The Wild NBA Western Conference Ranked In Tiers

Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

The Wild NBA Western Conference Ranked In Tiers


The Wild NBA Western Conference Ranked In Tiers


The Western Conference has been deeper than it’s ever been this season, with the difference between the third and the thirteenth seed being just 5.5 games. With the lack of a clear favorite to win the conference, the possibilities remain endless come playoff time. All year long, the standings have continued to shuffle, and there’s multiple teams who can make a legitimate run to the NBA Finals. 

For the first time in a while, you can argue nearly every series on this side of the NBA will be close, with all teams bringing something elite to the table. Despite that, there are teams clearly better than some of the competition that create gaps between some of these teams. With that being said, here is the wild Western conference ranked in tiers.

Tier One | True Title Threats- Denver Nuggets, Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks

Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

All four of these teams have the ability to truly contend for a title this season examining their team from top to bottom. The Denver Nuggets have arguably the best player in the NBA with great depth. The Memphis Grizzlies are a force on both sides of the ball. The Los Angeles Clippers have the perfect blend of star-power, depth and coaching and they’re finally finding their groove. The Dallas Mavericks also have arguably the best player in the NBA, and with the addition of guard Kyrie Irving, it’s going to be interesting to see how Luka Doncic performs with a true co-star. 

Of all of these teams, the Denver Nuggets likely have the best shot as of today. In the past two seasons, Nikola Jokic has put an injury riddled team on his back, while continuing to be potentially the most consistent superstar in both the regular season and the playoffs. Now, they’re fully healthy with a legitimate system in place for Jokic to make the most out of both himself and his teammates, with enough playoff experience to know what it takes to make it all the way. 

It may be a year too early for Memphis as the LA Clippers still lack that consistency in terms of both health and on-court play, and Dallas will face some problems in terms of depth and defense. The Nuggets have been the NBA’s most consistent team so far, with the proper roster to make the run. However, with how close the West is, you can‘t count out one single team, especially any of those other three.

Tier Two | If Everything Goes Right- Golden State Warriors, New Orleans Pelicans, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers

Nearly every big playoff run requires some sort of luck, but these four teams will have to require a ton of that to make it deep. The Golden State Warriors clearly have the talent and experience, but the combination of health and lack of bench depth holds them back. The New Orleans Pelicans have a near perfect roster, but health problems also attribute toward a lesser shot. 

The Phoenix Suns are home to one of the best overall systems in basketball, but the lack of a prominent secondary creator and bench depth raises problems. The Los Angeles Lakers have begun to take steps in the right direction, surrounding LeBron James and Anthony Davis with the proper depth to stay in games as a competitive team. You can argue they’re better than their 25-29 record, but with that inconsistency, the odds of them making a true run remains low. 

All four teams share the same sentiment. There’s reason to believe they can make the run, but reasons to question their overall chances. Of course, all teams have reasonable questions surrounding their overall chances. However, these question marks stand out more than the other four teams above them.

Tier Three | Just a step behind- Sacramento Kings, Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz, Portland Trail-Blazers, Oklahoma City Thunder

Some of the teams in this tier are head and heels above some in that exact tier, but all five are simply just a step behind the rest of the pack. Despite being the third seed in the conference, the Sacramento Kings lack any playoff experience whatsoever, while being a bottom feeder defensively. Karl-Anthony Towns remains out indefinitely for the Wolves, and their only consistent players are Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels. 

The Utah Jazz are simply just a good system with a ton of solid players, lacking the unpredictability to be a threat in any facet. The Trail Blazers have what it takes to be higher, but they’ve yet to find a happy medium between Damian Lillard taking over and the rest of the players consistently getting the opportunity to contribute. 

The Oklahoma City Thunder have a superstar in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander along with a great defense, but playing games with only one true offensive hub will raise problems. All five of these teams will bring some level of excitement to playoff basketball, but will lack the competitiveness to keep up with the rest.


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