Are you ready for some basketball? It’s almost tipoff time in the NBA! Over the next few days, BangtheBook will be taking a look at each division and providing a free prediction for the winner of that division. We’re switching over to the Western Conference now, and this preview will feature the Pacific Division. Odds to win division are from 5Dimes, while the season win totals listed are from BetOnline.
Los Angeles Lakers-
Odds to win Division: -425
Season Win Total: 59.5
Key Losses: Andrew Bynum, Ramon Sessions
Key Newcomers: Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Robert Sacre, Antawn Jamison
It’s hard to have a bigger offseason signing period than the Lakers did this year. The Lakers brought in two of the best players in the NBA in the same offseason. Steve Nash should be great as a distributor for Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard. Howard is a beast down in the blocks, and there won’t be another team that can match the Lakers frontcourt of Howard and Gasol. Over the past few years the problem with the Lakers has been their weakness at the point guard spot. They obviously don’t have that weakness anymore, so this team is very dangerous. No doubt the Lakers are a major threat to win it all. One big question though: how will the team chemistry be?
Los Angeles Clippers-
Odds to win Division: +320
Season Win Total: 48.5
Key Losses: Mo Williams, Kenyon Martin, Nick Young
Key Newcomers: Jamal Crawford, Lamar Odom, Grant Hill
The Los Angeles Clippers were one of the worst franchises in the NBA for quite some time, but now they are real contenders. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are the anchors for the team they call “Lob City.” Paul is one of the top three point guards in the league, and he showed his worth on the floor at the Olympics for the United States Gold Medal winning team. Griffin battled injuries quite a bit last year, and he’ll need to take that next step if the Clippers are going to win it all. Picking up Lamar Odom and Jamal Crawford gives the team two solid scorers who should contribute in a big way to this team. Keep an eye on DeAndre Jordan this year as well.
Golden State Warriors-
Odds to win Division: +5,000
Season Win Total: 34.5
Key Losses: Dorrell Wright, Nate Robinson
Key Newcomers: Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes
The Golden State Warriors put a lot of faith in Klay Thompson last year when they traded away Monta Ellis. Thompson shot 41 percent from beyond the arc, and with Stephen Curry and Harrison Barnes joining him, the Warriors will have one of the best shooting backcourts in the league. David Lee is a very solid player who gets a lot done on both ends of the floor. Andrew Bogut is the key to this team’s success or lack thereof this year. Bogut has to stay healthy and be a dominant center in the middle for the Warriors. This team should score points, but can they stop anyone?
Odds to win Division: +6,600
Season Win Total: 34.5
Key Losses: Steve Nash, Grant Hill, Robin Lopez, Hakim Warrick
Key Newcomers: Michael Beasley, Luis Scola, Wesley Johnson, Kendall Marshall, Goran Dragic
Phoenix lost a ton of talent in the offseason. The Suns knew they were going to lose Steve Nash, but they did get a good young point guard in Kendall Marshall. Phoenix has had a really nice run over the past decade, but this will be a major rebuilding season. Scola is probably the team’s best pickup of the offseason. Scola has consistently put up very good numbers for Houston over the last few years, and he should do the same in Phoenix. Michael Beasley has tons of potential, but his inconsistency is concerning. Expect a big drop off in the desert this season.
Odds to win Division: +10,000
Season Win Total: 29.5
Key Losses: Terrence Williams
Key Newcomers: Thomas Robinson, Aaron Brooks
The Kings didn’t lose much from last year, but they have a long ways to go to be competitive in this difficult division. DeMarcus Cousins is undoubtedly their best player, but his attitude is questionable to put it mildly. It’s never a good sign to have a player with such a poor attitude as the leader of the team. Jimmer Fredette was a huge disappoint in year one, and he’ll have to be better this season. Thomas Robinson is a complete player who should be a consistent performer for the Kings in the frontcourt. Look for this team to run and gun, but they won’t play much defense.
Pacific Division Prediction: Los Angeles Lakers (-425)
The Lakers just have too much talent for the rest of this division. Howard and Gasol should be unstoppable in the post, and Nash will make the team far better with his passing ability. The Clippers will be a high seed in the playoffs as well, but don’t expect them to keep up with the Lakers.
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