I’ve covered the first five divisions, and now I’ll tackle the Pacific. Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers will be looking for another Finals appearance and another Championship as the season opens this month. It seems at least the divisional standings will be taken care of with the rest of the Pacific failing to convince me that they can challenge LA. A bit of moving and shaking though, so let’s take a look.
Here’s my take on the Pacific Division:
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Phoenix Suns
- Golden State Warriors
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Sacramento Kings
Let’s start with the Kings, who will be somewhat exciting to watch but certainly not contenders. They have accompanied the exciting talent of Tyreke Evans with the new faces of Samuel Dalembert, DeMarcus Cousins and Luther Head. I’m really not expecting a lot from this group this season, but I certainly don’t doubt the energy levels.
The Los Angeles Clippers will again be the Los Angeles Clippers. The only shining light for this season in my opinion is the hopeful emergence of Blake Griffin. He’ll make an immediate impact and barring injury, should feature in the top 3 RoY candidates. Baron Davis is only going to “spalding” his teammates in the forehead so many times before he gets restless and demands something. If it wasn’t for his budding film career, I would have thought Baron might ask for a trade by January. Time till tell on that one.
The Golden State Warriors made some significant changes this off-season and added names like David Lee, Louis Amundson, Dan Gadzuric, Dorell Wright and Charlie Bell. Sure these guys aren’t household names, (with the exception perhaps of David Lee) but they are hard workers and will bring a new look to this oft-struggling franchise. Don Nelson has been moved on and current assistant Keith Smart will assume the top job. Best of luck to the new top man.
I touched on the Phoenix Suns earlier this month and I think it’s obvious where their season is heading. With no power players and little ability to keep a defense guessing, I sense the Suns will be lucky to make the Playoffs. With Amare Stoudemire gone along with the additions of Hedo Turkoglu and Josh Childress, I’m channeling the Sixth Sense when I say “I see dead Basketball” in the Valley of the Sun.
Finally we’ll cover a team that runs such a tight ship that it can afford to have players missing for extended periods and still get the job done. The Los Angeles Lakers will again be without Center Andrew Bynum until late November and hardly seem phased. Even Kobe Bryant is taking a cautious approach to the new season since recovering from maintenance-based knee surgery.
Los Angeles added Matt Barnes, Steve Blake and Theo Ratliff while losing only Josh Powell and again relying on the Zen Master Phil Jackson, the Lakers are looking good again this year. This division has the potential to field only one Playoff participant in 2011. A mean feat really when you consider the raw talent levels of some of the players within it.
Well, that’s the season predictions done and dusted. Bring on season 2010/11!!