The Baseline With Laz Jackson: NBA Preview Edition (Western Conference – Pacific Division)

7 Nov

lazI fully expect a team from California to win this division. *Looks down* Oh, four out of five teams in the division are from Cali? Guess I have to be more specific: The team with the reigning MVP.

Read the preview for the Western Conference’s Pacific Division after the jump!

Golden State Warriors

Motto: “We’re the second-best team in California! We play Nellie-Ball! We Matter!”
Major Acquisition: SG Corey Maggette (above)
Major Loss: PG Baron Davis, SG Monta Ellis (for the first 30 games of the season)
Ceiling:49-33, 8th seed in the Western Conference, first-round exit.
Floor: 42-40, out of playoffs.
Suspending your best player for the first third of the season is…unorthodox. I mean, I understand you don’t want your players lying to you, but… he’s your best guy. You have to give him a 10-gamer, hope you don’t stumble out of the gate, and deal. Aside from that, this is the perfect Nellie-Ball team. No rebounding to speak of, shooters everywhere you look, and the possibility of a Steven Jackson-Corey Maggette fight, which I would pay good money to watch.

Los Angeles Clippers

Motto:”We had a big offseason… do we matter yet?”
Major Acquisition: PG Baron Davis (above), C Marcus Camby
Major Loss: PF Elton Brand
Ceiling: 40-42, out of playoffs.
Floor: 35-47, out of playoffs.
The answer is no, you guys DON’T matter yet. Sorry. Several things about this team intrigue me: rookie Eric Gordon, the Marcus Camby/Baron Davis signings, Al Thorton’s development, which Tim Thomas will show up this year. But it’s the Clippers. I just can’t bring myself to put them in the playoffs. Plus, they have Ricky Davis… that’s good for at least three spats with Dunleavy right there.

Los Angeles Lakers

Major Acquisition: None
Major Loss: None
Ceiling: 59-23, 1st in the Western Conference, NBA Champs
Floor: 55-27, 4th in the Western Conference, Loss in the Western Conference Finals.
All signs point to this being the class of the West. They have the single best player in the league (Kobe), it’s clearly HIS team (important for the man’s psyche) and they didn’t lose anything from last year’s team. Not much else to say.

Phoenix Suns

Motto:”We’re slowing down… just like our Point Guard!”
Major Acquisition: None
Major Loss: None
Ceiling: 55-27, 5th in the Western Conference, second-round exit.
Floor: 50-32, 7th seed in the Western Conference, first-round exit.
The window on this team being championship-worthy is shut. Gone; kaput; see you later, babe. They have the talent to be competitive, but they’re too old (just like everything else from Arizona. Yes, Senator, I am staring DIRECTLY at you). Their best bet is to put it in neutral for two or so years, draft smart, put more pieces around Amare and Barbosa (who I would feel a lot better about if he didn’t disappear at times), and try to emulate the Jazz. What they’re going to do is push HARD this year (especially the Diesel) but they won’t make it. If this team had kept Joe Johnson happy… damn.

Sacramento Kings

Motto:”You have absolutely no reason to watch us play. None.”
Major Acquisition: PG/SG Bobby Jackson
Major Loss: SF Ron Artest
Ceiling: 35-47, out of playoffs.
Floor: 30-52, out of playoffs.
Um.. yeah, the motto says it all. With the Definitely Insane Ron Artest gone, this team has nobody you should care about. Their best player is a 7 foot tall white dude who is known for his passing (Brad Miller). You can’t sucker me into watching this, no way.

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