NBA Western Conference preview for the 2022-23 season

Photo: Scott Strazzante/The Chronicle

The Warriors returned to the top of the NBA last season as Steph Curry led the team to its fourth championship in 8 years. There will be plenty of competition for the Dubs next season in the Western Conference, which should provide plenty of basketball games for basketball fans.

Golden State retained its core of Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole also remained on the list. Also, James Wiseman is set to return. The experience and talent are there for the Warriors to at least attempt to defend their title.

Memphis challenged Curry’s team in the playoffs last season and will be even more motivated to go further in the playoffs this year. Ja Morant has become a superstar and with a young and ambitious team hungry for success surrounding him, the Grizzlies are definitely a team to watch.

The Suns dominated the West last season but were eliminated in the second round by the Mavericks. It was a disappointing end to a season full of hopes as Phoenix had just finished a year where they played in the Finals. Although Chris Paul is a year older, it doesn’t seem to affect him much. There might be a change of ownership in store for the team, but they should still remain an elite team.

Luka Doncic eventually lifted the Mavericks to the Western Conference’s elite teams. After finishing fourth in the regular season, Dallas made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals where they lost to the Warriors. This year’s team, if healthy, should be even stronger with a healthy Tim Hardaway Jr. and new addition Christian Wood.

This will be another attempt for the Clippers to compete for a championship. Having failed to do so in previous seasons, the team is not slowing down and now has the highest payroll in the league. With Kawhi Leonard and Paul George fully healthy, the Clippers could finally be a real contender.

Having a two-time NBA MVP on your roster is always a good thing. Nikola Jokic will have more help with the return of Jamal Murray after a year’s absence. The Nuggets are expected to compete for a top-four seed in the West next season.

Minnesota improved its roster by adding Rudy Gobert this offseason. After barely making the playoffs last season, the Timberwolves could be a threat to many Western Conference teams this year.

The Lakers missed the playoffs in what was one of the most disappointing years in franchise history. Los Angeles has its sights set on the James Naismith Trophy, but few see him as a true contender. It could be another tough year for LeBron James’ team.

Damian Lillard showed his loyalty by staying with the Trail Blazers after the team traded co-star CJ McCollum. Dame missed the second half of last season as Portland failed to reach the playoffs. He will be back healthy next season and that alone could be enough for the team to qualify for the playoffs.

Another big name returning to the Western Conference is Zion Williamson who is said to be in fantastic form. If he’s as dominant as before, with Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum on his side, the Pelicans could make some noise in the West.

The Kings failed to reach the playoffs last season, despite adding two-time All-Star Domantas Sabonis. With Mike Brown taking over as head coach, Sacramento could be a dark horse next season.

The Spurs, Thunder, Jazz and Rockets are more likely to miss the playoffs. Even though San Antonio jumped into the play-in tournament just before the end of the regular season last year, they traded their only All-Star Dejounte Murray to the Hawks and will likely face another tough year.

The Warriors are currently set as favorites to finish top of the 2023 Western Conference, with the Clippers close behind. You can see the latest Eastern Conference odds below:

  • Warriors – 4.00
  • Mowers – 4.50
  • Suns – 5.00
  • Lakers – 7.50
  • Nuggets – 10.00
  • Mavericks – 11:00 a.m.

Odds provided by NBA Odds Betway website.