When the 2022 NBA regular season ended, the Phoenix Suns had not only the best record in the Western Conference, but the best finish in the NBA at 64-18. Behind them, in both the conference and the league, were the Memphis Grizzlies at 56-26. The team that finished third in the Western Conference was the Golden State Warriors, who had a 53-29 record in 2022.
The 2022 NBA playoffs were not kind to the Nuggets or Grizzlies, as both teams were eliminated in the semifinal round. Denver fell in seven games to the Dallas Mavericks, while Golden State sent Memphis home in six games. The Warriors moved past the Mavericks in five games in the Western Conference finals and defeated the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals in six games. The win gave the Warriors their fourth NBA championship since 2015 and the sixth in the team’s history.
With the core members of the Warriors returning for another season, it’s no surprise they are once again favored to win the Western Conference in the 2023 NBA season. However, Golden State is not an overwhelming favorite, oddsmakers expect the LA Clippers, Nuggets, Grizzlies and Suns to give them competition for the Western Conference title in 2023.
2023 NBA Western Conference Championship picks
|To Win NBA Western Conference 2023|
|Golden State Warriors||+400||+390||+400||+400|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+750||+900||+800||+750|
|Los Angeles Lakers||+2200||+2500||+2200||+2200|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+4000||+3000||+4000||+4000|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+40000||+60000||+50000||+40000|
|San Antonio Spurs||+50000||+80000||+50000||+50000|
Golden State Warriors
As of this writing, the Golden State Warriors are barely a .500 team. Golden State is in sixth place in the Western Conference with a 20-19 record on the 2023 NBA season. Age and injuries are a concern for the Warriors. While the team has a fantastic core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, those players are not getting any younger. The good thing about Golden State is that they have young players like Jordan Poole, Kevin Looney, Andrew Wiggins and Donte DiVincenzo, who can help the team maintain its place among the best NBA teams in the Western Conference.
With Curry out of the lineup because of a shoulder injury, Poole is leading the team in scoring at 20.6 points per game. Wiggins, who has not played since December 3, is likely to be eased back into the Warriors’ rotation after missing time with a strained right adductor and a non-COVID illness.
If the Warriors can stay near the top of the Western Conference standings and enter the playoffs with a fully healthy team, they will be a threat to win the West.
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.
Expectations were high for the Clippers at the start of the 2023 NBA season, but the team is barely over .500 and in the seventh spot in the Western Conference. The big reason for that is that George, Leonard and Wall have been off the court for significant amounts of time. Without George and Wall, the Clippers’ highest scoring player is Norman Powell with 15.2 points per game.
If the Clippers hope to make the playoffs and make a deep run at the end of the 2023 NBA season, they need George and Leonard on the court as much as possible.
The Denver Nuggets are the top team in the Western Conference right now and a great deal of that comes down to the play of back-to-back NBA MVP Nikola Jokic, who is pacing the team in points, rebounds, assists, steals and minutes. However, Jokic has a good supporting cast in Jamal Murray, Aaron Gordon and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, among others.
If the Nuggets can rely on players other than Jokic, they will be a threat to win the Western Conference in 2023.
The top three picks in the NBA’s Western Conference are all getting recognition for what they have done in the past, but I believe the tide is shifting in favor of two teams in the West who have young stars driving them toward the championship. Those teams are the Memphis Grizzlies and the New Orleans Pelicans. Ja Morant is a superstar in Memphis at 23 and Zion Williamson is living up to his promise with the Pelicans at 22. If these two can stay healthy, they will be the new faces of the NBA Western Conference. I think that shift takes place this year. The best bet to win the Western Conference is to pick the Memphis Grizzlies.
Pick: Memphis Grizzlies to win the 2023 NBA Western Conference
See below a list of reliable sportsbooks and choose the best one for you.