The 2020-21 NBA season is in full swing and we finally have an idea of how teams are looking in the early stages of the year. After a whirlwind offseason, several franchises have used the opportunity to emerge as candidates to shoot up the rankings in their respective conferences such as the Phoenix Suns. Meanwhile, division heavyweights, the LA Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks approach the NBA season stronger than they were last year. This article will have a look at each team and reach a projected record of wins for the season ahead.
NBA Western Conference Record Projections
1. LA Lakers
Despite losing in the LA derby on the NBA's opening night, the Los Angeles Lakers returned to winning form by sweeping aside the Mavs on Christmas Day. After winning their 17th championship last season, the Lakers are widely tipped to repeat the feat this year. This is due in large part to their offseason additions such as Montrezl Harrell and Dennis Schroder. LeBron James and Anthony Davis will have a lot more support on offense and the franchise's defense has also gotten stronger.
Record projection: 54-18
2. LA Clippers
The Clippers had a very positive start to their NBA season by knocking off their conference rivals, the Lakers and Nuggets. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will lead the franchise to another successful regular season with the support of their bench shooters and new addition, Serge Ibaka, who had a career-season last year. They may fall short of their city counterparts but will be hoping to make a better go at the playoffs this time around.
Record projection: 52-20
3. Denver Nuggets
Another side who should finish in the exact same position as last season is the Denver Nuggets. After a valiant playoff performance which saw them turn over two 3-1 series deficits, the Nuggets will be among the favorites to win the NBA Western Conference this year. Their young roster boasts vast talent with Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray continuing to develop and lead the side.
Record projection: 49-23
4. Utah Jazz
Utah could be many people's sleeper team in the West and will surprise a few because of this. As one of the team's to succumb to the Nuggets' heroics in the NBA playoffs, the Jazz should be back raring to make up for what could have been. Stars of the franchise, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, have signed contract extensions and are surrounded by consistent point scorers.
Record projection: 45-27
5. Dallas Mavericks
Highly anticipated to be one of the rising franchises of the West this season, the Dallas Mavericks come into our NBA projections at fifth. Without fellow star Kristaps Porzingis, Luka Doncic has been unable to carry the Mavs to a win thus far. Expected to return in January, however, the two will form one of the deadliest offensive duos in the league and should be enough to challenge the conference elite.
Record Projection: 43-29