NBA Predictions 2012-2013 Pacific Division

looks like this division will look pretty much the same, with LA ruling it.  there are just no teams that come close to them.

1. Los Angeles Lakers (60 wins)

i hope they don’t win…

i’ve already written a long article analyzing the “trade” that brought dwight to LA.  i don’t like it one bit, but i would have to admit, they have the potential to have the best record in the NBA.  i’m really hoping that they won’t figure out how to play together, dwight will hate kobe, steve nash will grow tired of his teammates, and pau will complain that he never gets the ball.  with that being said, let me talk about them realistically.  obviously, when you have the best center in the league and one of the top 5 point guards in the league who is a pass-first point guard, things should go extremely well.  just look at steve nash and amare back in 2006.  and now they have kobe, just 5th on the all time scoring list, and pau gasol, one of the most skilled big men in the league (as he proved in the olympics).  add ron artest metta world peace, and i’d say you have a winner.  antawn jamison is going to come off the bench as a 6th man, and the only other bench player worth mentioning is jordan hill.  so that’s a pretty good first six, but their bench is probably the biggest weakness i can see.  in the regular season, they will be fine, barring bad relationships, but in the playoffs, you need to be deep.  just look at steve nash’s suns.  so they need to get better and deeper, although they probably don’t have enough money for anything.

the one big issue is looming is chemistry.  kobe is known to be a tough guy, someone who always looks like he’s not having fun on the court.  dwight is the exact opposite.  he’s the guy who bases everything on how fun he’s having.  so i’m not really sure on how that will work, but i think it will (much to my dismay).  the reason why i say that is not because of kobe or dwight, but because of steve nash.  he will have to be the glue that holds everything together.  he will be the team leader on the floor and off it, and so will kobe.  but nash will balance out kobe as well.  there is much respect between the both of them, and there might be some problems at first, but i think eventually they will figure it out.  pau gasol, will have to continue to find his niche this season, as there might be even less time with the ball.  so that will be interesting to observe as well.  but overall, i think they will definitely be the top 2 team in the west, and compete for the best record.

starting 5: howard, gasol, world peace, bryant, nash

 

2. Los Angeles Clippers (55 wins)

the los angeles clippers made a huge jump last year and got to the semi-conference finals, even though they didn’t have chauncey billups, one of their main leaders.  i feel like they’ve signed some good players, and if everything works out right, they can compete in the west as well.  billups will be back at the 2 spot, and although that isn’t his natural position, he adjusted quite well last year before his injuries.  of course, they have cp3 and blake, and they will only go as far as cp3 can take them.  he is the heart and soul of this club, and if reports are to be believed, blake has made great strides in his game.  hopefully he’ll be more than just a dunking machine.  they also have size, and deandre needs to just take his game to another notch offensively.  defensively, he’s pretty good already.  and they can bump and bruise with the lakers.  their starting 5 is one of the best in the league, and they got some veterans to back them up.  grant hill, now the oldest player in the nba, is a good pick up for them, as well as lamar odom, providing that he’s rejuvenated.  jamal crawford can also provide some firepower, that is, if his shot is a bit more accurate this season.  there are a lot of possibilities here, and if they could put it together, they have a chance to be top 5 team in the west at least.

starting 5: jordan, griffin, butler, billups, paul

3. Phoenix Suns (45 wins)

the phoenix suns went out and spent money this past summer, and they would have been spending more if it wasn’t for some restricted agent rules.  they tried to get eric gordon but couldn’t retain him, as the hornets matched gordon’s offer.  so instead, they got luis scola at a very good price, michael beasley, and wesley johnson.  i don’t know why phoenix is such a hot spot right now, especially with nash out of the picture.  but i guess it’s because of their medical staff, because they certainly aren’t really winning anything any time soon.  with this group, i feel like they’ll be in the middle of the pack, which is the worst place to be.  no lottery picks, no playoff spots.  so it’s harder to rebuild after losing a player like nash.  if beasley can mature into what he’s supposed to be, and gets some leadership from scola and gortat, they can be a decent team.  gortat, scola, and beasley have the potential to be a scary frontcourt.  dragic is a decent guard, although it’s ironic they paid for a player they used to have.  but i don’t really expect much from this team this year.

starting 5: gortat, scola, beasly, johnson, dragic

4. Golden State Warriors (40 wins)

yep, you have a long road ahead of you…

the golden state warriors have always been a fun team to watch, but not a good team.  they have one of the best point guards in stephen curry, but that’s about it.  andrew bogut is a big question mark because of his injuries.  i feel bad for the guy, because he can’t catch a break.  but if he’s healthy, he can actually put some defense into the warriors.  david lee is a double double machine, and klay thompson is a pretty good player, but it seems like with this talent, it still doesn’t translate into wins.  even curry is a question mark because of his ankle injuries.  he missed a lot of games this past year, and i’m not sure if he’s going to be full strength by the time the season starts.  he’s going to be the key to this team and the warriors will be lost with them.  richard jefferson brings some much needed leadership with his veteran experience.  i can’t really say anything good about the bench either, except jarrett jack.  but it just seems like this team will keep on losing alot of games but being fun to watch.

starting 5: bogut, lee, barnes, thompson, curry

5. Sacramento Kings (25 wins)

the kings are like a poor man’s warriors, which isn’t saying much.  they also have talent, but that doesn’t amount to anything.  the thing that they’re missing is maturity.  they have tons of young guys, but they aren’t that mature.  they took a step last year when they fired westphal and hired keith smart, someone who was willing to work with their main star, demarcus cousins.  if cousins becomes a more mature player and person, that is a really great first step for them.  he has the talent to be a top 5 power forward, but he needs to continue to work and not be distracted by things.  if they do well, this season, it will be because of cousins and smart.  tyreke evans will probably have to adjust to being a small forward, after being a point guard in isaiah thomas.  marcus, thornton also brings some great scoring as well.  in a couple of years, if they grow properly, i can see them becoming a good playoff team.  their bench is pretty decent too, with jimmy federette, fransisco garcia, aaron brooks, chuck hayes, and john salmons.  that’s a pretty good core right there.  it’s all on smart to guide this team to where they want to go.

starting 5: cousins, thompson, evans, thornton, thomas

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