Projecting 2023 Western Conference Playoff Matchups

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Projecting 2023 Western Conference Playoff Matchups


Projecting 2023 Western Conference Playoff Matchups


The Western Conference is so congested that it’s almost impossible to decipher. Only three games separate the fourth seeded Phoenix Suns and the tenth seeded New Orleans Pelicans. Any team in the middle of the pack could play any other team in a playoff series. This means the only way to crack the code on who will end up succeeding in the playoffs is to go full Doctor Strange and envision all the possible playoff scenarios before they unfold. Let’s project every hypothetical playoff matchup for the Denver Nuggets, Sacramento Kings, Dallas Mavericks, and Los Angeles Clippers. 

Denver Nuggets 

Nuggets vs Timberwolves: Nuggets win in five 

Nuggets vs Mavericks: Nuggets win in six 

Nuggets vs Lakers: Nuggets win in six

Nuggets vs Clippers: Nuggets win in seven

Nuggets vs Suns: Suns win in six/seven

Nuggets vs Warriors: Warriors win in six 

Nuggets vs Grizzlies: Nuggets win in six

Nuggets vs Kings: Nuggets win in five 

Denver is the only team in the West to fit into the Phil Jackson class of contenders. The Nuggets have won over 40 games before they hit 20 losses and have perhaps the three-time MVP in Nikola Jokic. They have the best point differential in the conference and are 9-1 against the current top six seeds in the West. With the requisite starpower, depth, and coaching to make a run, there aren’t many teams who could realistically take down the Nuggets in a series. 

Phoenix and Golden State are the only two teams who could do it. The Suns have enough offensive firepower to outmatch the Nuggets while the Warriors simply pose a difficult matchup to strain out Denver on the defensive end. Ironically, both the Warriors and Suns would face off with the Nuggets in round two and not the WCF if the season were to end today. 

Sacramento Kings 

Kings vs Clippers: Clippers win in seven

Kings vs Mavericks: Mavericks win in seven

Kings vs Timberwolves: Kings win in six 

Kings vs Lakers: Kings win in seven

Kings vs Pelicans: Kings win in six/seven 

Kings vs Grizzlies: Grizzlies win in seven (whoever had home court wins) 

Kings vs Warriors: Warriors win in five 

Kings vs Suns: Suns win in five 

The Sacramento Kings have been by far and away the best story in basketball. They’re a joy to watch and a perfect representation of modern basketball and the way the game has changed. While the Kings are a team to not be taken lightly, they wouldn’t beat a number of their counterparts in a full playoff series. I only took the Kings over three Western Conference foes, however, it’s not unthinkable to see the Kings make a run at the Western Conference Finals. 

Three of the series’ above were predicted as seven game grudge matches. The Kings have the capabilities of beating the Clippers, Mavericks, and Grizzlies in a series, I just don’t think they will. Additionally, if the Kings draw Minnesota in the first round and Memphis in round two, it’s not inconceivable to think Sacramento could find themselves in the WCF. 


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