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2017-2018 Season Preview: Pacific Division

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The Pacific Division has some glorious rivalries, numerous championships, and many playoff appearances. This year, however, the Pacific Division might not have much representation in the playoffs.

1. Golden State Warriors: 70-12

Imagine one of the greatest teams of all-time coming off a 16-1 postseason run, bringing back 12 of their 15 players from the championship season, and managing to deepen their roster and get better at shooting the basketball. Seems unlikely right? Well, the Golden State Warriors managed to do just that this offseason. The Dubs resigned Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Durant, and Shaun Livingston, while managing to snag the likes of Omri Casspi and Nick Young, and stealing Jordan Bell from the Chicago Bulls for chump change on draft night. The Warriors could honestly have a shot at beating their 73-9 record from two years ago, but knowing how strenuous the team said that venture was, it’s safe to say that they’ll settle for the 2018 NBA Championship.

2. Los Angeles Clippers: 42-40

The Clippers went over an enormous amount of roster turnover this offseason, losing three starters and three key bench players. Their biggest loss is Chris Paul, who they traded away to the Houston Rockets for a multitude of players. Paul led the Clippers to new heights, helping them make the playoffs in every year during his tenure in LA. The Clippers still have DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin, and Danilo Gallinari, a very formidable frontcourt. However, with the unproven likes of Milos Teodosic and the Clippers’ inability to stay healthy, I don’t see them making the playoffs in a stacked Western Conference.

3. Los Angeles Lakers: 32-50

Over the last few years, Lakers fans haven’t had much to celebrate. With the end of Kobe Bryant’s career, D’Angelo Russell’s Snapchat snafus, and not a lot of wins, basketball hasn’t been fun under the bright lights of Staples Center. However, this year, the Lakers seem poised to take a solid step in the right direction. With rookie Lonzo Ball dawning the Purple and Gold, the Lakers will be must-watch television every night. Lonzo’s ability to run the fastbreak and push the pace plays perfectly into Luke Walton’s system. In addition, the signing of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and acquistion of Brook Lopez provides the Lakers with veteran leadership and solid defenders. A lot of the Lakers’ success hinges on the development of Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle, but if the Lakers can find a cohesive group to put next to Lonzo, they should be back in the playoffs in a couple seasons.

4. Sacramento Kings: 30-52

For the first time in eight years, the Kings will enter training camp without DeMarcus Cousins. While Cousins was an other-worldly player and provided the Kings with a superstar to build around, there were always concerns about Cousins’ personality and temper. This season, the Kings have a fresh start and a new look roster. With rookies De’Aaron Fox, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Justin Jackson, Harry Giles, and Frank Mason III, Sacramento has a solid young core they can build around. In addition, the Kings signed veterans George Hill, Zach Randolph, and Vince Carter to provide veteran leadership to an otherwise young and inexperienced team. Buddy Hield and Skal Labissiere have shown flashes of potential and Willie Cauley-Stein has shown that he can be a solid center. These young guys will be heavily featured this season in another rebuilding year for the Kings. However, Sacramento seems like they’re on the path back to the playoffs in the near future.

(AP Photo – Darren Abate)

5. Phoenix Suns: 25-57

The Phoenix Suns were extremely disappointed when they received the 4th pick in the NBA Draft despite finishing with the second worst record in the league. However, when they snagged Josh Jackson with the 4th pick, the Suns were more than ecstatic. With the addition of Jackson and pairing him alongside Devin Booker, the Suns now have two of the best young wings in the game and can build around them for the future. As for Booker, the 20-year old phenom seems poised to make the leap into the top tier of shooting guards in the NBA, and his development is key for any future plans in Phoenix. The Suns also have a solid young group of Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender, TJ Warren, and Tyler Ulis, and their development will shape Phoenix’s chances for contention in the future. While everyone is gunning to take down Golden State, the Suns will have to play the waiting game and let their young pieces develop.

So, overall, the Pacific Division will have this year’s NBA champion, as well as a bunch of rebuilding teams trending in the right direction. In a few years time, the Pacific Division will be very well represented in the playoffs.

About Gautam Ratnam

Writer/Editor for NBALEAD. Born and raised in the Bay. #Dubnation. Twitter: @gautam_ratnam

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