NBA Playoffs update: The West bracket and matchup previews if the season ended today

Mar 27, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant (35) attempts a shot against Nikola Jokic (15)
Mar 27, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant (35) attempts a shot against Nikola Jokic (15) / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Things couldn’t be tighter in the Western Conference as we race toward the NBA playoffs. There is a race at the top, a race for the fourth seed, a race to finish top six, and a race to make the play-in game. With under two weeks left, there couldn’t be more uncertainty.

One could take a snapshot of the standings on any given day and see a different order one through eight. Things are ever changing, but we’re close enough to start thinking about what the playoff matchups may look like.

Obviously now with the implementation of the Play-In tournament, the final seedings aren’t everything as any team that finished 7-10 coud end up being either the eight seed, nine seed, or they could miss the playoffs altogether.

But to get our heads in a playoff mindset, let’s imagine the season ended today and take a look at where things would stand. Here’s a look at the current playoff matchups if the season ended Wednesday morning.

1 Denver Nuggets v 8 Phoenix Suns

This would be an insane first round matchup for a number of reasons. We’ve seen the Suns battle the Nuggets before, taking two games off them in their playoff series last year, and beating them twice in Denver just this March. The Nuggets have to feel confident against any opponent, but the thought of facing a team with Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal is at least a little bit scary. Jusuf Nurkic also seems to get up for the Jokic matchup.

2 Minnesota Timberwolves v 7 Sacramento Kings

This would be a fun matchup of upstart teams, with one guaranteed to snap a long playoff series-winning drought. The T-Wolves have survived well without Karl-Anthony Towns, but they’ll hope to be reintegrating him by the time this series starts. The Kings are facing an uphill battle as they’ll be without Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk.

3 Oklahoma City Thunder v 6 New Orleans Pelicans

This would be another fun matchup with two young, high powered teams looking to break through in the playoffs. The explosiveness on both sides of the court would be incredible and the star power between Zion and SGA would be amazing to watch.

4 Clippers v 5 Mavericks

Another meeting of Kawhi and PG against Luka would feed families. The Mavs are playing some of their best ball lately, and look primed to break through in the playoffs. The Clips, at times, have looked like the best team in the NBA this season, but have struggled lately. I’d have to imagine they’d rather face an inexperienced team than do battle with Luka and Kyrie.

These matchups may have all changed by tomorrow. And this isn’t even accounting for the Lakers and Warriors who are both lurking in the play-in tournament. One thing is abundantly clear, the Western Conference playoffs are going to be must-watch cinema every night.