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Wait ’Til Next Year: Western Conference

As we watch the NBA playoffs unfold and make our bets on the teams with the best NBA Finals odds, some teams are already looking forward to the 2024-25 season. In the Western Conference, it’s a mixture of teams that are slowly rebuilding and some that might need to do some tinkering.

These teams have to make some hard decisions on players they felt were going to be good for them. Some have to see if there are players who are past their prime and need to move on. We’re going to look at the teams in the West that aren’t among the Elite Eight playing in the postseason and see if they can improve their odds at the sportsbook when the NBA futures come out after the postseason.

Wait ’Til Next Year: Western Conference
Deandre Ayton #2 And Scoot Henderson #00 Of The Portland Trail Blazers / Patrick Smith / Getty Images North America / Getty Images Via Afp

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1. Portland Trail Blazers (21-61)

In the first year post-Damian Lillard, the Portland Trail Blazers were not expected to do much winning. Injuries to veterans like Anfernee Simons, Jerami Grant, Deandre Ayton, and Malcolm Brogdon didn’t help, but the Trail Blazers went young with first-round pick Scoot Henderson and handed the 20-year-old the keys to the team.

Portland’s future will be helped with a pair of first-round picks this season – its own and Golden State’s – as the team continues its slow build back to a team with decent NBA playoff odds.

2. San Antonio Spurs (22-60)

For a team with 22 wins, the San Antonio Spurs have one of the brightest futures in the Western Conference. That’s because of the presence of last year’s No. 1 overall pick, center Victor Wembanyama. The 7-4 Frenchman lived up to all the advance billing, finishing with averages of 21.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 4.6 blocks, and 1.1 steals per game and being the obvious NBA expert pick for Rookie of the Year.

His final appearance showed the potential of San Antonio, as he went for 34 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks as the Spurs topped the defending champion Denver Nuggets.

Will the Spurs strike lottery gold two years in a row? Whatever pick they get in the lottery, they are already feeling lucky to have Wemby on their team for many years to come.

3. Memphis Grizzlies (27-55)

For the Memphis Grizzlies, 2023-24 was a nightmare season, with superstar guard Ja Morant limited to nine games due to an NBA-mandated suspension and a shoulder injury. It was a major setback for the team with some of the best betting odds to win the West entering the season. Morant, who averaged 25.1 points, 8.1 assists and 5.6 rebounds, is still healing from the injury but should be back to 100% for next season.

Morant will team with forward Jaren Jackson Jr. to form a solid 1-2 punch for the Grizzlies, who are hoping to bounce back quickly to status of playoff team in the Las Vegas NBA odds. The addition of a lottery pick should also help push the team forward from a forgettable campaign.

4. Utah Jazz (31-51)

The Utah Jazz have some work to do, as they have a nice collection of veterans, but no superstar to lead the way. Forward Lauri Markkanen was the team’s leading scorer at 23.2 points per game, but the sharp-shooting forward seems better as a complementary player than as a leading man.

Two first-round picks (Utah owns Oklahoma City’s pick as well as its own) in this year’s draft should help, but the team needs to mix things up a bit to become a solid playoff contender.

5. Houston Rockets (41-41)

The Houston Rockets have been a perennial rebuilding team for much of the post-James Harden era, but they showed some progress near the end of the 2023-24 campaign. In March, the Rockets went on an 11-game winning streak to pull within a couple of games of making the Play-In Tournament.

Guard Jalen Green (19.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists) and center Alperen Sengun (21.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists) give the Rockets a pair of solid young players to build around. Houston owns Brooklyn’s lottery pick from the trade that sent Harden to the Nets in 2021 after sending its own to Oklahoma City in a separate deal.

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6. Golden State Warriors (46-36)

One of the teams with the biggest questions in the 2024 offseason is the Golden State Warriors, who may be getting close to breaking up the Splash Brothers. Golden State was one of the top contenders based on preseason NBA Finals odds, but the Warriors struggled to get into the Play-In Tournament, and then lost badly to the Sacramento Kings.

Guard Klay Thompson moved to a bench role and is a free agent at 34. Golden State must decide if it wants to keep the veteran shooter or go all-in on a youth movement that could break up the core of four NBA title teams. One problem for the team is its first-round pick will go to Portland, unless it somehow lands in the top four in the lottery.

7. Sacramento Kings (46-36)

The Sacramento Kings are probably the non-playoff team in the Western Conference with the least amount of work to do. Sacramento already has a nice young team with two All-Stars in Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox. Major moves aren’t needed for the Kings to be back among the NBA picks to be a Western Conference title contender.

Sacramento has its first-round pick and may target a big man to put next to Sabonis in the paint, but otherwise, it’s more a matter of getting better to avoid the Play-In Tournament and get back to the postseason.

Here’s a look at some NBA Lines and NBA Game Odds to consider!

 

Questions of the Day

Who won the NBA Draft lottery in 2023?


The San Antonio Spurs earned the No. 1 overall pick in 2023, taking Victor Wembanyama.

Which non-playoff team in the West has won the NBA title most recently?


The Golden State Warriors won the 2022 NBA championship, the most recent title won by a non-playoff team in the West this season.

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