Western Conference Playoffs Race Predictions (Updated: 04/10)

Continually updated predictions as the regular season goes along.
Projected Standings and 1st Round Matchups updated the morning after all new games.

The VideoScope 3 10 Prediction 1024x576 - Western Conference Playoffs Race Predictions (Updated: 04/10)

We’re in the middle of March, which means we are in the home stretch of the NBA Regular Season and the jockeying for positions is starting to heat up. No, I’m not talking about the Tank Race going on at the bottom of the standings. Last night might have been a masterclass in tanking tactics, but it was also a night with huge playoff implications.

All the teams from #4 to #10 in the Western Conference played last night. The standings are so even now that only 2 games separated 4th from 10th before last night. It is so tight that every single game counts when deciding which two teams will end up outside of the playoffs. Form and strength of schedule comes into play and it’s hard to predict what will happen, but that doesn’t stop us from trying.

Let’s go through every team, look at their schedule and predict what their final record will be:

Denver Nuggets:

Current Record: 46-35 (#9)


*Back to Back

vs Pistons
@ Grizzlies W L
@ Heat
@ Bulls
@ Wizards L❌ W
@ 76ers W L
@ Raptors L
@ Thunder
vs Bucks W  
vs Pacers L❌ W
vs Timberwolves
@ Clippers L❌ W
vs Blazers L❌ W
@ Timberwolves L

The Nuggets will soon spend 2 weeks on the road, with the games seemingly becoming harder the longer they stay away from the Pepsi Center. Denver, as per usual, are much better at home, sporting a pretty bad 11-21 record on the road. Considering they still have 7 teams above .500 away from home left, those are alarming numbers.

The final 10 games are all against teams better than .500, fighting for playoff positions. It’s going to be rough for the Denver Nuggets.

Final Record: 44-38 (46-36*)

San Antonio Spurs:

Current Record: 47-34 (#5)


*Back to Back

vs Pelicans L❌ W
vs Timberwolves 
vs Warriors L❌ W
vs Wizards 
vs Jazz 
@ Bucks W L
@ Wizards 
vs OKC L❌ W
vs Rockets 
@ Clippers W L
@ Lakers L
vs Blazers 
vs Kings 
@ Pelicans L

That is an insanely tough list of opponents.

Kawhi has to be back healthy sooner rather than later for this prediction to be accurate. The Spurs have been bad against the best teams in the league, with a 13-24 record against teams above .500.

Luckily for the Spurs, who are one of the best home teams in the league, they play a majority of matches in their AT&T Center. Getting off to a good start in this final stretch is paramount, with a 5 game homestand against above .500 teams. Only 2 of their final 14 games are against below .500 teams, with one of them being the surging LA Lakers.

Final Record: 46-36 (47-35*)

Utah Jazz:

Current Record: 48-33 (#3)


*Back to Back

vs Suns 
vs Kings 
vs Hawks W❌ L
@ Mavericks 
@ Spurs L
@ Warriors L❌ W
vs Celtics 
vs Grizzlies 
@ Timberwolves 
vs Lakers 
vs Clippers L W
@ Lakers L W
vs Warriors 
@ Blazers L*

It gets tougher in the end for the Jazz, but with only 2 game left against the Warriors, Raptors and Rockets combined, almost every game will be winnable. The back to backs in Portland and San Antonio will be tough though.

If they finish off well, Donovan Mitchell will have a legitimate claim for Rookie of The Year.

Who Becomes ROTY in This Stacked Class?

Final Record: 46-36 (48-34*)

Los Angeles Clippers (ELIMINATED):

Minnesota Timberwolves:

Current Record: 46-35 (#8)


*Back to Back

@ Spurs L ✔
vs Rockets L
vs Clippers 
@ Knicks 
@ 76ers L
vs Grizzlies W L
vs Hawks 
@ Mavericks 
vs Jazz 
@ Nuggets 
@ Lakers W
vs Grizzlies 
vs Nuggets W

The team is at the end of a rough stretch, but the schedule eases up towards the end, including two home games against the hapless Grizzlies. Beware though, the Timberwolves lost their first encounter this season with the tankers from Memphis. They also get 3 tanking teams in a row, before the 5 vital games to end the season.

Final Record: 48-34 (47-35*)

New Orleans Pelicans:

Current Record: 47-34 (#7)


*Back to Back
5 Games in 6 Nights

@ Spurs W❌ L
vs Rockets L ✔
vs Celtics L*❌ W
vs Mavericks 
vs Pacers W
vs Lakers L*❌ W
@ Rockets 
vs Blazers W❌ L
@ Cavaliers 
vs OKC 
vs Grizzlies 
@ Suns 
@ Warriors L*❌ W
@ Clippers L❌ W
vs Spurs W

The congested run is book-ended by road games against the Spurs and the Rockets. It will really test Davis’ mettle and durability. Luckily for them, the back to back.. to back, against Mavs, Pacers and Lakers, are all at home. If they can get a result against the Mavs, it might fire up the team and the crowd enough to survive. It’s gonna be a fun 6 nights in New Orleans, fittingly for this year’s WrestleMania host city.

Final Record: 47-35 (48-34*)

Oklahoma City Thunder:

Current Record: 47-34 (#6)


*Back to Back

vs Clippers 
@ Raptors L❌ W
@ Celtics W❌ L
vs Heat L❌ W
vs Blazers W❌ L
@ Spurs 
vs Nuggets L
@ Pelicans 
vs Warriors W❌ L
@ Rockets L❌ W
@ Heat 
vs Grizzlies W

Only a single tanking squad left, the prize of playing the Grizzlies awaits in the final game of the regular season. OKC are faced with an extra tough schedule, but luckily they are going into it on a roll, with 4 straight wins. They need a couple of big wins down the stretch to qualify for the postseason.

Final Record: 48-34 (48-34*)

Portland Trail Blazers:

Current Record: 48-33 (#4)


*Back to Back

vs Cavaliers 
vs Pistons 
@ Clippers L*❌ W
vs Rockets 
vs Celtics W❌ L
@ OKC L❌ W
@ Pelicans L❌ W
@ Grizzlies W*❌ L
vs Clippers
vs Grizzlies 
@ Mavericks W❌ L
@ Rockets 
@ Spurs 
@ Nuggets W❌ L
vs Jazz W

With the level they are playing at, they should be able to secure the 3rd seed by the end of the season. They do have a lot of games left though, so any injuries can have major implications. That counts for every single team in this article, but I’m assuming good health.

Final Record: 50-32 (49-33*)

Current Standings (04/10/2018):

Standings Wins Losses Division Conference
3. Utah Jazz 48 33 7-8 34-17
4. Portland Trail Blazers 48 33 8-7 30-20
5. San Antonio Spurs 47 34 9-6 29-22
6. Oklahoma City Thunder 47 34 5-11 27-24
7. New Orleans Pelicans 47 34 8-7 26-25
8. Minnesota Timberwolves 46 35 9-6 33-18
9. Denver Nuggets 46 35 9-6 28-23

Updated Predicted Standings (04/10/2018):

Standings Wins Losses Division Conference
3. Portland Trail Blazers 49 33 9-7 31-19
4. Oklahoma City Thunder 48 34 5-11 27-23
5. Utah Jazz 48 34 7-9 34-18
6. New Orleans Pelicans 48 34 9-7 27-25
7. San Antonio Spurs 47 35 9-7 28-23
8. Minnesota Timberwolves 47 35 10-6 34-18
9. Denver Nuggets 46 36 9-7 28-24
  • OKC win 3 team tie breaker with Jazz and Pelicans
  • Spurs win tie breaker with Timberwolves

Predicted 1st Round Matchups:

#1 Houston Rockets                      VS #8 Minnesota Timberwolves
#2 Golden State Warriors             VS #7 San Antonio Spurs
#3 Portland Trail Blazers              VS #6 New Orleans Pelicans
#4 Oklahoma City Thunder          VS #5 Utah Jazz

It’s going to be a tight race and feature even playoff matches. The Western Conference has never been more competitive.