This is the final division in BangtheBook’s division by division NBA season preview. We head all the way west for this preview. Let’s take a closer look at the Western Conference and the Pacific Division. The Clippers are the new kings of Los Angeles, and they are the favorites here. All futures odds listed below are from 5Dimes.
2012-2013 Record: 56-26
Odds to Win NBA Pacific Division: -245
Odds to win NBA Championship: +1,000
Doc Rivers was probably the best offseason pickup for the Clippers. Few coaches command respect as well as Rivers, and he should do a great job with this team. Chris Paul stuck around which was huge for the team. Paul is probably the best all-around point guard in the NBA. Expect to see a bit of a different style from the Clippers this year. Rivers wants the team to spread the floor more this season. Signing J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley in the offseason made this team much more dangerous from three-point range. DeAndre Jordan is going to be counted on to be a defensive force around the basket. We know Blake Griffin can dunk with the best of them, but he needs to improve his jump shot.
2012-2013 Record: 47-35
Odds to Win NBA Pacific Division: +210
Odds to win NBA Championship: +2,375
Golden State performed very well in the playoffs last year. They upset the Nuggets in the first round and gave the Spurs all they could handle in the second round. Mark Jackson clearly has a good handle on this young team. Steph Curry is the best shooter in the league, and he has plenty of help in the form of Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson. Jarrett Jack moved on in the offseason, but the Warriors picked up versatile forward Andre Iguodala. Iguodala should be a great addition for this team. He’s an elite defender and a guy who fits well into this fast-paced offense. Andrew Bogut is healthier than he has been in several years, and he and David Lee could form a very strong frontcourt.
2012-2013 Record: 45-37
Odds to Win NBA Pacific Division: +1,500
Odds to win NBA Championship: +4,400
It’s been a very long time since the oddsmakers were so low on the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe Bryant is doing his best to get back as soon as possible from his injury. I have little doubt that Bryant will come back and be very good, but he has very little help around him. Pau Gasol is still a high quality forward, and he should have a better year. Steve Nash is a big question mark. Will he come back from last year’s injury-riddled disappointment? After those guys, the Lakers don’t have much of anything going for them. They lost Howard, Metta World Peace, and Antawn Jamison. Too many question marks for this team.
2012-2013 Record: 28-54
Odds to Win NBA Pacific Division: +9,000
Odds to win NBA Championship: +35,000
Sacramento got quite a bit of young talent during the offseason. Some thought Ben McLemore was the most talented player in the draft, and Ray McCallum has the potential to be a contributor from the point guard spot. Greivis Vasquez was a nice signing for the team to add more depth in the backcourt. DeMarcus Cousins is eligible for an extension after this year, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see a big year from him. The Kings still have a lot of holes, but they do have more of a nucleus to build around. Things are slowly getting better here.
2012-2013 Record: 25-57
Odds to Win NBA Pacific Division: +50,000
Odds to win NBA Championship: +57,500
The Suns have gone off the deep end in the last couple years. This team tried to rebuild with a bunch of veterans who weren’t all that good. In the end, it just made the Suns a poor team and they had very little financial flexibility. During this offseason, the Suns decided to do a full rebuild and get younger. In the long run, it should be good for the team. In the short run, this team is going to be awful. Eric Bledsoe will give fans an exciting player to cheer for if he stays healthy, but this team is going to rack up the losses in a big way this year. The Suns will be competing for the top pick in the draft lottery.
NBA Pacific Division Pick: Golden State Warriors
The Clippers definitely have a lot of talent, but the Warriors are growing quickly as a team and I see a good amount of value in them to win the division at more than +200. Iguodala should be a perfect fit, and I like Golden State to exceed expectations this year.
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