Sunday, 23 Jun 2024

Offseason Power Rankings: Nuggets Claim Top Spot in Competitive Western Conference

The Western Conference has been a hotbed of talent in recent years, with four different teams representing the conference in the Finals. The Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, and Denver Nuggets have all showcased their ability to contend for the championship. As we look ahead to the 2024 season, it’s clear that the Western Conference will be a tough battleground.

Despite the Eastern Conference boasting a better interconference record in the past two seasons, the West appears to have more depth this year. In addition to the four previous conference champions, there are several other formidable teams vying for a playoff spot. The Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings, who finished second and third in the regular season last year, are hungry for success. The LA Clippers, led by two of the league’s best two-way players, are a force to be reckoned with. The New Orleans Pelicans, despite missing their star player for a significant portion of the previous season, showed promise with a 42-40 record. The Dallas Mavericks, with two of the most talented offensive players in the world, are a scoring powerhouse.

With nine strong teams in contention, it’s inevitable that not all of them will make the playoffs. The Oklahoma City Thunder, who finished a respectable 40-42 last season, have a young roster that continues to improve. The Minnesota Timberwolves, who made the playoffs last year, boast a rising star in their 22-year-old lineup. The Houston Rockets, despite their previous struggles, have added experienced veterans to expedite their resurgence.

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The Utah Jazz surprised many with their playoff run last season, and the San Antonio Spurs made a splash with their highly anticipated draft pick. Meanwhile, the Portland Trail Blazers still have the exceptional Damian Lillard leading the charge.

While some teams may fall short of expectations, others will exceed them. In these offseason power rankings, we’ll assess each conference separately to provide a comprehensive look at the teams’ potential. Join us as we navigate through the Western Conference, taking into account the latest free agency moves and the presence of Damian Lillard in Portland.

Previous Power Rankings

  • April 3: Celtics Take the Top Spot as the Season’s Final Week Begins

This time last year:
Offseason Power Rankings: Warriors, Suns Lead in a Wide-Open Western Conference

To evaluate teams accurately, we rely on various statistics from the 2022-2023 regular season. These include:

  • OffRtg: Points scored per 100 possessions (League Rank)
  • DefRtg: Points allowed per 100 possessions (League Rank)
  • NetRtg: Point differential per 100 possessions (League Rank)
  • Pace: Possessions per 48 minutes (League Rank)

Throughout the season, NBA.com’s Power Rankings provide a weekly opinion on the league’s current standings. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to John Schuhmann via email or Twitter.


FAQs

Q: Which teams have represented the Western Conference in the Finals in the past four years?
A: The Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, and Denver Nuggets have all represented the Western Conference in the Finals within the last four years.

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Q: Which conference has had a better interconference record in the past two seasons?
A: Surprisingly, the Eastern Conference has had a better interconference record than the Western Conference in each of the last two seasons.

Q: Which teams finished second and third in the regular season last year?
A: The Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings finished second and third, respectively, in the regular season last year.

Q: Which team has two of the best two-way players in the league?
A: The LA Clippers boast two of the league’s best two-way players on their roster.

Q: Which team managed a 42-40 record despite missing their best player for a significant portion of the previous season?
A: The New Orleans Pelicans achieved a 42-40 record last season despite their best player being sidelined for 45 games.

Summary

In the highly competitive Western Conference, the Denver Nuggets claim the top spot in our offseason power rankings. With four different teams representing the conference in the past four years, the West has proven its depth and talent. While the Eastern Conference has had a better interconference record recently, the West looks poised for a strong showing in the upcoming season.

Aside from the Lakers, Suns, Warriors, and Nuggets, there are several other teams hungry for success. The Grizzlies and Kings aim to build on their strong regular-season performances from last year. The Clippers boast two exceptional two-way players, while the Pelicans showcased their potential despite missing their star player for most of the previous season. The Mavericks, with their offensive firepower, pose a significant challenge to their opponents.

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With nine competitive teams vying for a spot in the playoffs, there will undoubtedly be surprises and disappointments. The Thunder, Timberwolves, and Rockets are teams to watch, as they have the potential to exceed expectations. The Jazz, Spurs, and Trail Blazers also have notable strengths, making them formidable opponents.

As we evaluate the Western Conference teams, we consider various statistics from the 2022-2023 regular season. These numbers provide insights into each team’s offensive and defensive abilities. Throughout the season, NBA.com’s Power Rankings offer an opinion on the league standings, reflecting the dynamic nature of the sport.

Stay tuned as we delve deeper into each conference and provide an in-depth analysis of the teams’ potential for the upcoming season.