In the early days of the 2022 NBA Season, the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns were neck and neck for the lead in the Western Conference standings. When the regular season ended, the Warriors had dropped to the No. 3 spot with a 53-29 record. Meanwhile, the Suns stood the test of time and finished the season with an NBA-best number of 64-18. The Memphis Grizzlies had the second-best record in the Western Conference at 56-26.
The 2022 NBA Playoffs did not treat the Suns or Grizzlies well. Both teams fell in the semifinal round. Phoenix lost to the Dallas Mavericks in seven games, while the Warriors sent the Grizzlies home in six. The Warriors ran over the Mavericks 4-1 in the Western Conference Finals and then secured their fourth NBA title in eight years when they downed the Boston Celtics in six games in the 2022 NBA Finals.
Golden State and Phoenix are two of the top picks to claim the top spot in the Western Conference at the end of the 2023 NBA season, but they are not alone. The LA Clippers, who finished the 2022 NBA campaign at 42-40, are also in the mix thanks to the return of some big-name players.
Before we look at the Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, LA Clippers and the other teams who will contend for the 2023 NBA Western Conference Championship, check out our guide to betting on the 2023 NBA Finals and our tips for betting on the NBA.
2023 NBA Western Conference Championship picks
|To Win NBA Western Conference 2023|
|Golden State Warriors||+325||+310||+285||+325|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+1200||+1400||+1600||+1200|
|Los Angeles Lakers||+1600||+1800||+1600||+1600|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+4000||+3500||+7000||+6600|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+40000||+60000||+25000||+25000|
|San Antonio Spurs||+40000||+60000||+25000||+40000|
Golden State Warriors
It’s almost remarkable that the Golden State Warriors have kept the core of the 2022 NBA Championship Team — Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green together for so long. The growth of players like Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole has helped the club as those players have gotten deeper into their careers.
All signs point toward the off-season issues between Green and Poole being behind them as the team recently announced Poole had signed a four-year extension worth $140 million before opening night. Not long after that, the Warriors and Wiggins agreed in a four-year deal worth up to $109 million.
Golden State began the 2023 NBA season with a 2-2 record. Despite that start, the Warriors’ regular season will be spent mostly preparing for a long playoff run. I don’t think the team is worried about if they finish first in the standings as long as they are healthy and ready for the post-season.
The Phoenix Suns brought back most of the team from 2022 for the 2023 NBA season. That’s the good thing. The bad is that team also lost to the No. 4 seeded Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the playoffs.
For the Suns to succeed, they need more from Devin Booker. That’s not to say Booker isn’t an excellent player. He is. He was No. 8 in points per game last season at 26.8. The issue is that Booker has been around that number of points per game since the 2019 season. Booker came out of the gate hot in 2023, averaging 32.5 points per game over the Suns’ first four games.
DeAndre Ayton is another young player to watch on the Suns.
The LA Clippers finished last year with a record of 42-40. With that, the team missed the playoffs for the first time in three years. However, the Clippers put that record together with Paul George playing in 31 games and Kawhi Leonard playing in zero games. The team also did that without John Wall, who joined the club after sitting out last season while he was signed to Houston.
Hopes were high for the Clippers, but four games into the 2023 NBA season the injury bug has already hit the team. George is day-to-day and Leonard has a knee injury that’s being dealt with.
Health is going to be a huge issue for the Clippers. If George and Leonard miss a lot of time again, Los Angeles will not be a factor. The Clippers need the team’s two best players if they want to succeed.
It’s hard to bet against the Golden State Warriors after what they did in 2022. Yes, the team will be older, but they will also be deeper and more experienced in 2023. The Golden State Warriors are the best bet to win the NBA Western Conference in 2023.
Pick: Golden State Warriors to win the NBA Western Conference in 2023.
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