Do These NBA Teams Belong in the Eastern Conference or Western Conference?



By: Gavin Thagard

6 Min Quiz

Image: NickS/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

In recent years, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding conferences in the NBA. Both players and fans criticize their use, because a weak conference gives a team a better shot at making the NBA Finals. After all, if a conference is loaded with talent, it makes it difficult for even good teams to make the playoffs, while teams with losing records make the playoffs in the opposing conference. 

Of course, there is a reason the two conferences were established, primarily because they allow teams to have easier travel schedules. But as the world has become more globalized and travel expenses have decreased, the argument could be made that conferences are outdated at this point and the NBA should be merged into one unit. 

At the moment, that is not the case, and conferences will still be around for the foreseeable future. With that in mind, do you believe you can remember which team falls into which conference? Can you recall the conference for both historical franchises and newer ones? This quiz will give you the chance to find out just that. 

Whether you are for or against the use of conferences in the NBA, get started with this quiz and see if you can even tell how the two conferences are divided! 

The Celtics have the most championships of any NBA franchise. Which conference are they winning titles in though?

Bill Russell, the legendary center for the Celtics, won 11 championships with the team in the '50s and '60s. Amazingly, he won those 11 titles in only 13 NBA seasons.


Michael Jordan helped the Bulls dominate the NBA in what conference?

Michael Jordan is often regarded as the greatest basketball player of all time. Part of his greatness is due to the ​marketing of the Jordan brand, which helped the sport reach a global audience.


Which conference saw the Spurs' dynasty rise to prominence?

Gregg Popovich, the head coach of the Spurs, has been with the team since 1996 when he named himself to the position after serving as general manager the previous two seasons. One of Popovich's early moves was to draft Tim Duncan, who he paired with David Robinson to form "The Twin Towers."


The only team in Canada, what conference are the Raptors in?

The Raptors traded their star player, DeMar DeRozan, in the summer of 2018 despite finishing first in the Eastern Conference the previous season. However, the team got back Kawhi Leonard, who was considered a superstar in the league before he got injured.


Where are you going to find James Harden currently leading the Rockets?

James Harden was named the NBA MVP following a spectacular 2017-18 season. Over the course of the season, he averaged 30 points, eight assists and five rebounds per game for the Rockets.


The "Splash Brothers" put the Warriors on the map in which conference?

After the Golden State Warriors went 1-1 against the Cavaliers in back to back NBA Finals, star player Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City to join the Warriors as he was looking for his first NBA title. Many critics and analysts considered it one of the weakest moves in NBA history, claiming Durant jumped on the bandwagon of another team's success.


Which conference is watching Russell Westbrook put up triple-doubles with the Thunder?

The Oklahoma City Thunder were the Seattle SuperSonics prior to moving cities in 2008. The franchise won its only championship in 1979 while playing in Seattle.


Where have the 76ers been "trusting the process" as they try to rise back to the top of the conference?

For years, the 76ers lost games on purpose in order to position themselves at the top of the NBA draft. The decision paid off, as they ended up with All-Star players like Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.


No team has dominated the modern NBA quite like the Lakers. Which conference do they play in?

The Lakers acquired Lebron James in the 2018 offseason when he signed a four-year deal with the team. With a young roster, the Lakers left enough money on the books to sign another superstar player in the 2019 offseason.


The Knicks have fallen on hard times in which conference?

Located in New York City, the Knicks play in one of the largest markets in the NBA. Despite the benefit of having a large market, the Knicks have failed to lure any bigtime players to their team over the past few seasons.


What conference are the Cavaliers trying to rebuild in as they move on from Lebron James?

After playing four seasons in Miami, Lebron James returned to Cleveland in 2014, promising to deliver the city the first championship in franchise history. He delivered on his promise in 2016 when he led the Cavs back from a 3-1 hole in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors.


The Greek Freak's star power is rising for the Bucks in what conference?

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar started his 20-year career with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1969. He played with the team until 1975 when he requested a trade out of the Midwest and ended up with the Los Angeles Lakers.


Known for their star European players, what conference are the Mavericks in?

Led by Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavericks defeated a loaded Miami Heat team in the 2011 NBA Finals. It's considered one of the biggest upsets in Finals history.


Dwyane Wade is on his farewell tour for the Heat in which conference​?

After teaming up with Shaquille O'Neal to win the 2006 NBA Finals, Dwyane Wade was named the Finals MVP. Wade averaged 34 points and nearly eight rebounds per game in those Finals.


A franchise founded in 1967, where do the Nuggets play?

The Denver Nuggets have retired the numbers of six players who were stars on the team. Byron Beck was the first player to have his number retired in 1977.


In which conference are the Trail Blazers looking for their first title since 1977?

Damian Lillard, the point guard for the Trail Blazers, was drafted by the Blazers in the first round of the 2012 NBA draft. After a spectacular rookie season, Lillard was named the NBA Rookie of the Year.


One of two NBA teams in their city, what conference do the Nets play in?

Founded in 1967, the Nets have always been looked at as the little brothers of the New York Knicks. Unlike the Knicks, the Nets have yet to win an NBA championship.


One of the oldest franchises around, where are the Kings playing basketball?

Operating since 1923, the Kings are the oldest professional basketball franchise in the country. They were one of the original members of the NBA when it formed in 1949.


Which conference are the Pelicans in as they try to win the first championship in the team's history?

The Pelicans' power forward Anthony Davis requested a trade in the middle of the 2018-19 season, hoping to join a championship contending team. However, the Pelicans decided to keep their star player as the trade deadline passed as he is still under contract for another season.


Where will you find the Hawks trying to win games?

Dominique Wilkins is often regarded as the greatest player in Hawks' history. Known as "The Human Highlight Film," Wilkins' athleticism helped revolutionize the NBA as above-the-rim play became a staple of the game.


Led by head coach Quin Snyder, do you know which conference the Jazz are competing for a playoff spot in?

The Jazz reached their height in the late '90s when they won two Western Conference championships in '97 and '98. However, they lost in the Finals both years to the Chicago Bulls.


The Timberwolves are an expansion team added to which conference in 1989?

The Timberwolves failed to make the NBA Playoffs their first seven seasons in the league. After drafting Kevin Garnett, they finally received a playoff birth in 1997.


A team owned by Michael Jordan, which conference do the Hornets​ belong to?

In 2004, Robert L. Johnson became the first black majority owner of a U.S. major professional sports team. The franchise was later sold to Michael Jordan, who became the first former NBA player to become a majority owner of a franchise.


The Clippers have been the Lakers' little brother since being founded. Which conference are they, in though?

After years of mediocrity, the Clippers finally found some success beginning in 2011 when they traded for point guard Chris Paul. Pairing him with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, the franchise became known as "Lob City."


Do you have any idea which conference the Magic play in?

Founded in 1989, the Magic's first victory as a franchise came in the second game of their inaugural season against the New York Knicks. Despite the early victory, the team finished the season with an 18-64 record.


Which conference have the Pistons come out of on their way to three NBA titles?

The Pistons in the '80s and early '90s were known as "The Bad Boys." Led by players like Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars, the team used a physical style of play that often frustrated other teams.


In what conference are you going to find the Pacers taking the court?

The Indiana Pacers played in the ABA prior to joining the NBA in 1976. As part of the ABA, the team won three championships. However, they have not won a title since joining the NBA.


The Suns are trying to establish an NBA dynasty in which conference?

Few players have been as important to the Suns' franchise as Steve Nash. Playing for the team from 1996 until 1998 and again from 2004 until 2012, Nash went to six All-Star games and won two NBA MVPs while on the team.


Formerly known as the Bullets, where do the Wizards play?

The Wizards are the only other team Michael Jordan played on besides the Chicago Bulls. Jordan played two seasons with the team, but they never reached the NBA Playoffs.


Do you know which conference the Grizzlies are trying to rebuild in?

Outside the playoff hunt, the Grizzlies traded away their star center, Marc Gasol, prior to the 2018-19 trade deadline. They also tried to get rid of their point guard, Mike Conley, but didn't feel like they could get an adequate return.


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