NBA Western Conference

The NBA is made up of two conferences, the NBA western conference and the NBA Eastern Conference. Both of these conferences consist of 15 NBE League teams that are split into three separate divisions.

This format was first established at the beginning of the 2004/2005 NBA season when the NBA was joined by the Charlotte Hornets as the 30th team. It was this that created the necessity for the New Orleans Pelicans to move over to the Western Conference's newly created Southwest Division from the Eastern Conference's Central Division.

Western Conference Quick Facts

Here are some of the most important things you need to know about the Western Conference:

  • Formerly known as the Western Division
  • Founded in 1970
  • The 2020 - 2021 NBA Champions: Phoenix Suns (their 3rd Western Conference title)
  • The team with the most Western Conference titles is the Los Angeles Lakers (32 titles)

Western Conference Teams

Team Division Location Year

Golden State Warriors Pacific San Francisco, California 1970 - present

Houston Rockets Southwest Houston, Texas 1970 - present

Los Angeles Lakers Pacific Los Angeles, California 1970 - present

Oklahoma City Thunder Northwest Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 1970 - Present

Phoenix Suns Pacific Phoenix, Arizona 1970 - Present

Los Angeles Clippers Pacific Los Angeles, California 1978 - Present

New Orleans Pelicans Southwest New Orleans, Louisiana 2004 - Present

Sacramento Kings Pacific Sacramento, California 1972 -  Present

San Antonio Spurs Southwest San Antonio, Texas 1980 - Present

Utah Jazz Northwest Salt Lake City, Utah 1979 -  Present

Denver Nuggets Northwest Denver, Colorado 1976 - Present

Dallas Mavericks Southwest Dallas, Texas 1980 - Present

Memphis Grizzlies Southwest Memphis, Tennessee 1995 - Present

Minnesota Timberwolves Northwest Minneapolis, Minnesota 1989 - Present

Portland Trail Blazers Northwest Portland, Oregon 1970 - Present

Former Teams that Moved to Eastern Conference

  • Charlotte Hornets moved to the Eastern Conference in 1990
  • Chicago Bulls moved from Western Division to Eastern Conference in 1980
  • Detroit Pistons moved to the Eastern Conference in 1978
  • Indiana Pacers moved to the Eastern Conference in 1979
  • Miami Heat moved to the Eastern Conference in 1989
  • Milwaukee Bucks moved to the Eastern Conference in 1980
  • Orlando Magic moved to the Eastern Conference in 1991

The Western Conference 2020 - 2021

The Western Conference had an interesting season in 2021. Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns were the two teams that clinched division top spots in the regular season.

Regular Season Results

Won Lost Win %

  • Utah Jazz (w) 52 20 .722
  • Phoenix Suns (p) 51 21 .708
  • Denver Nuggets (x) 47 25 .653
  • LA Clippers (x) 47 25 .653
  • Dallas Mavericks (sw) 42 30 .583
  • Portland Trail Blazers (x) 42 30 .583
  • Los Angeles Lakers (x) 42 30 .583
  • Memphis Grizzlies (x) 38 34 .528
  • Golden State Warriors (pi) 39 33 .542
  • San Antonio Spurs (pi) 33 39 .458
  • New Orleans Pelicans (o) 31 41 .431
  • Sacramento Kings (o) 31 41 .431
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (o) 23 49 .319
  • Oklahoma City Thunder (o) 22 50 .306
  • Houston Rockets (o) 17 55 .236

(x) - clinched playoff berth

(p)  - clinched division title - Pacific

(pi) - clinched play-in tournament

(o) - teams eliminated from playoffs spots

(sw) - clinched Southwest division title

The Upcoming Season

Despite putting up a good effort, the Phoenix Suns were defeated in the NBA finals 2021 by the Milwaukee Bucks 4-2. So, last season belongs to the Eastern Conference. But what about the upcoming Western Conference Season? We will no doubt see plenty of changes before the start of the new season, which can certainly mean a whole new set of results. No doubt the LA Lakers will be looking to get back to the top, after a disappointing season.

Free Agency

Unlike the 2020 - 2021 NBA season, it's likely that we'll be seeing a lot of top-end free agents this year. We are expecting big talents such as Chris Paul and Kawhi Leonard to pull out of their contracts and look to join the open market.

Kawhi Leonard: LA Clippers Forward

There is every chance that Leonard will look to pull out of his $36.02 million salary next season and should this be the case, he will be the most sought after player. However, having just undergone surgery to repair a torn right ACL, it's unknown when he will be back in action. However, this aside, he will still garner plenty of interest as a two-time NBA Finals MVP. He has been linked to Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks since the LA Clippers were eliminated from the Western Conference titles and if he does prove to be a free agent, there will be plenty more top teams showing interest.

Chris Paul: Phoenix Suns

Chris Paul certainly made an impact in his first season with the Suns, leading them right the way to the NBA finals. He has been offered a very impressive $44.21 million salary to stay on, and so why would he decline? However, he may well be looking for another multi-year deal and if given, he may well stay at Phoenix Suns. However, the LA Lakers and New York Knicks are also possibilities.

Other Players on the Free Agency Market that Could Join the Western Conference:
  • John Collins: Atlanta Hawks forward
  • DeMar DeRozan: San Antonio Spurs guard
  • Kyle Lowry: Toronto Raptors guard
  • Mike Conley: Utah Jazz guard
  • Lonzo Ball: New Orleans Pelican guard
  • Victor Oladipo: Miami Heat guard
  • Jarrett Allen: Cleveland Cavaliers center
  • Lauri Markkanen: Chicago Bulls forward

Rating the Top 5 Western Conference Teams

1. Golden State Warriors

With the acquisition of Kevin Durant, it looks to be a certainty that this is the team the rest will be chasing. The team now has Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green who are all superstars in their own right and all the signs point to the Warriors picking up a second title win in three years.

2. Portland Trail Blazers

This team was a big surprise last year and we are expecting more of the same. They have one of the youngest and most exciting teams in the Western Conference with players such as Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. We are expecting big things from them in the future.

3. San Antonio Spurs

Although they no longer have Tim Duncan, they have made a pretty solid replacement with LaMarcus Aldridge. They have a pretty special roster with players such as Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, Patty Mills and David Lee - even Pau Gasol in his late thirties is still a threat. We reckon this gives them a good shot in the upcoming season.

4. Memphis Grizzlies

They have quietly gone about their business of strengthening their team with some very decent moves. They have Mike Colney leading the way as well as Chandler Parsons, who also poses a threat when in full health. While we don't think they are necessarily title contenders, they may well have enough in the tank to secure home-court advantage in the playoffs.

5. Los Angeles Clippers

The LA Clippers have come to be seen as a registered trademark of the Western Conference, but currently are looking a little shaky in comparison to previous seasons. Although on paper, the Clippers have the star power to compete with the top teams, they have demonstrated a lack of depth which may well seal their fate next season. Despite having some excellent players they are not yet up to title contention and may well shake up their roster before the start of the next season

Western Conference FAQs

Which is the Best Team in the Western Conference?

The best team in the last season was Utah Jazz, who came top of the Western Conference. However, arguably the best team of all-time in the conference is the LA Lakers with 32 titles in total.

What Teams are in the NBA Playoffs?

The teams that were in the NBA playoffs in 2020/21 were Utah Jazz, Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns, LA Lakers, Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers, LA Clippers and Dallas Mavericks. The Phoenix Suns ended up winning the Western Conference Playoffs and went on to face the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA finals, which they lost 4-2.

What Teams are in the Western Conference of the NBA?

There are 15 teams in total: Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets, LA Clippers, Dallas Mavericks, Portland Trail Blazers, LA Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets.

Who Won Western Conference 2021?

Utah Jazz won in 2020-21 season

Who is Number 1 in the Western Conference NBA?

Currently, Utah Jazz is the number one team in the Western Conference NBA