2022 NBA Western Conference Standings Predictions

Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

2022 NBA Western Conference Standings Predictions


2022 NBA Western Conference Standings Predictions


Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

With October coming up here soon, the new NBA season is just around the corner. This offseason was a little slow with the trade request of Kevin Durant. But that didn’t stop teams from loading up for another run at a title. With the start of the season comes predictions. I have already done a too early Eastern Conference standings prediction so it’s now time for the Western Conference to take center stage:

Missing the postseason

  1. Utah Jazz

-After trading both Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, Utah is in full rebuild mode. They won’t win a ton of games but will be competitive I assume. They still have some decent players on the roster, but this isn’t a winning roster at all. They are better off losing games at this point in order to give themselves a chance at the number overall pick and the possibility of landing Victor Wembanyama in the draft. All is not lost for the fans of the Jazz as Danny Ainge has complied a large number of draft picks that should allow them to make moves down the road. This season may be rough, but the future seems to be bright for the Jazz.

  1. San Antonio Spurs

Somehow the Spurs are always competitive, but this season feels different. They traded away Dejounte Murray to Atlanta and now face the reality of no star players being on the roster. They are squarely in the mix for the Wembanyama sweepstakes. Even Gregg Popovich told reporters at the media day that nobody should bet on them to win the NBA Finals. This franchise has seen some dark days since their run of titles years ago. They will get back on their feet at some point but another losing season looks to be in the cards for San Antonio.

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder

Man, what this team could have been. Losing Chet Holmgren for the season is a tough blow for this franchise but he should be back and ready to go next year. The Thunder have a ton of young talent and seem to be in a great spot for the future. Led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, this team will be fun to watch at least for their fans. Gilgeous-Alexander is currently dealing with a knee injury that will sideline him for training camp but hopefully it isn’t too serious of an injury. The Thunder are close to breaking through. They just need some injury luck to go their way and time on the court together.

  1. Houston Rockets

I love what Houston is building. After James Harden left, any sort of future seemed bleak. But this team has built up a nice young core and seem ready to take the next step. Jalen Green is a great player to build around and he will easily take a jump this year. Much like the Jazz, they won’t win too many games but will surprise some people. They are close to a postseason spot but fall just short this year. One more year and I think we see Houston back in the playoffs.

  1. Sacramento Kings

Another year goes by, and the Kings miss the playoffs yet again. Despite upgrades to the roster and a new coach in Mike Brown, I still have Sacramento on the outside looking in. It’s like clockwork for this franchise and sadly, it won’t end their streak. Domantas Sabonis and DeAaron Fox make for a nice duo, but the Western Conference is absolutely loaded. Their defense is still a question mark and may hold them back. I did love the addition of Kevin Huerter to add some shooting to the roster. Sacramento will win some games that they probably have no business winning but it all leads them to the same fate, missing the postseason once again.

Play-in tournament:

  1. Portland Trailblazers

Damian Lillard is back healthy and ready to go. This team revamped the roster around him, and they should push for the playoffs, even if it’s just the play-in. Jerami Grant proves shooting and defense for this team and will be a nice compliment to Lillard. With a healthy Lillard, the Blazers will be a team that opponents don’t want to defend. Portland gets back to the playoffs behind a strong redemption year from the All-Star guard.

  1. Los Angeles Lakers

This may be the hardest team to project because they could either miss the playoffs, make the play-in, or be a top six seed. Not many other teams can have that wide of range of projections. However, in Hollywood, nothing comes without the dramatic nature. The Lakers still have LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but health has been an issue. If those two can stay healthy, this team has a chance to be title contenders. However, they do have a $47 million dollar elephant in the room. Russell Westbrook is still on the roster, for now, and he needs to buy in. If he can, this team could be lethal. However, nothing throughout his career has shown a willingness to do just that. This Lakers team can be good but so many things must go right for that to happen. I see them getting back to the postseason but their ceiling with this current roster is a second-round exit, at best.

  1. Dallas Mavericks

Why are the Mavericks so low in the standings after a run to the Conference Finals last year? Simply because they didn’t do much to improve their team while others ahead of them did. The loss of Jalen Brunson will hurt Luka Doncic and this team. Christian Wood will help but is he really the answer? JaVale McGee will prove some rim protection but at this point in his career, not much else. Other than Doncic, this roster isn’t that impressive. Can they produce at a high level defensively again? Can someone other than Doncic score the ball at a consistent rate? They are just a lot of questions surrounding this Dallas team for me to put them any higher than eight. I’m lower on Dallas than others might be.

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves

Minnesota pulled off one of the blockbusters of the summer but acquiring Rudy Gobert from the Jazz. It took the majority of their future draft picks, but they see their window to win as now. He projects to be part of the twin towers in the frontcourt with Karl-Anthony Towns. Teams will struggle to score at the rim against the Wolves but Gobert’s limitations on offense, may hurt this team at times. Luckily for them forward Anthony Edwards seems ready to take a jump. He balled out in the playoffs and looks to be a true go-to scorer in this league. Minnesota will be better, but the question remains, just how good will they be to justify the Gobert trade? Only time will tell.

Clinched official playoff spot

  1. New Orleans Pelicans

I’m all in on New Orleans this season. After getting some playoff experience and taking it to the league-leading Suns, this team is ready for the next step. Brandon Ingram showed that he could be a number one option for a team, which was the biggest aspect of the playoffs. They get a healthy Zion Williamson back into the fold and are ready to take over. New Orleans hasn’t had a true winner at the NBA level for a while, so this team has some lofty expectations now. If not this year, then when? They need to show the league that they are here to stay. I think they get a top six seed for the playoffs and become a team that nobody wants to face in a seven-game series.

  1. Phoenix Suns

After being the number one seed last year, the Suns return basically the same core. However, after a collapse in the postseason and offseason drama surrounding the owner, it remains to be seen just how much that affects this team. They will still be good, but I think they regress a little bit. Chris Paul is getting older and started to show his age at times in the playoffs. They can’t rely on him so heavily if they want to reach their goals but unfortunately for them, he is one of their core players. Devin Booker needs to show that his run to the NBA Finals two years ago wasn’t a fluke. He needs to be better all around, and he has the talent to do it. This team is a tight unit but, in the playoffs, you need to be mentally strong as a team and they haven’t shown that consistently over the last two seasons.

  1. Memphis Grizzlies

The surprise of last season as the Grizzlies took the league by storm. They should be fired up for another strong year and for good reason. They are young, hungry, and talented. That combination can be scary for opponents, and they got more tastes of the postseason. Ja Morant will need to improve himself defensively if this team wants to reach their goals but I’m sure he knows that. Memphis will be a tough out come playoff time but it’s the regular season that can be a grind. This team understands that and will likely try to rest a little more than they did last season.

  1. Los Angeles Clippers

This team is absolutely loaded. If Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are healthy, watch out for the Clippers. They are talented from top to bottom and have a plethora of wing depth to use. They are also coached by one of the best in the league in Tyronn Lue, who will help elevate them to where they want to go. The only thing holding back the Clippers is health. They have been unlucky of late in that department, but this could be the year to put it all together. They are coming for the league.

  1. Golden State Warriors

-The defending champions will once again be one of the favorites to repeat this season. However, their bench depth did take a hit with the losses of Otto Porter Jr. and Gary Payton II. Yet, this team always finds a way to have success. Behind the strong play of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, the Warriors will be just fine. Draymond Green brings the toughness and excitement to the table so this roster will be strong as ever. As a core, the trio of Curry, Thompson, and Green have never lost a playoff series when all three have been healthy and available to play. It’s an impressive feat that they will look to continue over into his upcoming year.

  1. Denver Nuggets

I expect big things from the Denver Nuggets this season, including wrapping up the number one seed in the conference. Getting Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. back to a team with Nikola Jokic will be huge. They also improved the edges of the roster over the offseason by bringing in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for shooting and defense and Bruce Brown. This is going to be a tough team to deal with all season long and I think they know how important home court is for them. I like them to come out with a bang and take the league by storm this season.


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