It’s difficult to break down the Pacific Division of the NBA because almost every team is written off in favor of the Golden State Warriors. The other teams lack the leadership or all-star quality that the Warriors have but that doesn’t mean they will necessarily do poorly this season. Most of them are in a rebuilding phase, but they could easily make playoff runs with the proper teamwork and dedication but don’t expect anyone to give Golden State a run for its money.
Golden State Warriors – Is there even a chance that another team dethrones the king of the Pacific Division? With a stacked roster composed of stars like Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green, the Warriors are the clear favorites to win the NBA title. Their offense should be unstoppable, with one of the best shooters (if not the best) in basketball history considering they averaged about 119.1 points per game as a team last year. Not to mention, everyone works together well and plays unselfishly as if basketball was actually a team sport. Maybe some of the younger players can learn something from the way Curry treats his teammates, that this sport isn’t just about personal glory. With their impeccable offense, Golden State is also terrific on defense as well making them a dynamic threat to face. Sure, the team could become lazy because of how incredibly talented they are, but that hasn’t happened yet so it seems unlikely.
Los Angeles Clippers – Nothing hurt more for Clipper fans (including myself), to see Chris Paul and JJ Redick leave Los Angeles this year. While the team still has talent in Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, the Clippers suffered some bitter losses by losing two key players. Not to mention, team morale had to have taken a hit with only five players remaining on the roster after last season. Los Angeles definitely has the talent to be second in the Pacific Division, and to even make the playoffs, but that’s probably where it will end for the team. Without Paul’s ability to create plays and find his teammates as well as Redick’s ability to shoot beyond the arc, the Clippers will desperately need to spend their time addressing holes in their squad. Considering Griffin has had his seasons since 2015 be plagued with injury, it’s definitely time for Los Angeles fans to begin getting worried.
Sacramento Kings – Similar to the Lakers, the Kings lack any major star to lead their team. However, their season could go either way with a majority of their starters being very young. Finishing third in the Pacific Division last year, Sacramento is most likely treating this season as a rebuilding one. European superstar, Bogdan Bogdanovic, joined the team and will be a major asset despite not playing in the United States before. His team won the EuroLeague last year and he averaged 14.6 points, 1.1 steals, 3.6 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 50% field goal percentage per game. He’ joined by nineteen year old, De’Aaron Fox, the first round pick this year who is shaping up to be an athletic monster at point guard. With so much potential, the Kings could actually rise to second place, however, the lack of experience here will only pull them down this season.
Los Angeles Lakers – The addition of Lonzo Ball will definitely help Los Angeles this year to remain relevant in the Pacific Division. His exemplary ability to get the ball into the hands of his teammates will definitely help them earn a playoff spot. Unfortunately, the Lakers are still trying to rebuild with seven new players which means that the team might not initially gel together. There isn’t a lot of star power on the roster either, despite the high expectations that Ball has on his rookie shoulders. Kentavius Caldwell-Pope should begin to see a boost in his statistics now that he’s one of the leading players on the team after averaging 13.8 points, 1.2 steals, 2.5 assists, 3.3 rebounds, and 39.9% field goal percentage per game with the Pistons. Unfortunately, he won’t be able to completely turn the Lakers poor defensive play around in one year which will ultimately hold Los Angeles back.
Phoenix Suns – Like so many teams in the Pacific Division, the Suns lack any clear high interest players. Their inability to move the ball around well last season cost them many games (they finished with a 24-58 record), and if they can’t figure out a way to address their lack of team chemistry than it will continue to hurt them in games. At least with up and coming Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker along with veteran Tyson Chandler they should do better than fifth place this season. Last year, Bledsoe averaged 21.1 points, 6.3 assists, and 43.4% field goal percentage while Booker had 22.1 points with a 42.3% field goal percentage. The two of them could mean serious trouble for defenses next season and Phoenix fans have to be happy to finally see some potential on their court.
Despite Golden State all but guaranteed to win the Pacific Division, it looks like a couple of these teams could really come into their own this season. The rebuilding process with the Lakers and Kings is progressing nicely which should have a positive impact on their seasons. It’s a shame that the Warriors are so good because it would be nice to see another team have a shot at taking them down as divisional champions this year.