NBA League Preview: Pacific Division

September 25, 2012


Golden State Warriors:

Often overlooked and lately not a great NBA team, the Golden State Warriors find themselves in a bit of an odd space. The most obvious part of that space is it’s very difficult to say this team has improved. I’m not exactly sure I would say having Andrew Bogut is really a key piece in making a team better, but considering his history as an injury prone all-star playing player. It’s tiring if you’re a Golden State fan. And the upset (sorry Stefan) over the Mavs a few years ago is practically the only reason Golden State probably still exists.

GSW’s starting line-up is just.. meh. And that’s the issue. “Meh” doesn’t get you a winning season in this league. The best player on this team in my opinion is David Lee, and sure, you can make an argument for Curry (no you can’t), but honestly Lee is a healthy, double-double machine. It’s just a shame he’ll be wasting his talents in Golden State.

I really wish I had something for the loyal Warrior fans, but if everyone on this team stays healthy, I suppose it’s not absurd to think they could surprise someone. The bottom two or so teams in the playoff’s in the West are not too much better record wise than the East, so a .500 team could make it. I just think Golden State will be well below that. Sorry Warriors.

Los Angeles Clippers:

Here’s a team that is fun to watch. My brother calls them the “new” Phoenix Suns, because of “Lob City”. I can’t really argue with him. It certainly helps that the Clippers have a good team now, with quality talent and some big names to back them up. Last season, they had what was in my opinion the most interesting first round match-up against the Grizzlies. While yes they did win that series, they only got stomped on by the Spurs, and if you have any fire in you at all, winning one round isn’t good enough, and nor should it be. So we’ll see here if LA did absolutely anything to stop that from happening again. (Side note: I’m aware that LA really wasn’t healthy, but a sweep is a sweep)

I’m am actually a pretty big fan of the (projected) starting line-up the Clippers are bringing to the floor. CP3 (**in my opinion, a top-3 point guard in the league, though if you make me choose I will put him at number 2 behind Nash, let the bashing commence!!**), Blake Griffin (what more can possibly be said about Griffin, he’ll dunk it on anyone), Caron Butler (I like Butler, when healthy, he can score), as well as DeAndre Jordan and lining up in the back court along with CP3 is Mr. Big Shot himself, Chauncey Billups. On paper, may not be too intimidating, you can be honest. But, in reality, this is kind of scary. Griffin is constantly improving, and the back court is simply, nearly perfect (when healthy, of course). Butler and Jordan can contribute, so there’s no issues there.

The biggest improvement to this team though is in the bench. If you ever watch any team worth its weight in wins, the bench is probably the most important piece in an elite team, and like I just stated, this bench has improved. Welcome Grant Hill (a personal favorite of mine, he’s really come back since rejuvenating his career in PHX), Lamar Odom (a friends personal favorite, and for good reason, provided he keeps his mind on the court and off the front office issues of the past from other teams, there’s no reason to think this guy can’t still play), and Turiaf as well. This isn’t counting of course Eric Bledsoe and Matt Barnes (yeah, I know, not all are new).

It’s just hard to see how this team hasn’t improved, and if I’m a Clipper fan, I’m thinking of more than just a first round victory then bowing out. With a great starting line-up, and some depth, all you need is great play and chemistry and we may have a true contender here. The only issues I really see with the Clippers are two things: age and the fact that they are in the same division as the Lakers. Although, I promise you that will be an interesting match-up. So, if I have to pick a spot for the Clips to finish, I’ll say in the top four, but of course that’s subject to change. But I think the four seed is a safe spot for the Clips. Depending on who they end up against, maybe they could luck out and see themselves in the Western Conference Finals. I really doubt it, but with a bit of help, it could happen. Right?

Los Angeles Lakers:

So, for the most part, I’ve discussed my opinion on the Lakers in my Dwight Howard article a while back, so I won’t go to in depth, but that word reminds me of something. The Lakers really do not have a whole lot of depth. They have a great starting line-up sure, but I’d choose the Clippers depth right now over the Lakers, and who could blame me? While sure it’s aged, at least when healthy there are names that I know can ball. I mean, I’d take Bledsoe over Blake.

Actually, come to think of it, I may be semi-nervous about the whole “Lakers second in the west” thing. You could make an argument otherwise, but a lot can happen in 82 games. It’s going to to feel like a longer season than usual, due to going from 66 games to 82.

When it comes down to it, the Lakers are a top five team in the regular season. Do I think they can beat OKC? Sure, why not? Do I think they will? Well… I don’t know.. I just know that the trade helped morph the Lakers into an even better team. It’s an 82 game season, and chemistry is important.

Phoenix Suns:

Here is a fun team to write about: while briefly talked about in my Dwight Howard article, the Phoenix Suns are an interesting team that has been remade and are in the middle of rebuilding yet still trying to make the playoffs. With as mediocre as the Phoenix Suns were last season, they were only one win against the Utah Jazz from walking into the playoffs. Obviously this is a different team. There is no Nash, that’s the obvious. His at one time replacement, Goran Dragic, is now his official replacement after a brief stint in Houston. Joining him, is former Houston Rocket Luis Scola who is only going to add fire power to a team known for its own firepower.

The starting line-up continues great with new addition Michael Beasley from the Minnesota Timberwolves, the number two over pick in a draft that Derrick Rose went number one in. Beasley began to transform into a better play, year after year, in Minnesota because he was able to get the time to develop. Moving on to the the final two spots in the starting line-up: Wesley Johnson, a once Timberwolf himself, finds himself in the projected starting line-up for the Phoenix Suns. Johnson was a good player in Minnesota, and finds himself on a team where he’s going to be given the light to improve upon his 31 percent three-point percentage. Rounding out the starting line-up, Marcin Gortat, the at one time back-up for Dwight Howard, Gortat has proven himself time and time again as probably Phoenix’s second best player. With Nash being gone, he probably is Phoenix’s best player now, and I’m sure he’ll live up to it.

Where I think the Suns are a bit underrated at is their bench. With three-point marksman Jared Dudley, the highflying Shannon Brown and Channing Frye (who is out indefinitely due to an enlarged heart, get well soon Frye), the Phoenix Sun bench can play. I’m not sure I’m thrilled about the acquisition of Jermaine O’Neal. He’s often injured and often underplays, but Phoenix is known for rejuvenating veteran’s careers. Markieff Morris is definitely going to get more minutes now, and that’s fine. I like the fact that Phoenix is young, and I feel I have underrated the Suns mainly because of their bench.

Do the Suns make the playoffs? I’m not sure, I don’t see why not really. Like I stated before, the bottom of the Western Conference isn’t too strong. Probably just a few games over .500 will get you in, and this Suns team is more than capable of doing that.

Sacramento Kings:

I wish I had some encouraging words for the Kings, but I don’t. I really wish that Jimmer Fredette received more playing time. So I could use the whole “Jimmer Range” saying again, but alas, some things just aren’t meant to be. He does have a heck of a following in Sacramento. The starting line-up at least maintains Tyreke Evans, who I feel can definitely ball it up. We’ve seen it actually, so there’s a bit of promising potential there. At the center position DeMarcus Cousins, who was recently rated in the top-50 NBA players. I’m not a big fan of those lists, because I want to say the Cousins’ doesn’t deserve that rating, but I really am not sure I could defend that position effectively.

Other than that, the Kings really don’t have a whole lot. Sure, the team has veterans in Aaron Brooks and John Salmons, but neither of them can really play (I’m not a fan of Brooks at all, you can argue against my Salmons claim).

So, no post season for the Kings. Mid-season I wouldn’t be surprised if they moved Fredette, just because they can (and there is a log jam at point). Other than that, there won’t be any splashes made from them this season. Stay strong Sacramento. I do wish you the best of luck.

Editor’s Note: Check out Curtis’ preview of the Southeast, Central, and Atlantic Divisions of The NBA.

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About Curtis Dasch

Formally a "Jack-of-all-Trades" writer for The Farm Club, Curtis is now a resident of Jacksonville Beach, Florida. His current goal is to bring the flavors and scene of Jacksonville to everyone from locals, to "townies", to the entire state of Florida.

View all posts by Curtis Dasch


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