The Pacific is a division that has three teams with a legitimate chance to make the playoffs. The two teams in Los Angeles alone are must-watch TV!
Here’s Take No Prisoners Sports preview of the NBA’s 2012-2013 Pacific Division:
Golden State Warriors- Head Coach Mark Jackson
- 2011-12 record: 23-43
- Key additions/Signings: Andrew Bogut, Carl Landry and Jarret Jack
- Draft picks: Draymond Green, Festus Ezeli, Harrison Barnes and Kent Bazemore
- Key losses: Dominic McGuire, Dorrell Wright, Monta Ellis and Nate Robinson
Golden State was hit with the injury bug in 2011. This season, they look to put that behind them and start from scratch. Stephen Curry is back from injury with the mindset that this is now his team, knowing that Monta Ellis is no longer there. Also returning from injury is newly acquired center Andrew Bogut. Bogut and Carl Landry can provide great presence in the paint. Klay Thompson had a solid rookie season last year and there’s no reason he won’t improve in year two. The Warriors are an explosive team offensively. They need to improve their defense if they want to be considered as a true contender in this league.
Los Angeles Clippers- Head Coach Vinny Del Negro
- 2011-12 record: 40-26 (5th seed)
- Key additions/ Signings: Blake Griffin, Grant Hill, Jamal Crawford, Lamar Odom and Ronny Turiaf
- Draft picks: FurKan Aldemir
- Key losses: Reggie Evans and Ryan Gomes
When the Clippers added All Star point guard Chris Paul to its lineup, they instantly became a threat in the division. Paul is the perfect complement to everyone on the team. Let’s face it, he makes his teammates better. This team is loaded with talent and it starts with Paul and All Star power forward Blake Griffin. Griffin is a human highlight reel all by himself. Chauncey Billups is coming back strong after he tore his Achilles tendon last season. Adding Grant Hill, Jamal Crawford, Ronny Turiaf and Lamar Odom were solid moves that will help the Clipper continue being a force in the NBA.
Los Angeles Lakers- Head Coach Mike Brown
- 2011-12 record: 41-25 (3rd seed)
- Key additions: Antwan Jamison, Chris Duhon, Dwight Howard, Jodie Meeks and Steve Nash
- Draft picks: Robert Sacre
- Key losses: Andrew Bynum, Josh McRoberts and draft picks (2013,2015, 2017)
The Los Angeles Lakers created the biggest headlines this offseason acquiring future hall of fame point guard Steve Nash and All Star center Dwight Howard. The beautiful thing is that LA only gave up draft picks and Andrew Bynum. I’m far from being a fortune-teller but I see “Executive of the Year” honors in general manager Mitch Kupchak’s immediate future. On paper, this team looks unbeatable. However, championships aren’t won on paper. The three keys for LA’s success are spreading the ball, team cohesion and health. Look for the Lakers to make a serious postseason run.
Phoenix Suns- Head Coach Alvin Gentry
- 2011-12 record: 33-33
- Key additions: Goran Dragic, Luis Scola, Michael Beasley and Wesley Johnson
- Draft picks: Kendall Marshall
- Key losses: Grant Hill and Steve Nash
The Phoenix Suns started a new chapter after parting ways with Steve Nash and Grant Hill. In comes Goran Dragic, Sebastian Telfair and Kendall Marshall to run the backcourt. Shannon Brown will continue to shine with his athleticism and spectacular dunks along with Wesley Johnson. Luis Scola and Michael Beasley will bring a certain nastiness that Phoenix needs. The Suns could do some things this season but will they be enough to reach the playoffs. Probably not!
Sacramento Kings- Head Coach Keith Smart
- 2011-12 record: 22-44
- Key additions: Aaron Brooks and Travis Outlaw
- Draft picks: Thomas Robinson
- Key losses: Terrence Williams
Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins will be counted on to lead this team which they both are capable of. As small as this team is, Evan’s scoring will be key. Aaron Brook, Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Thornton will lighten the load for Evans as well. Brooks will make much impact on offense as he keeps the defense honest. Hopefully Jimmer Fredette can bounce back from a mediocre rookie campaign.
By Keith Madyun