The NBA has become a sprawling juggernaut, spanning out over the globe. The core of the league is still 30 teams playing Basketball games in North America. In order to manage this massive fixture list that spans more than a continent, the 30 NBA teams have traditionally been split into Divisions.
How many NBA teams are in the Pacific division? There are 5 teams in the Pacific Division; The Los Angeles Clippers, LA Lakers, Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings and The Phoenix Suns. They compete in the Western Conference of the NBA.
The Division system has been around since the inception of the NBA in the 1940’s. The Pacific Division was formed in 1970 originally consisting of The LA Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, San Diego Rockets, San Francisco Warriors and The Seattle SuperSonics.
The Pacific Division is currently made up of the following 5 NBA teams;
- Los Angeles Clippers (Joined 1978)
- LA Lakers (Joined 1970)
- Golden State Warriors (Joined 1970)
- Sacramento Kings (Joined 1988)
- The Phoenix Suns (Joined 1972)
The Phoenix Suns joined the Atlantic Division in 1972 when the Houston Rockets switched with them to take their place in the Midwest Division.
The Clippers joined the Pacific Division in 1978 when they relocated from Buffalo, leaving the Braves name behind and becoming the San Diego Clippers. The San Diego Rockets had previously relocated to Houston in 1971 joining the South West Division in 1972. In 1984 the Clippers moved again, this time to Los Angeles.
The Sacramento Kings joined the Atlantic Division in 1988 when they relocated from the Midwest Division. One of the more nomadic franchises they have previously competed under the names; Rochester Seagrams, Rochester Royals, Cincinnati Royals, Kansas City–Omaha Kings, Kansas City Kings before finally becoming the Sacramento Kings in 1984.
Over the years there have been 8 different teams in the Pacific Division. Franchises that are no longer part of the Pacific Division are;
- San Diego/Houston Rockets (1970-1972)
- Portland Trail Blazers (1970 – 2004)
- Seattle Supersonics (1970 – 2004)
The Rockets would only spend 2 years in the Pacific Division, joining in 1970 and leaving in 1972 for the South West Division. The first based in San Diego and the second in their current Houston home.
The Portland Trail Blazers were one of the original Pacific Division members from 1970, departing in the 2004 reshuffle. They currently compete in the Northwest Division.
The Seattle Supersonics founded the Pacific Division in 1970. They were moved to the Northwest Division in 2004, in order to accommodate the Bobcats expansion and realign the divisions. In 2008 they moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder 😔.
The Pacific Division has remained in its current form since 2004.
Historically the most successful team in the Pacific Division has been the LA Lakers winning 24 Pacific Division titles (end of the 2020-21 season). The Suns (8) and Warriors (6) have also seen success. The only Franchise to compete in and not win the Pacific Division is the Rockets.
While it is not common practice to hang divisional banners and the goal of any competent NBA Franchise is to win the Larry O’brien trophy, there is a certain pride fans can take from knowing they are the best franchise in their Division that year. It’s always good to outdo your neighbors.