The 2023 NBA season is in full flow, and the Western Conference is already showing us just how stacked it is in terms of its quality. There are numerous franchises this season that believe they will be in the running for a playoff spot and compete for the NBA Finals.
With the quality on offer, it would not be a surprise if we were to experience a number of results that are closely contested or see game records be a little tighter throughout the entirety of the Conference.
This is what makes the West one to watch so closely each year, with this season being no different. The Denver Nuggets are the current defending NBA Champs, and they look in good form already as they have raced to an unbeaten start inside four games. The Dallas Mavericks are on their coattails at the moment, though, as they are also unbeaten but with one fewer game played.
At the other end of the table, the Memphis Grizzlies are struggling (0-4), as are the Houston Rockets (0-3). However, as we have seen so often across the NBA, a lot can change in a very short period of time, and with games being played almost daily, there is a lot that can happen when it is least expected.
Which teams are most likely to be Western Conference Winners in 2023/24?
Given their start and the season they had last year, the Denver Nuggets are the team to beat in the West at the moment. As mentioned, the organization has already shown that they can pick up where they left off.
The team had an offseason which saw them be able to bring back the entire core of their roster, with each of the five individual starters in last season’s success available. Nikola Jokic was the best player in the world throughout the previous campaign, and he has started in good form once again. This is perhaps why, according to Unibet, a sports betting site in Canada, they are the main contenders for the Western Conference, with odds of +230 being made available.
The Phoenix Suns, though, are likely to be their biggest challenge for the conference title. The Suns have started their 2023/24 NBA season slowly as they are 2-2 on the year thus far, but with 10 teams able to qualify (including those that play in the Play-In tournament), there status as a playoff team is not
What is, is whether they have the ability to step up and take the title. The team has incredible talent on its roster with the likes of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal. This means putting points on the board should not be a problem, but with a lack of depth and questions over the defense, there might be
some concerns about whether they are strong enough to compete for the Western Conference title.
Who else could compete with the Nuggets and Suns?
As mentioned, there is no shortage of quality and talent across the Western Conference this season. This should make it more than a two-team conference, with the likes of the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors potentially being in a position to challenge.
Both teams do have questions regarding the age of their squads, as they are getting a little older, and concerns will be over whether they can remain healthy and compete at the highest level over the course of the season.
The Los Angeles Clippers recently stunned the basketball world when they announced that they had received James Harden from the Philadelphia 76ers in a trade that had not been expected. As a result, they saw their stock as an organization rise in terms of being Western Conference contenders.
Everyone else not expected to compete
Although there are many teams that can be considered to be on the bubble in terms of being a playoff team or not, these franchises are not widely expected to challenge the likes of the Nuggets or Suns for the Western Conference.
Pundits, fans, and even bookmakers alike have lined the two aforementioned teams as the main victors this season as they compete for the 2023/24 Western Conference, and it would be very hard to disagree with those ideas at this stage.
Teams may not care too much about whether they finish at the top of the Western Conference, though, as they may only be interested in qualifying for the postseason and then trying to make it count when it matters.