Chris Paul should lead the Clippers to the division title this year. However, the Clippers have been there and done that, and are at a point where it is championship or bust. The Donald Sterling situation afforded them an excuse for underachieving last year, but there are no excuses now.
Blake Griffin has continued to improve his game, and this year should be his best statistically. DeAndre Jordan is a free agent next year and will be looking to get paid. Those two goons down low give the Clippers one of the more beastly frontcourt tandems in the NBA.
What the Clippers need to improve this year is their jump shooting. Outside of Jamaal Crawford, Chris Paul and J.J. Reddick, no one else looked like they were comfortable shooting from the perimeter. If they can fix that kink they should contend for the Western Conference championship.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson both shot over 40% from the three point line last season, and are absolute assassins. Together they are arguably the best shooting backcourt in the NBA. However, Curry needs to stay healthy, and Thompson can’t disappear in games like he did at some points last season.
Andrew Bogut, and David Lee provide a decent frontcourt that is adept at rebounding the ball. Andre Iguodala, and Draymond Green are great perimeter defenders, and should provide the high energy needed to shut down opposing scorers.
The number one question for this talented Warrior team is how will they respond to first year head coach Steve Kerr? Will they go all out for him like they did for former coach Mark Jackson, or become disinterested, and play unorganized basketball.
Basketball fans just hope that Kobe can stay on the floor and provide us with some beautiful moments before his career is over. There is not much to expect from this Laker team who are devoid of talent compared to past seasons.
Carlos Boozer was added in the off-season but he has trouble being a consistent low post presence. Nick Young is a talented young player, but on occasion seems more focused on what’s going on after the game, than in it.
Lin-sanity has been added, but can he be that player who took the league by storm a few seasons ago. In order for the Lakers to have a chance for success. Lin will have to shoot well, and dish the ball effectively.
Byron Scott has had great success as a coach in the past, and his relationship with Kobe is solid. Hopefully together they can make the most of this bunch of Lakers.
The Suns won a surprising 48 games last year and almost squeaked into the playoffs. Their lack of defense was the reason why they didn’t advance to the dance.
You would think the Suns would have made it a priority to address their defensive need this offseason. However, no defensive minded players were added. Therefore, it looks like they will again be a team that’s fun to watch, but does not play defense.
Moreover, they are undersized in the frontcourt and will be abused on the interior the entire season. Unless they fix that situation this season will be less fruitful.
Yes the Kings still exist, and no they have not been moved yet. However, that may be the only good news for Kings fans this year.
The one bright spot is DeMarcus Cousins who had a phenomenal year last season. He averaged more than 20 PPG and 10 RPG, and gave the Kings a low post threat on a nightly basis.
Nevertheless, they don’t have enough talent to compete in this division. The only other player who can dominate a game is Rudy Gay. However, Gay has never been known for being a consistent player, or the best teammate.
2014 NBA Pacific Division Prediction
1- Los Angeles Clippers- 56-26
2- Golden State Warriors- 49-33
3- Phoenix Suns- 42-40
4- Los Angeles Lakers- 35-47
5- Sacramento Kings- 25-57