What can I say about the Pacific division in the NBA? Well for one; one team emerged as the overall champion and other than that it looks pretty much competitive for the four remaining teams. This division comes with irony having the number one team The Lakers and having the worst team of the season the Sacramento Kings. Good news is everyone is getting a clean slate starting this season and the rule of the ball says “Anything can happen if the ball is round”… barely two months from now this rule will take effect.
Golden State Warriors (29-53)
New Acquisitions: Speedy Claxton, Devean George, Acie Law and Mikki Moore
Rookies: Stephen Curry 1st round (7th pick)
Anthony Randolph scored 42 points in the summer league against the Chicago Bulls setting the record for the most points scored by an individual in a game at the NBA Summer League but some games later teammate Anthony Morrow scored 47 points to top Randolph’s scoring record. The Golden State Warriors had an average age of 25 years old with only new acquisition Mikki Moore at 33 years old so basically Nelson has a crew of young athletic players although their maturity is suspect but seeing two long and athletic forwards like Randolph and Brendan Wright the Warriors future looks pretty bright. But Nelson is not a fan of players playing multiple positions and that’s what happened to Al Harrington and Jamal Crawford the NBA has surely develop players having versatility on their game with 7-footers shooting threes and 6-foot-9 point guards it is undeniably evolving and Nelson has slowly adapt to that new genre of players. Stephen Curry would be a valuable edition for the Warriors but will we ever see him play bigger minutes? It looks gloomy considering they have a number of players playing on that position (Monta Ellis, Speedy Claxton and Acie Law).
LA Lakers (65-17)
New Acquisitions: Ron Artest
Rookies: Chinemelu Elono 2nd round (29th pick)
The defending champions excelled well on their defense especially during the Finals it was their mentality all season long after losing to Boston. Now the Lakers signed Ron Artest the defensive demon who could guard multiple positions and signing back Lamar Odom it looks like the Lakers are into another championship season and a more defensive mindset. Kobe will have some luxury on concentrating on his offense and Artest as the designated stopper but like any other seemingly perfect setup, problems will eventually crept out. Artest who loves to hog the ball and shoots erratic jumpers will have to learn to adapt to a system where his offense is limited. He has so much intensity and tenacity on the court that sometimes led to off court demeanors like the brawl in Detroit. But that doesn’t present any threat to coach Phil Jackson he has been with a lot of players with Artest’s caliber Dennis Rodman in particular and I’m sure he already figured it out. They are the team to beat of course they have that championship tags on their heads.
LA Clippers (19-63)
New Acquisitions: Craig Smith, Rasual Butler and Sebastian Telfair
Rookies: Blake Griffin 1st round (1st pick)
Yes the Clippers are into an intriguing season with strings of first round 1st overall pick jitters in Danny Manning (1988) and Michael Olowokandi (1998) and now all eyes will be on their first overall pick power forward Blake Griffin and so far Griffin has leveled expectations grabbing MVP on the NBA summer league. The Clippers are sticking to their current roster with limited changes being made. The team that got only 19 wins out of the 82 games being played I like the Rasual Butler’s addition to the team since aside from Eric Gordon he is one of the pure shooter on the team. Maybe the Clippers management feel the team doesn’t have to spend that much and will rely mostly on Baron Davis and co but I guess from any person’s standpoint this team needs a lot of improvement and maybe they start with their management.
Phoenix Suns (46-36)
New Acquisitions: Sasha Pavlovic and Channing Frye
Rookies: Earl Clark 1st round (14th pick) and Taylor Griffin 2nd round (18th pick)
Getting rid of Shaq gives them a bigger salary cap and most of all Steve Nash can run Phoenix Suns offense with regularity not only that they also got Pavlovic in return and allowed them to sign up talented big man Channing Frye. The Suns are also in the run to sign back Amare Stoudamire in 2010 one good decision leads to bigger and brighter results. Looking at the Suns roster it looks like they are built to run having tall and versatile forwards and centers it’s a rebirth of the run and gun offense and a much more exciting season for the Suns.
Sacramento Kings (17-65)
New Acquisitions: Sergio Rodriguez and Sean May
Rookies: Tyreke Evans 1st round (4th pick), Omri Casspi 1st round (23rd pick) and John Brockman 2nd round (8th pick)
The worst team in the NBA last season but also the team that has the bigger salary cap going to summer 2010 the Sacramento Kings are clearly in the rebuilding side they only have Kevin Martin as their superstar player. Sacramento fans will have to wait another year for this team to be a contender in the West but it doesn’t necessarily follow if you are the worst team last season you will continue to slack off again this season. This team has full of potential and I think they can get more than 17 wins this coming season. Summer 2010 will be one of the Kings busiest transactions their goal is to get one of the marquee players available. 2010-11 season now we’re talking Sacramento Kings basketball.