As the NBA’s regular season wraps up, the Western Conference playoff race remains uncertain. The fourth through eighth place teams are all within three games of each other, while four squads battle for the final two Play-In Tournament spots, which are separated by only 2.5 games.
The Denver Nuggets are on the brink of claiming the number one seed, and the Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings have already ensured their playoff berths in second and third place, respectively. The Kings ended their longest playoff drought in the four major sports leagues since 2006.
The Phoenix Suns, with the addition of All-Star forward Kevin Durant, are favored to win the conference at +210 odds, and they are third on DraftKings’ NBA futures board to win the championship at +450 odds. However, according to FiveThirtyEight’s predictions, the Suns have only a 10% chance to reach the NBA Finals and a 3% chance to win the championship.
The Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, and New Orleans Pelicans, who are all within 2.5 games of each other, are fighting for the fifth and sixth seeds in the West. The Clippers are +2200 odds to win the championship and +850 odds to win the conference, but there is concern about Paul George’s right leg injury and the Warriors’ 9-30 road record.
The Timberwolves and Thunder are clinging to the Play-In Tournament spots, with the Mavericks and Jazz close behind. The Mavs are 1-7 in their last eight games, and the Jazz have four more games remaining on their schedule, while the Timberwolves and Thunder have three each. FiveThirtyEight estimates the Mavericks have a 6% chance to make the playoffs, and the Jazz have a 0.3% chance to secure the eighth seed.
The final week of the season promises to be exciting as teams battle for a chance to make the playoffs and avoid the Play-In Tournament. With the potential of the Suns contending with Kevin Durant, the Warriors trying to defend their championship, and the Clippers and Lakers striving to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Western Conference is sure to be full of drama until the very end.