09-10 Pacific Division Preview
The Lakers rule the world. Everyone else is just trying to be better than they were a year ago, which means they’re just trying to make the Playoffs.
Here at HoopsVibe, we love the fact that our readers are educated and knowledgeable about basketball, even so much that they challenge many of the things said by our writers. With the NBA season starting this week and Chris Sells making predictions on the order of finish for each division, we don’t expect that to change now. Leave your own predictions in the comments section and you might just earn the right to win a prize at the end of the season. That prize will be a pat on the back. From yourself.
Los Angeles Lakers
The defending NBA Champions might be poised to repeat this year, but they’ll need Ron Artest to maintain his sanity to do so. With Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant there to keep him in line, as well as his childhood friend Lamar Odom, it shouldn’t be a problem. This is clearly the most talented team in the West with the best coach and the best player. The only thing standing between them and Western Conference supremacy is themselves.
What to say about the Kings? Well… Francisco Garcia broke his wrist because an exercise ball exploded. And Sean May made some extra money this summer because he met a weight clause in his contract. Omri Casspi got accused of being a sniper in the Israeli army. Oh, you want something basketball related? Uh, Kevin Martin is an OK player, if a bit one-dimensional. Tyreke Evans will be an exciting rookie and might be really good in a couple of years. Other than that, there’s not much to say about Sacramento. They’ll lose early and often.
Golden State Warriors
I was ready to say that the Warriors would be a much improved team until they went to training camp. Then Monta Ellis proclaimed that he couldn’t start alongside Stephen Curry, Stephen Jackson got belligerent and got suspended for going at it with Don Nelson and Brandan Wright jacked up his shoulder. Now the team will have to play small ball quite a bit (Acie Law may see minutes at small forward and Corey Maggette could be the team’s starting power forward) and the locker room may not be the safest place to be. There’s never a dull moment in Oakland, is there?
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers have a talented enough team that they should be in the playoffs. Really. Even with Blake Griffin missing the first six weeks of the season with that stress fracture, LA should be able to keep it together long enough to make the postseason. This was also the case last year, but things didn’t go as planned. Baron Davis has reportedly slimmed down and his game should reflect that. There have bigs to spare and young talent at the swing positions. If they make it, I told you so. If they don’t, forget I said anything.
Steve Nash will be 36 by the time the All-Star break rolls around. He is no longer the first name mentioned when discussions about the NBA’s best point guard start brewing. Yet last year he still averaged over 15 points and nearly 10 assists a game while the team bickered with Terry Porter about how fast they should play. Terry Porter is gone, Amare Stoudemire is back, Shaq is no longer there to slow the fast break and Phoenix should be able to challenge for a Playoff spot. Of course in the West, that might mean having to win 50 games.
Predicted Order of Finish
1. Los Angeles Lakers
2. Phoenix Suns
3. Los Angeles Clippers
4. Golden State Warriors
5. Sacramento Kings