Western Division (NBA)

The Western Division was a division in the Basketball Association of America (BAA) and its forerunner National Basketball Association (NBA). The division was created at the start of the 1946–47 BAA season,[1] when the league was created, and was then kept as one of the divisions when BAA merged with the National Basketball League (NBL) to create the NBA on August 3, 1949.[2] The division existed until the 1970–71 NBA season when the NBA expanded from 14 to 17 teams and realigned into the Eastern and Western conferences with two divisions each.[3]

Western Division
LeagueNational Basketball Association
SportBasketball
Inaugural season1946–47 BAA season
Ceased1969–70 NBA season
Replaced byWestern Conference
Championships
Last champion(s)Atlanta Hawks (7th title) (1970)
Most titlesMinneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers (8 titles)

TeamsEdit

Team City Year From Year To Current division
Joined Left
Anderson Packers Anderson, Indiana 1949 —* 1950 NPBL
Tri-Cities Blackhawks (19491951)
Milwaukee Hawks (19511955)
St. Louis Hawks (19551968)
Atlanta Hawks (1968–present)
Moline, Illinois
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
St. Louis, Missouri
Atlanta, Georgia
1949 —* 1970 Central Division Southeast Division
Baltimore Bullets (original) Baltimore, Maryland 1947 ABL 1948 Eastern Division
Chicago Packers (1961–1962)
Chicago Zephyrs (1962–1963)
Baltimore Bullets (19631966)
(now the Washington Wizards)
Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois
Baltimore, Maryland
1961   1966 Eastern Division Southeast Division
Chicago Bulls Chicago, Illinois 1966   1970 Midwest Division Central Division
Chicago Stags Chicago, Illinois 1946 § 1949 Central Division
Rochester Royals (1948–1949, 19501957)
Cincinnati Royals (19571962)
(now the Sacramento Kings)
Rochester, New York
Cincinnati, Ohio
1948
1950
NBL
Central Division
1949
1962
Central Division
Eastern Division
Pacific Division
Cleveland Rebels Cleveland, Ohio 1946 § 1947 Folded
Denver Nuggets Denver, Colorado 1949 —* 1950 Folded
Detroit Falcons Detroit, Michigan 1946 § 1947 Folded
Fort Wayne Pistons (1948–1949, 19501957)
Detroit Pistons (1957–present)
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Detroit, Michigan
1948
1950
NBL
Central Division
1949
1967
Central Division
Eastern Division
Central Division
Indianapolis Jets Indianapolis, Indiana 1948 NBL 1949 Folded
Indianapolis Olympians Indianapolis, Indiana 1949   1953 Folded
Minneapolis Lakers (1948–1949, 19501960)
Los Angeles Lakers (1960–present)
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Los Angeles, California
1948
1950
NBL
Central Division
1949
1970
Central Division
Pacific Division
Pacific Division
Phoenix Suns Phoenix, Arizona 1968   1970 Midwest Division Pacific Division
Pittsburgh Ironmen Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1946 § 1947 Folded
San Diego Rockets (now the Houston Rockets) San Diego, California 1967   1970 Pacific Division Southwest Division
San Francisco Warriors (now the Golden State Warriors) San Francisco, California 1962 Eastern Division 1970 Pacific Division Pacific Division
Seattle SuperSonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder) Seattle, Washington 1967   1970 Pacific Division Northwest Division
Sheboygan Red Skins Sheboygan, Wisconsin 1949 —* 1950 NPBL
St. Louis Bombers St. Louis, Missouri 1946 § 1949 Central Division
Washington Capitols Washington, D.C. 1947 Eastern Division 1948 Eastern Division
Waterloo Hawks Waterloo, Iowa 1949 —* 1950 NPBL
Notes
  • § founding BAA team
  •   denotes an expansion team.
  • * denotes a team that merged from the National Basketball League (NBL)

Team timelineEdit

Phoenix SunsSeattle SuperSonicsSan Diego RocketsChicago BullsSan Francisco WarriorsChicago PackersWaterloo HawksSheboygan Red SkinsIndianapolis OlympiansDenver Nuggets (1948–1950)Tri-Cities BlackhawksAnderson PackersMinneapolis LakersFort Wayne PistonsRochester RoyalsIndianapolis JetsWashington CapitolsBaltimore Bullets (1944–1954)St. Louis BombersPittsburgh IronmenDetroit Falcons (basketball)Cleveland RebelsChicago Stags

Division championsEdit

^ Had or tied for the best regular season record for that season
Season Team Record Playoffs result
1946–47 Chicago Stags 39–22 (.639) Lost BAA Finals
1947–48 St. Louis Bombers^ 29–19 (.604) Lost Semifinals
1948–49 Rochester Royals^ 45–15 (.750) Lost Division Finals
1949–50 Indianapolis Olympians 39–25 (.609) Lost Division Finals
1950–51 Minneapolis Lakers^ 44–24 (.647) Lost Division Semifinals
1951–52 Rochester Royals^ 41–25 (.621) Lost Division Finals
1952–53 Minneapolis Lakers^ 48–22 (.686) Won NBA Finals
1953–54 Minneapolis Lakers^ 46–26 (.639) Won NBA Finals
1954–55 Fort Wayne Pistons^ 43–29 (.597) Lost NBA Finals
1955–56 Fort Wayne Pistons 37–35 (.521) Lost NBA Finals
1956–57 St. Louis Hawks 34–38 (.472) Lost NBA Finals
1957–58 St. Louis Hawks 41–31 (.569) Won NBA Finals
1958–59 St. Louis Hawks 49–23 (.681) Lost Division Finals
1959–60 St. Louis Hawks 46–29 (.613) Lost NBA Finals
1960–61 St. Louis Hawks 51–28 (.646) Lost NBA Finals
1961–62 Los Angeles Lakers 54–26 (.675) Lost NBA Finals
1962–63 Los Angeles Lakers 53–27 (.663) Lost NBA Finals
1963–64 San Francisco Warriors 48–32 (.600) Lost NBA Finals
1964–65 Los Angeles Lakers 49–31 (.613) Lost NBA Finals
1965–66 Los Angeles Lakers 45–35 (.563) Lost NBA Finals
1966–67 San Francisco Warriors 44–37 (.543) Lost NBA Finals
1967–68 St. Louis Hawks 56–26 (.683) Lost Division Semifinals
1968–69 Los Angeles Lakers 55–27 (.671) Lost NBA Finals
1969–70 Atlanta Hawks 48–34 (.585) Lost Division Finals

Titles by teamEdit

Team Titles Season(s) won
Minneapolis Lakers/Los Angeles Lakers 8 1950–51, 1952–53, 1953–54, 1961–62, 1962–63, 1964–65, 1965–66, 1968–69
St. Louis Hawks/Atlanta Hawks 7 1956–57, 1957–58, 1958–59, 1959–60, 1960–61, 1967–68, 1969–70
Rochester Royals (now the Sacramento Kings) 2 1948–49, 1951–52
Fort Wayne Pistons (now the Detroit Pistons) 2 1954–55, 1955–56
San Francisco Warriors (now the Golden State Warriors) 2 1963–64, 1966–67
Chicago Stags 1 1946–47
St. Louis Bombers 1 1947–48
Indianapolis Olympians 1 1949–50

Season resultsEdit

^ Denotes team that won the BAA/NBA championships
+ Denotes team that lost the BAA/NBA Finals
* Denotes team that qualified for the BAA/NBA playoffs
Season Team (record)
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th
  • 1946: the Western Division was formed with five inaugural members.
1946–47 Chicago+ (39–22) St. Louis* (38–23) Cleveland* (30–30) Detroit (20–40) Pittsburgh (15–45)
1947–48 St. Louis* (29–19) Baltimore^ (28–20) Chicago* (28–20) Washington* (28–20)
1948–49 Rochester* (45–15) Minneapolis^ (44–16) Chicago* (38–22) St. Louis* (29–31) Fort Wayne (22–38) Indianapolis (18–42)
1949–50 Indianapolis* (39–25) Anderson* (37–27) Tri-Cities* (29–35) Sheboygan* (22–40) Waterloo (19–43) Denver (11–51)
  • 1950: the Denver Nuggets folded during the off-season, while the Anderson Packers, Sheboygan Red Skins and Waterloo Hawks left to join the National Professional Basketball League (NPBL). The Fort Wayne Pistons, Minneapolis Lakers and Rochester Royals re-joined the division.
1950–51 Minneapolis* (44–24) Rochester^ (41–27) Fort Wayne* (32–36) Indianapolis* (31–37) Tri-Cities (25–43)
1951–52 Rochester* (41–25) Minneapolis^ (40–26) Indianapolis* (34–32) Fort Wayne* (29–37) Milwaukee (17–49)
1952–53 Minneapolis^ (48–22) Rochester* (44–26) Fort Wayne* (36–33) Indianapolis* (28–43) Milwaukee (27–44)
  • 1953: the Indianapolis Olympians folded during the off-season.
1953–54 Minneapolis^ (46–26) Rochester* (44–28) Fort Wayne* (40–32) Milwaukee (21–51)
1954–55 Fort Wayne+ (43–29) Minneapolis* (40–32) Rochester* (29–43) Milwaukee (26–46)
1955–56 Fort Wayne+ (37–35) Minneapolis* (33–39) St. Louis* (33–39) Rochester (31–41)
1956–57 St. Louis+ (34–38) Minneapolis* (34–38) Fort Wayne* (34–38) Rochester (31–41)
1957–58 St. Louis^ (41–31) Detroit* (33–39) Cincinnati* (33–39) Minneapolis (19–53)
1958–59 St. Louis* (49–23) Minneapolis+ (33–39) Detroit* (28–44) Cincinnati (19–53)
1959–60 St. Louis+ (46–29) Detroit* (30–45) Minneapolis* (25–50) Cincinnati (19–56)
1960–61 St. Louis+ (51–28) Los Angeles* (36–43) Detroit* (34–45) Cincinnati (33–46)
1961–62 Los Angeles+ (54–26) Cincinnati* (43–37) Detroit* (37–43) St. Louis (29–51) Chicago (18–62)
1962–63 Los Angeles+ (53–27) St. Louis* (48–32) Detroit* (34–46) San Francisco (31–49) Chicago (25–55)
1963–64 San Francisco+ (48–32) St. Louis* (46–34) Los Angeles* (42–38) Baltimore (31–49) Detroit (23–57)
1964–65 Los Angeles+ (49–31) St. Louis* (45–35) Baltimore* (37–43) Detroit (31–49) San Francisco (17–63)
1965–66 Los Angeles+ (45–35) Baltimore* (38–42) St. Louis* (36–44) San Francisco (35–45) Detroit (22–58)
  • 1966: an expansion team, the Chicago Bulls, joined the division, while the Baltimore Bullets left to join the Eastern Division.
1966–67 San Francisco+ (44–37) St. Louis* (39–42) Los Angeles* (36–45) Chicago* (33–48) Detroit (30–51)
1967–68 St. Louis* (56–26) Los Angeles+ (52–30) San Francisco* (43–39) Chicago* (29–53) Seattle (23–59) San Diego (15–67)
  • 1968: an expansion team, the Phoenix Suns, joined the division, while the St. Louis Hawks relocated and became the Atlanta Hawks.
1968–69 Los Angeles+ (55–27) Atlanta* (48–34) San Francisco* (41–41) San Diego* (37–45) Chicago (33–49) Seattle (30–52) Phoenix (16–66)
1969–70 Atlanta* (48–34) Los Angeles+ (46–36) Chicago* (39–43) Phoenix* (39–43) Seattle (36–46) San Francisco (30–52) San Diego (27–55)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Goldaper, Sam. "The First Game". NBA.com. Archived from the original on May 3, 2019. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  2. ^ "NBA is born". History.com. November 16, 2009. Archived from the original on November 11, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  3. ^ "N.B.A. Is Realigned Into Four Divisions". The New York Times. April 24, 1970. Archived from the original on December 12, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.