutive games and are on a roll heading into the playoffs. The Warriors are led by their superstar duo of Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, who are both averaging over 25 points per game. Curry is also averaging 6.5 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game, while Durant is averaging 8.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game. The Warriors have the best offense in the NBA, scoring an average of 117.6 points per game. They also have a very stout defense, allowing opponents to score just 103.9 points per game. The Warriors are clearly the team to beat in the Western Conference and will be a tough out for any team in the playoffs.
The Houston Rockets are currently in first place in the Western Conference with a record of 44-13. They have clinched a playoff spot and are on pace to win the conference. The Rockets are led by James Harden, who is averaging 29.1 points per game. Houston is also one of the top defensive teams in the league, allowing just 102.4 points per game.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers are currently in fourth place in the Western Conference standings. They have a record of 32-20, which is two games behind the third-place Houston Rockets. The Trail Blazers are also just one game ahead of the fifth-place Utah Jazz.
Portland has been one of the most surprising teams in the NBA this season. They were not expected to be anywhere near as good as they have been. The Trail Blazers have been led by guard Damian Lillard, who is having an MVP-caliber season. Lillard is averaging 27.1 points and 7.2 assists per game. He has been one of the best players in the NBA this season and has single-handedly carried Portland to their current position in the standings.
The Trail Blazers have been a very good team at home this season, with a record of 20-8. However, they have struggled on the road, with a record of 12-12. If Portland can start to play better away from home, they could potentially move up even higher in the standings.
The Trail Blazers are currently in a playoff spot and appear to be headed towards the postseason for the first time since 2016. It will be interesting to see how they perform once they get there.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder are currently in 5th place in the Western Conference standings with a record of 30-20. They are just 1/2 game behind the 4th place Houston Rockets and 3 games behind the 3rd place Los Angeles Clippers. The Thunder have been playing well lately, winning 8 of their last 10 games.
One of the biggest reasons for the Thunder’s success this season has been the play of point guard Russell Westbrook. Westbrook is averaging a triple-double for the season with 31.2 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 10.4 assists per game. He is also shooting a career-high 50% from the field. Westbrook has been named an All-Star starter for the Western Conference and is a leading candidate for MVP.
The Thunder are also getting solid contributions from forwards Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. George is averaging 20.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game while shooting 43% from three-point range. Anthony is averaging 17.3 points and 5.9 rebounds per game while shooting 37% from three-point range.
If the Thunder can continue to play at a high level, they should be able to make a run at one of the top seeds in the Western Conference playoffs.
The Utah Jazz are currently in fourth place in the Western Conference standings. They have a record of 37-18 and are just half a game behind the third-place Houston Rockets. The Jazz have been one of the most consistent teams in the NBA this season and have shown no signs of slowing down. They have one of the best defenses in the league, led by All-Star Rudy Gobert, and an offense that is capable of scoring points in bunches. The Jazz are a legitimate contender for a spot in the NBA Finals and will be a tough out for any team that faces them in the playoffs.
San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs are currently in third place in the Western Conference with a record of 44-34. They are only two games behind the second-place Houston Rockets, and three games behind the first-place Golden State Warriors. The Spurs have been one of the most consistent teams in the NBA over the past few years, and they always seem to find a way to compete for a playoff spot. This season has been no different, as they have once again been one of the better teams in the West.
The Spurs are led by their All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard, who is averaging 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. Leonard is one of the best two-way players in the league, and he has been the anchor of this team for many years now. Second on the team in scoring is veteran guard Rudy Gay, who is averaging 17.6 points per game. Gay is a great scorer and shooter, and he has been a key contributor for the Spurs this season. Third in scoring is guard/forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who is averaging 17.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Aldridge is a very talented player, but he has struggled with consistency at times this season.
The Spurs have a very deep team, and they have gotten solid production from many different players this season. Fourth on the team in scoring is point guard Patty Mills, who is averaging 10 points per game off
New Orleans Pelicans
As of January 8th, 2020, the New Orleans Pelicans are in 13th place in the Western Conference standings with a record of 12-23. They are 4.5 games behind the 12th place Memphis Grizzlies and 7.5 games behind the 11th place Sacramento Kings. The Pelicans have been struggling as of late, losing 9 of their last 10 games. However, they did just recently beat the Houston Rockets, who have the best record in the NBA.
The Pelicans have a young core led by Zion Williamson, who was drafted first overall in 2019. They also have Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart, who were all acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers last year. The Pelicans are a team on the rise, but they are still a few years away from contending for a playoff spot.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers are currently in fifth place in the Western Conference standings. They have a record of 33-21, which is two games behind the fourth-place Houston Rockets. The Clippers are also just one game ahead of the sixth-place Utah Jazz.
The Clippers have been on a bit of a hot streak lately, winning seven of their last ten games. However, they did lose to the Jazz in their most recent matchup. That being said, the Clippers are still in a good position to make a run at the playoffs.
We will have to wait and see how the rest of the season plays out, but it should be an exciting race for the final few spots in the Western Conference playoffs.
Entering the 2017-18 NBA season, the Minnesota Timberwolves were pegged by many experts to be a dark horse candidate to make the playoffs in the Western Conference. However, due to a combination of injuries and underwhelming play, the Timberwolves have struggled mightily and currently sit at the bottom of the conference standings with a record of 12-42.
One of the biggest issues for Minnesota has been their defense, as they rank near the bottom of the league in points allowed per game. In addition, the Timberwolves have had trouble scoring points on a consistent basis, which has led to them having one of the worst offensive ratings in the NBA. Another issue for Minnesota has been their lack of experience, as they are one of the youngest teams in the league.
At this point, it seems unlikely that the Timberwolves will be able to turn things around and make a push for the playoffs. However, there is still a lot of basketball left to be played and stranger things have happened before. IfMinnesota can start playing better on both ends of the court, they could start climb up the standings and potentially make a run at a playoff spot.
The Denver Nuggets are currently in 7th place in the Western Conference standings. They are just 2 games behind the 6th place Los Angeles Clippers, and 3 games behind the 5th place Oklahoma City Thunder. The Nuggets have been one of the biggest surprises in the NBA this season, as they were not expected to contend for a playoff spot. However, they have been led by their young core of players, including Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. The Nuggets will need to continue to play well if they want to make the playoffs, as there are several teams ahead of them that are also fighting for a spot.
The Dallas Mavericks are currently in 8th place in the Western Conference standings. They have a record of 33-27 and are just half a game behind the 7th place Houston Rockets. The Mavericks have been one of the most consistent teams in the league over the past few years and are always a tough team to beat. They have a great mix of young talent and experienced veterans on their roster, and they always seem to find a way to win games.
The Mavericks are led by their superstar point guard, Luka Doncic. Doncic is one of the best players in the league and is capable of taking over games at any time. He is averaging 28.8 points, 9.4 assists, and 8.7 rebounds per game this season, and he is one of the frontrunners for MVP honors. Doncic has a bright future ahead of him, and the Mavericks will be contenders as long as he is on their roster.
The Mavericks also have some other solid players on their roster, including Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr.,and Dwight Powell. Porzingis is a very talented big man who can score inside and out, while Hardaway Jr. is a dangerous scorer from all three levels. Powell is a versatile forward who does a little bit of everything for Dallas. If the Mavericks can get everyone healthy and playing well at the same time, they could make some noise in the playoffs this season.
The Sacramento Kings are currently in the 13th spot in the Western Conference standings. They have a record of 24-33 and are 5.5 games behind the 8th seed Memphis Grizzlies. The Kings have been struggling as of late, losing 9 of their last 10 games. Their most recent loss was a 108-93 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Kings are led by De’Aaron Fox, who is averaging 20.4 points per game, 7.2 assists per game, and 3.6 rebounds per game. Buddy Hield is second on the team in scoring, averaging 19.4 points per game. Harrison Barnes is third, averaging 18.9 points per game.
The Kings are a young team and they have shown flashes of potential throughout the season but they have not been able to string together enough consistent play to make a push for the playoffs. If they can turn things around and start playing better basketball, they could make a run at one of the final playoff spots in the Western Conference.
The Memphis Grizzlies are currently in 8th place in the Western Conference standings. They have a record of 19-21 and are just 1.5 games behind the 7th place San Antonio Spurs. The Grizzlies have been one of the most improved teams in the NBA this season and are led by point guard Mike Conley and center Marc Gasol. The Grizzlies are a young team that is starting to come into its own and could be a dangerous team in the playoffs.
The Phoenix Suns are currently in the Western Conference standings with a record of 8-9. They are in tenth place, just ahead of the Sacramento Kings. The Suns have been playing better as of late, winning four out of their last six games. With their recent success, they have a chance to move up in the standings.