Nick Wetzel, Sports Editor
With Basketball season right around the corner, we took a look at each division. Here is our Pacific Division preview.
|The best team ever, record-wise anyway, just added one of the three best players in the world right now. Sure, they lost Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut, but Kevin Durant more than makes up for Barnes’ production and the Warriors signed Zaza Pachulia to fill Bogut’s spot. The Warriors were also able to get David West to sign for the veteran minimum, which is huge for their bench unit. This team won’t win 82 games, or 74, but they should easily win the Pacific crown again.
|The Clippers looked to prove last year that they had the capability to make a deep playoff run, starting off with a seven-game slugfest against the San Antonio Spurs. In the end, their playoff hopes were ended prematurely thanks to Chris Paul’s broken hand. They look primed for a rebound with their big three all healthy, but they are also looking toward the future with big man projects, Brice Johnson and Diamond Stone. They’ll give Golden State a fight for the top spot, but will most likely finish second again.
|Sacramento just hasn’t been able to put quality talent around, arguably, the best all-around center in the NBA. DeMarcus Cousins impressed again last season, adding a 3-point shot to his already impressive offensive game, but he can’t do it all on his own and the Kings haven’t been able to get anyone who can help him. They hope recent draft picks Malachi Richardson and Skal Labissiere can develop into NBA talents, but for now the Kings are destined to finish in the bottom three of the division.
|The Suns are an interesting young team led by guards Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker. They are also returning aging big man Tyson Chandler, and the man who took his job, Alex Len. They could make some noise if draft acquisitions Dragan Bender, Marquese Chriss, and Tyler Ulis can repeat Devin Booker’s rookie success, but for now they project to finish fourth in the division.
|Now that Kobe Bryant is officially retired, the Lakers can finally look ahead to the future of the franchise. They got off to a decent start by grabbing D’Angelo Russell in last year’s draft and Julius Randle two years ago. A rough season last year put them in position to grab Brandon Ingram second overall in this year’s draft. Expect another rough season for the Lakers, but the youth movement should be fun to watch.