The NBA regular season starts on 19th October. Lot of teams made a huge changes in the off season and the Western Conference looks stacked and there is going to be a huge of competition. Here is Sportz18 Western Conference predictions ahead of NBA 2022-23 season.
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The Suns suffered an embarrassing loss in game 7 against Dallas Mavericks last season. Suns resigned DeAndre Ayton and the team looks spirited and could be the number 1 seeded in the regular season as the Suns are one of the most consistent teams in the last 2 regular season.
2. Denver Nuggets
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Denver is the team to look out for this season as their key players return from injury this season. Nikola Jokic finally has Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr fit and healthy ahead of the NBA 2022-23 season. The Nuggets could be one of the mist dominating teams this season. Denver are one of the title favorite’s if Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr stay healthy.
3. Golden State Warriors
Warriors made a lot of changes in the off season. Otto Porter Jr, Gary Payton are no longer part of the team and the bench strength looks weak this season. James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, Mosses Moody are expected to get a lot of playing time this regular season. The warriors will end the regular season as 3rd seeded team.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves
The wolves signed Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert. The inclusion of Gobert makes the wolves a tough contender in the western conference. The team has three potential all stars in the form of Rudy Gobert, Karl Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards. Edwards can run the offense which makes it much easier for Gobert to play deep on the defensive end.
5. Los Angeles Clippers
Clippers has a lot of young talent and the team doesn’t care about the regular season. They are gonna easily qualify for the Playoff’s. The return of Kawhi Leonard solves a ton of problems for the Clippers. Leonard can make free throws, good play making on the floor and a highly rated defender. Clippers also signed John Wall in the off season. If Kawhi and Paul George stay healthy then expect the clippers to win the West.
6. Los Angeles Lakers
Lakers signed Patrick Beverley, Dennis Schroder two point guards in addition to Russell Westbrook as a point guard. The Lakers can win a lot of games with healthy Lebron James and MVP type player Anthony Davis. The main concerns for the laker is the team doesn’t have an elite 3 point shooter. Their 3 wing defense is a weakness for the Lakers.
7. Dallas Mavericks
Luka Doncic’s Mavericks stunned the Suns last season in the playoff’s. The Mavs are without their 2nd best player Jalen Brunson this season. Spencer Dwindle, Tim Hardaway Jr are the second best scorers alongside Luka. Dorian Finney Smith, Reggie Bullock and Maxi Kleber are all good on defense. Mavs could make in to the playoff’s and end the regular season at 7th seed.
8. New Orleans Pelicans
Pelicans surprised everyone last season as they almost defeated the Phoenix Suns in the 1st round of Playoff’s. Zion Williamson is back and the Pelicans starting lineup looks scary CJ McCollum, Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson and Jonas Valanciunas are all elite players. The team has 3 potential all stars players in the squad. Pelicans are entering the season with their strongest lineup.
Probable Two Teams in the Western Conference that could make it to the playoff’s outside the Top 8
Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trail Blazers could make it to the playoff’s via the play in tournament. Jaren Jackson Jr unavailability until January 2023 is a huge for the Grizzlies. Free Agent Kyle Anderson no longer part of the team and Desmond Bane yet to prove that the last season was not a fluke.
Portland Trailblazers could make it to the playoff’s and it all depends on Damian Lillard. If he stays healthy then Portland could be the Darkhorse’s in the West. The team has Jusuf Nurkic back, Josh Hart, Gary Payton Li. Trailblazers could end the regular season at 10th seed.