Divisions In The NBA (Who’s In Each Division And Why?)

The National Basketball Association, or NBA, was founded in 1946. Originally it was called the Basketball Association Of America (BAA). In 1949-50, the league merged with the National Basketball League (NBL), officially becoming the NBA as we know it today. The NBA consists of 30 teams, split between two conferences. Those two conferences are the Western Conference and Eastern Conference. Within those two conferences, there are six divisions in the NBA, with five teams per division.

The Western Conference’s three divisions in the NBA are the Northwest, Pacific, and Southwest. The Eastern Conference’s three divisions in the NBA are the Atlantic, Central, and Southeast. Divisions in the NBA are decided with travel in mind, and logistically on a map within North America.

divisions in the nba

What Are The 6 NBA Divisions?

Let’s take a look at the six divisions in the NBA, and which teams are in what division. Along with that, how many NBA championships each team has, and how many division titles each team has won.

Western Conference – Northwest

NBA ChampionshipsDivision Titles
Oklahoma City Thunder111
Utah Jazz012
Denver Nuggets011
Portland Trailblazers16
Minnesota Timberwolves01

Western Conference – Pacific

TeamsNBA ChampionshipsDivision Titles
Los Angeles Lakers1733
Golden State Warriors612
Phoenix Suns09
Sacramento Kings15
Los Angeles Clippers02

Western Conference – Southwest

TeamsNBA ChampionshipsDivision Titles
San Antonio Spurs522
Houston Rockets28
Dallas Mavericks15
New Orleans Pelicans01
Memphis Grizzlies01

Eastern Conference – Atlantic

TeamsNBA ChampionshipsDivision Titles
Boston Celtics1732
Philadelphia 76ers313
New York Knicks28
Toronto Raptors17
Brooklyn Nets25

Eastern Conference – Central

TeamsNBA ChampionshipsDivision Titles
Milwaukee Bucks218
Detroit Pistons311
Chicago Bulls69
Indiana Pacers39
Cleveland Cavaliers17

Eastern Conference – Southeast

TeamsNBA ChampionshipsDivision Titles
Miami Heat315
Atlanta Hawks113
Washington Wizards18
Orlando Magic06
Charlotte Hornets00

Divisions In The NBA – Stats & Championships

Divisions in the NBA have been often discussed, with many fans calling for realignment to even out the two conferences. Some seasons, the parity between the two divisions has been far from even. However, even though the 8 playoff teams in each conference may not appear evenly matched in some seasons based on their record, the number of NBA champions from each conference in history is very close.

Throughout NBA history, the league has produced 78 championships. From those 78 championships, the Eastern Conference leads the way with a combined 44 of those titles split between 10 franchises. The Western Conference has won a combined 34 titles, split between 9 franchises.

There have been many dominant franchises throughout NBA History. Those teams could be the multiple Laker dynasties, the Jordan era Chicago Bulls, the Celtics dynasty, the Spurs and Lakers ten-year dominance, or the recent Golden State Warriors three championships in four seasons. These dynasties can lead to some divisions having much more success than others through history.

Here are the NBA championships per division:

  • Atlantic (Eastern Confernce) – 25 NBA championships.
  • Pacific (Western Conference – 24 NBA Championships.
  • Central (Eastern Conference – 14 NBA Championships.
  • Southwest (Western Conference) – 8 NBA Championships.
  • Southeast (Eastern Conference) – 5 NBA Championships.
  • Northwest (Western Conference) – 2 NBA Championships.

Do Divisions In The NBA Matter?

Often spectators look at the NBA and think that the divisions do not impact the league or the playoffs. That criticism is fair, as it does not matter anymore if you win your division.

The NBA playoffs consist of 16 teams, 8 teams per conference. The conferences are seeded come playoff time based on the top 8 team’s records. The NBA’s importance of division titles is far less than other major sports. For example, the NFL bases its playoff seeding by guaranteeing the four division winners’ home field in the first round and seeding the 4 division winners by their record.

I hope you found this article informative and helpful! Divisions in the NBA are often not covered much or explained in detail. This is likely due to the fact that division winners do not impact playoff seeding. However, division titles can show dominance within your region, and a franchise’s consistent success.

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