Basketball picksOctober 27, 2009

NBA Picks Previews 2009: Pacific Division

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

1. Los Angeles Lakers
2. Los Angeles Clippers
3. Phoenix
4. Golden State
5. Sacramento

LOS ANGELES LAKERS
COACH: PHIL JACKSON
LAST YEAR: 65-17
BEST ADDITION: F RON ARTEST
BIGGEST LOSS: F TREVOR ARIZA
 

OUTLOOK
The Lakers won it all, and what do they do? They go out and add Ron Artest to the mix. Artest is a top defensive player and can score as well. If the Lakers aren’t fat cats after winning last year, they certainly will be every bit as good as a year ago, if not better. If the hunger is still there, this team stands a good chance to win again.
 

LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
COACH: MIKE DUNLEAVY SR.
LAST YEAR: 19-63
BEST ADDITION: F BLAKE GRIFFIN
BIGGEST LOSS: F ZACH RANDOLPH
 

OUTLOOK:
This team has a lot of holes, and Zach Randolph is gone as he was a very good player, but considered a cancer. He will be replaced by Blake Griffin who could put up similar numbers, but a much different work ethic and attitude, which is a gain. This team has a long way to go, and Griffin is a nice player and may help down the road, but there just isn’t enough talent here to be much better than a year ago.
 

PHOENIX
COACH: ALVIN GENTRY
LAST YEAR: 46-36
BEST ADDITION: C/F CHANNING FRYE
BIGGEST LOSS: SHAQUILLE ONEAL
 

OUTLOOK
The Suns brought in Shaq to try to push them over the top, but their style is just not suited for what Shaq brings to the court. They will go with Channing Frye in the middle and he has a world of potential, but just never seems to bring it, and maybe the running style here triggers something. Shaq’s departure should help Amare Stoudamire as he will own the paint again. The Suns look like a team that if they somehow get Frye to step up, could produce a 50-win season.

GOLDEN STATE
COACH: DON NELSON
LAST YEAR: 29-53
BEST ADDITION: G STEPON CURRY
BIGGEST LOSS: G JAMAL CRAWFORD
 

OUTLOOK
Don Nelson loves the run-and-gun, up-tempo game. Although that makes for entertaining basketball, it isn’t producing wins, and nothing was added here to make me feel that this team will be any better. Stepon Curry fits in nicely to an offensive style as he can really shoot, but so could Jamal Crawford, so they’re just replacing one scorer for another. If they stay healthier they might add a few wins, but I don’t see them making the playoffs with this group.
 

SACRAMENTO
COACH: PAUL WESTPHAL
LAST YEAR: 17-65
BEST ADDITION: G TYREKE EVANS
BIGGEST LOSS: NONE
 

OUTLOOK
The Kings have all the parts back from a poor team, so they should at least improve from that alone. Tyreke Evans will run the offense and he could be a good one, although not a natural PG, he is big and will be able to get in the lane and cause problems, something missing from the Kings a year ago. Overall, maybe more is expected, but there is still not enough talent here to threaten for a playoff berth. Top upside is 25-30 wins.