2012-13 NBA Pacific Division Season Preview
2012-13 NBA Pacific Division Season Preview
The Pacific Division is really just NBA California plus one, with four of the five teams from the Golden State it is the one division where 80% of the teams comes from just one state. Two of those four teams are legitimate championship contenders, one should make the postseason for the first time in a few seasons and the other will probably finish in last place in the division yet again. There are many new faces in the Pacific this season some superstars and others are just role players but with all of the player movement will there be any change in the final standings from a season ago or this just a case or the rich getting richer and the poor staying poor. With all of the shifting however team chemistry will definitely be something to watch amongst those teams who did have a lot of their cast changing from 2011-12; will these new players hurt them or make them better? One thing that will be interesting to see in this division is how many All-Stars will come from it with the teams inside of the Pacific being so stacked with talent at almost every position. Honestly if it weren’t for the one really bad team inside of this division they would be able to challenge the Atlantic for the top division in the entire National Basketball Association, but they're definitely in the race for number two with the Northwest and the Southwest once again proving the Western Conference is superior to the East.
#5 Sacramento Kings (32-50)
Last season: (22-44), fifth place in the division
The Sacramento Kings are a team that hasn't been in playoff contention in six seasons and this year doesn't seem as if that will change. It's not that the Kings don't draft good players every year but for some strange reason the culture within the locker room causes these players to regress. Tyreke Evans is a perfect example of that theory; four seasons ago Evans took the NBA by storm drawing comparisons to Oscar Robertson because of his size and ability to play the point guards position now Evans is the starting small forward on the team and just a solid one at that. DeMarcus Cousins is this teams best player and if he can get his mind right and stop causing as many problems as he does then the Kings have a chance to not be terrible, just maybe bad. Point guard Isiah Thomas took this team by surprise last season with much of the attention at that position going to Jimmer Ferdette, what does Thomas have in store for his sophomore campaign. Another player to watch will be the Kings first-round draft pick forward Thomas Robinson, if he can move into the starting lineup sometime during the season he and Cousins should be a formidable duo in the paint.
#4 Phoenix Suns (40-42)
Last season: 33-33, third place in the division
The Steve Nash era is over for the Phoenix Suns and now they must find away to compete without a player who was synonymous with the franchise for all most a decade. Despite losing Nash the Suns still have a very intriguing team moving forward with a very solid starting lineup featuring Goran Dragic, Wesley Johnson, Michael Beasley, Luis Scola and Marcin Gortat. The bench isn't half bad either with Channing Frye, Jared Dudley, Jermaine O'Neal, Shanon Brown and rookie point guard Kendall Marshall who reminds many of a young Jason Kidd. If head coach Alvin Gentry can figure out the right rotation with these players they could challenge for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
#3 Golden State Warriors (43-39)
Last season: 23-43, fourth place in the division
This could be a big year for the Golden State Warriors due to the fact that the face of the team, point guard Stephen Curry and head coach Mark Jackson (a former point guard himself) both need to show results before the front office begin to have second thoughts about them and the fan base turns on them. If Curry can remain healthy this season then he will be able to lead this team to the postseason along with a very good starting lineup; David Lee, Andrew Bogut, Klay Thompson and first-round draft pick Harrison Barnes. Barnes could be the x-factor on this team, if he can come in and contribute with solid numbers early and be the player who many think he can then the sky is the limit for this Warriors team this season. The bench is a pretty good one also featuring Jarrett Jack, Brandon Rush, Richard Jefferson, Carl Landry, Andris Biedrins and rookie Draymond Green.
#2 Los Angeles Clippers (54-28)
Last season: (40-26), second place in the division
Last year the Los Angeles Clippers added a couple of major pieces in the form of Chris Paul, Chauncey Billiups and Caron Butler and instantly became a force to be reckoned with, now that they have been together for a season this year they are a true championship contender. With the growth of Blake Griffin into an all-around star and DeAndre Jordan into a dominant force in the paint, the Lob City crew can really make some serious noise during the 2012-13 campaign. This season the Clips front office added veterans Grant Hill, Lamar Odom, Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes to give them a much improved bench from a season ago which could pay huge dividends during the postseason. If it wasn't for the major moves made by their cross-gym rivals then the Clippers would have been the team to beat in this division. I still like what they did during the off-season and feel they will make a deeper run this season than they did a year ago.
#1 Los Angeles Lakers (60-22)
Last season: (41-25), first place in the division
What do you get when you add Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and the baller formerly known as Ron Artest (Metta World Peace), arguably the best starting five in the NBA and an instant 60-win team as long as team chemistry goes as expected. That is the exact equation that the Los Angeles Lakers are hoping for this season after acquiring Howard and Nash during the off-season; as long as everyone plays their role the Western Conference Finals should be the earliest they exit the postseason. The Lakers also added some extra fire power to their bench in the form of veteran scorer Antwan Jamison, Jodie Meeks and rookie Darius Johnson-Odom to go along with Steve Blake, Jordan Hill and Devan Ebanks. This team looks really, really good on paper and gives Kobe possibly his best chance at claiming his sixth ring and tying his idol, Michael Jordan.