With the 2021 NBA Playoffs barely a month away, the Western Conference is buzzing. Multiple teams have a legitimate shot in claiming the last two spots, leaving the race for the playoff spots wide open.
The Dallas Mavericks overtook the Portland Trail Blazers to move to sixth seed last night, making the race to the 2021 NBA playoffs even more exciting.
Teams ranked seventh to tenth will enter a play-in tournament before the playoffs this year, which will determine the seventh and eighth seeds for the post-season.
For more details on how the NBA play-in tournament works, you may click here.
Predicting the eight teams from the Western Conference that would make the 2021 NBA Playoffs
The top five seeds in the West currently seem likely to make it to the postseason, but the same cannot be said for the teams seeded sixth to tenth.
However, some of those teams are looking solid and have momentum with them. On that note, let' have a look at the eight teams likely to feature in the 2021 NBA playoffs from the Western Conference after the play-in tournament.
#8 Golden State Warriors
Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors have peaked at the right time. The Dubs have been unstoppable in the last few weeks, winning seven of their last ten games. Curry has been in sublime form averaging 38.7 points per contest since the start of April.
Despite being a relatively young side, the Warriors have had the advantage of having head coach Steve Kerr and stars Steph Curry and Draymond Green on the team.
The trio has been an integral part of their successful five-year stint in the last decade and will likely get them into the NBA playoffs this season. They might have to do that by taking the play-in tournament route, as they may not finish in the top six. But that shouldn't worry them too much.
#7 Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks have struggled quite a lot in the 2020-21 NBA season. However, they have a healthy squad at the moment, and if things stay that way, they could qualify for this season's playoffs.
Their current sixth seed seems a bit unexpected, but the Mavs have played well this season.
Kristaps Porzingis' return to form and Luka Doncic's consistency could help the Dallas Mavericks qualify for the postseason from the West.
#6 Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers have seen a lot of ups and downs this NBA campaign, and their recent run of six losses in seven games is a great example of that.
Nevertheless, the Blazers are a side that can never be counted out. They have Damian Lillard in their roster, who has been one of the most clutch players in the NBA in recent years.
Moreover, the experience of Carmelo Anthony and Enes Kanter could also come in handy as they look to qualify for the postseason as one of the top six seeds.
#5 LA Lakers
The LA Lakers were expected to finish at the top of the Western Conference before the season commenced. But long-term injuries to LeBron James and Anthony Davis have not helped their cause, and the defending champions have slipped to fifth in the standings.
AD returned in the last game, while LeBron James is likely to return by the end of the month.
Integrating the duo back in the team could take a while, but reaching the NBA playoffs should not be a problem for the LA Lakers.
The kind of form the Nuggets are in, it seems unlikely the Lakers will surpass them to become the fourth seed. The two teams have a three-game difference at the moment.
#4 Denver Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets have dealt with injuries all season long. Despite that, they are likely to enter the postseason seeded fourth, which is also their current position in the standings.
They have exhibited tremendous grit and are motivated to do well. They made some key additions to their squad during the trade deadline, which has helped them make a strong finish to the regular season.
The playoffs are a different ball game. But as far as the regular season goes, the Nuggets have exceeded their expectations as they eye a deep run in the playoffs.
#3 LA Clippers
The LA Clippers have turned their campaign around in emphatic style, winning 17 of their last 20 games.
They have strengthened their hold on third place in the Western Conference. If the Phoenix Suns happen to hit a major slump, Ty Lue's side could even enter the playoffs as the second seed.
The Clippers are five games ahead of the Nuggets and just one behind the Phoenix Suns. However, the Suns have been a more consistent side for a longer amount of time than the Clippers, which gives them an edge to finish as the second seed at the end of the regular NBA season.
#2 Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns are all set to make their first NBA playoff appearance after a decade.
The addition of Chris Paul in the off-season has been the key to their remarkable campaign. After his season-long stint with the OKC Thunder last time around, CP3 is leading another young team to the NBA postseason, proving why he is one of the best leaders around.
The Phoenix Suns have been dominant throughout the campaign and have one of the most complete teams, making them serious challengers to claim the Western Conference championship and maybe even qualify for the NBA Finals.
The Clippers are right on their tails, though. But as mentioned earlier, the Suns' superior consistency should see them hold onto second place.
#1 Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz' remarkable run shows no sign of abating any time soon. With the 2020-21 NBA campaign drawing to a close, the Jazz remain the team with the best record on the season. They have had their share of inconsistent runs but have bounced back with aplomb, which has helped them stay atop the Western Conference standings for so long.
The Suns are two games behind the Utah Jazz at the moment. However, the Jazz have incredible depth, which has helped them stay atop for so long. Despite the absence of Donovan Mitchell, the Utah Jazz are the favorites to finish as the top-ranked side in the 2020-21 NBA Western Conference.