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NBA West playoff picture: Can Warriors catch Suns with Draymond Green back?

Here’s how the Western conference looks as the season continues winding down.

Golden State Warriors v Denver Nuggets
Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors looks on and smiles before the game against the Denver Nuggets on March 10, 2022 at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado.
Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

The Western Conference playoff picture continues to feature the Phoenix Suns at the top of the standings, with the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors battling for the second seed. There are less than 15 games left, but does Draymond Green’s return give the Warriors a chance to catch Phoenix for the top seed?

The Warriors found their formula for success in a big win over the Bucks, but the gap might simply be too much to overtake Phoenix. Golden State can definitely top Memphis for the second seed. The real intrigue in this conference is for the No. 6 seed, as well as the bottom of the play-in tournament.

The Nuggets and Timberwolves are likely to be the ones fighting things out for the No. 6 spot, while the Mavericks are also in that mix but likely have enough leeway to avoid that situation. The Trail Blazers and Spurs refuse to go away at the bottom of the play-in tournament, which means bad things for the struggling Lakers.

The Pelicans are likely to overtake LA when CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram come back. The Lakers have reportedly been telling media there’s “only a month left” in the season, so this team is checked out. It would not be surprising to see the Spurs jump into the play-in tournament, largely because the Blazers eventually will fade due to their roster.

Western Conference Standings and Playoff Picture

1. Phoenix Suns (54-14)
2. Memphis Grizzlies (47-22) 7.5 GB
3. Golden State Warriors (46-22) 8.0 GB
4. Utah Jazz (42-25) 10.5 GB 11.5 GB
5. Dallas Mavericks (42-26) 12.0 GB
6. Denver Nuggets (40-28) 14.0 GB

Play-in tournament

7. Minnesota Timberwolves (39-30) 15.5 GB
8. Los Angeles Clippers (36-34) 19.0 GB
9. Los Angeles Lakers (29-38) 24.5 GB
10. New Orleans Pelicans (28-40) 26.0 GB

11. Portland Trail Blazers (26-40) 27.0 GB
12. San Antonio Spurs (26-42) 28.0 GB