Today we present the final round of the NBA Blogger Previews: the mighty Pacific Division. These excellent prognostications from the finest blogging minds out West come late but are assuredly worth the wait.
The division runs through La La Land, where Kobe Bryant’s Lakers look stronger than ever. The addition of a healthy Andrew Bynum and Trevor Ariza along with the emergence of backup point Jordan Farmar make this the best 10-man rotation in the NBA, hands down. Any aspiring Finals contender out West will have to go through The Lake Show. Meanwhile, the Clippers of Los Angeles are just trying to establish an identity with new faces Marcus Camby and Baron Davis, who should help take beast-in-training Al Thornton to the “next level.”
Baron’s former team, the Warriors, hope to make some noise with former Clipper Corey Maggette, who will thrive in Don Nelson’s offense. Down low Andris Biedrins continues to make a case for himself as most underrated big man in the league and he’ll be backed up in The Bay by former Laker spark plug Ronny Turiaf. Golden State hopes to topple Phoneix as the second-best team in the division while the Suns run-and-gun grinds to a halt under new defensive-minded head coach Terry Porter, who should be better for Shaq. The Suns will be starting a former Warrior themselves, utility man Matt Barnes. Yeah, there’s a lot of cross-pollination out West.
Meanwhile, the lowly Kings will continue rebuilding around a talented bunch of perimeter players headlined by Kevin Martin – perhaps the most underrated player in the L. They also have a couple of intriguing options down low in last season’s first-rounder center Spencer Hawes and this year’s first-rounder power forward Jason Thompson. Look for those two to impress this season as the team prepares for life after Brad Miller. Oh, and journeyman wing John Salmons will be making an MIP case in Arco.
It’s going to be a wild ride up and down the PCH Route 1 all season. In the words of Kevin Harlan, “Buckle up.”
Golden St. Warriors
Rob Mahoney: Upside and Motor
ClipperSteve: Clips Nation
Phoenix Stan: Bright Side of the Sun
Tom Ziller: Sactown Royalty