The NBA West playoff picture is still unclear. Each team has around 15 games left to play in the 2022-23 season, yet 13 out of 15 teams in the conference have a chance to make it to the playoffs.
The league’s play-in system allows teams with the 10th-best record in each conference to make the playoffs. Due to this, it will take at least 10 more games to get a better look at the playoff picture.
This article will take a look at the latest standings in the Western Conference. We’ll also see which teams have the best chance to advance to the playoffs.
The West playoff picture is still very unclear in the NBA
As of March 12, only the Denver Nuggets have a clear lead over their opponents. The Nuggets are currently 46-21, 5.5 games ahead of the Sacramento Kings and Memphis Grizzlies.
These three teams will probably finish as the top three seeds in the West. The Grizzlies have the second-easiest remaining schedule of the season, which should benefit them. However, they will be without Ja Morant for at least two more games.
The Phoenix Suns, who currently occupy the fourth spot in the conference, are only 3.5 games ahead of the top play-in spot. In fact, the West playoff picture is so complicated that 10 teams are within only five games of each other.
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Only the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets have been eliminated from playoff contention so far. Every other team has a chance to make it to the postseason, which is why every single game counts.
Here are the West standings as of March 12:
The Nuggets have a clear lead for the top seed, while the Kings and Grizzlies will fight for the second seed. Almost every other spot in the conference is up for grabs.
West playoff picture projections
The Phoenix Suns have the second-toughest schedule by the end of the season and may fall out of the West playoff picture. They will be without Kevin Durant for a few more weeks, so it won’t be surprising if they fall to the seventh or eighth spot.
The LA Clippers, on the other hand, have one of the easiest schedules. This is also the case with the LA Lakers, who have the third-easiest remaining schedule. Despite missing LeBron James, the Lakers will likely stay in the playoff picture.
The Utah Jazz, who are currently in the final play-in spot, have the toughest schedule of the season. With 15 games left to play, they will likely drop down in the standings. The Jazz may be surpassed by the OKC Thunder or the New Orleans Pelicans.
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The play-in situation in the West will be very interesting. While it’s hard to correctly predict who will play in the tournament, we expect to see the Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors, and whichever team surpassed the Jazz.