The NBA season is in sight.
/takes a moment so you can all rejoice, and regroup.
We have already conquered the Eastern Conference, and now it’s time for the West. Do the Spurs have another run in them? What else can we expect from the West this year? Those questions will all be answered in our ultimate NBA Preview, coming to a screen near you. For now, we will conquer the Pacific Division, and see how they did this offseason.
As usual, we go by division standings last week, and work our way down.
Lob City turned Championship City?Photo Credit: Yahoosports.com/AP
Key Additions: J.J. Redick, Jared Dudley, Darren Collison, Antawn Jamison, Byron Mullens, Doc Rivers
Key Losses: Eric Bledsoe, Caron Butler, Chauncey Billups, Ronny Turiaf, Grant Hill
Draft Pick: Reggie Bullock
Frank’s Analysis: The 2013-2014 L.A Clippers are going to be the epitome of the difference a coach can make. You cannot emphasize enough the upgrade from Vinny Del Negro to Doc Rivers, who is a proven winner in this league. The Clippers added a couple of my candidates for most underrated players in this league in both J.J Redick and Jared Dudley, along with stealing Darren Collison for the veterans minimum. Chris Paul is unquestionably the leader of this team, but Blake Griffin may be the player that determines just how far this team can go. I expect a great season in LA, and a possible Defensive Player of the Year award for DeAndre Jordan.
The Clippers are serious contenders, and their offseason of great complimentary players to go along with their stars put them there. And ya know, a competent head coach helped too.
Cody’s Analysis: The Los Angeles Clippers are officially scary. Not to say they haven’t been a great team since acquiring Chris Paul, but they were never a team you could realistically envision hoisting up the championship until now. Saying that Doc Rivers is an improvement over Vinny Del Negro is an understatement, and that alone is reason enough to believe in this Clippers team.
The Clippers also fortified their bench, signing great role players such as JJ Redick, Jared Dudley, Darren Collison, and Antawn Jamison. The Clippers have always had the star power necessary to win a championship, but they finally have the leadership of a great head coach and the talent off the bench to become a true favorite for the NBA title.
Overall Grade: 9
Golden State Warriors
Enemies turned friends.Photo Credit: WarriorsWorld.com
Key Additions: Andre Iguodala, Toney Douglas, Marreese Speights, Jermaine O’Neal’s Corpse
Key Losses: Carl Landry, Jarrett Jack, Brandon Rush, Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins
Frank’s Analysis: The signing of Andre Iguodala has been in competition for the best offseason signing throughout the media, and for good reason. Iggy is a great player that can be a key member to a championship team, but was just asked to do too much in both Philly and Denver. The fit in Golden State is perfect for Iggy.
However, the Warriors took some big losses to their roster by losing key reserves Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry, who were two key players to the Warriors improbable playoff run. Those losses will be difficult to replace, even with the addition of Iguodala. I love the Warriors squad, and the effort they put forth for coach Mark Jackson, but I am just afraid the run last year may have been the best we will ever see this team, especially if Andrew Bogut can’t stay healthy.
Cody’s Analysis: Andre Iguodala is one of my favorite players in the NBA. I believe he is the missing piece to a Warriors team that was knocking on the door of contender status last season, and he should bring them to the next level. Losing Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry does hurt, but adding an All-Star such as Iggy and solid role players like Toney Douglas, Marreese Speights, and Jermaine O Neal’s corpse does help. They may be another year from true contender status, but the Warriors are not a team to be taken lightly.
Overall Grade: 6.5
Wait, no Dwight OR Kobe?!?! What is this, Memphis?Photo Credit: USAToday.com
Key Additions: Nick Young, Chris Kaman, Wesley Johnson, Jordan Farmar
Key Losses: Dwight Howard, Metta World Peace, Earl Clark, Antawn Jamison,
Draft: Ryan Kelly
Frank’s Analysis: So, Nick Young playing the Kobe Bryant role is going to be one of the greatest things to watch in the history of basketball. It’s going to be amazing. Obviously, you have to wonder how the team will look with the loss of Dwight Howard, but the Lakers are still a talented team. Chris Kaman is a very intriguing addition, and should compliment Pau Gasol very well. They may not be a contender this year, but teams definitely shouldn’t take the Lakers lightly, especially after Kobe gets back.
There could be a potential cliche “addition by subtraction” with Dwight Howard, and coupled with an extremely motivated Kobe Bryant… I think the Lakers will surprise some people this year.
Ah, the OTHER team in Los Angeles. Though the Lakers front office really had no other choice unless they wanted to incite riots, choosing Kobe over Dwight Howard will hurt this team in the long run. The Lakers have no real chance at a championship this season, yet they did nothing to prepare for the future.
Wes Johnson, Nick Young, and Chris Kaman are not building block for the future, nor are they good enough to help the Lakers win a championship. There is no real direction for the Lakers except for “hope for some All-Stars to sign in 2014 or wait until Kobe retires”, and that is not a good thing for LA fans expecting a quick turn around from last seasons debacle.
Overall Grade: 4.5
THIS IS MY TEAM NOW!But really, it is…Photo Credit: Waitingfornextyear.com
Key Additions: Carl Landry, Greivis Vazquez, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Mike Malone (Coach), Not having the Maloof’s as owners
Key Losses: Tyreke Evans, Toney Douglas
Draft Picks: Ben McLemore, Ray McCallum
Frank’s Analysis: Congrats to Sacramento for keeping the Kings in town. Here’s the bad news: they are still a pretttttty bad basketball team. They have officially handed over the team to DeMarcus Cousins, and well, that’s a gamble to say the least. Ben McLemore may end up being a great player, but he also has bust potential. They added a couple of players that will bring good energy and effort in Landy and Vazquez, but its going to be another long season in Sac-town.
The future may be bright though, since the Maloof’s won’t be involved.
Cody’s Analysis: The Kings get bonus points from me for breaking Seattle fans hearts and crushing their dreams in epic fashion, but other than that there is really nothing they did worth talking about. The Maloof’s were cancerous to the organization and they were never going to win with those idiots calling the shots, so not being under their thumb is addition by subtraction. With Tyreke Evans gone it is now put up or shut up time for Demarcus Cousins, which can either end very well or very badly. McLemore is a bust in my eyes, though his shooting prowess does intrigue me. All in all, the Kings aren’t going anywhere any time soon.
Overall Grade: 4.5
The new face of the Suns.Photo Credit: msn.foxsports.com/AP
Key Additions: Eric Bledsoe, Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee, Ish Smith
Key Losses: Luis Scola, Jared Dudley, Michael Beasley, Michael Beasley’s Bong, Wes Johnson
Draft Picks: Alex Len, Archie Goodwin
Frank’s Analysis: If the Kings are going to be bad, I guess that makes the Suns putrid. They’re doing it the right way though, getting rid of any player that could give them to possibly win more games than they deserve, and replacing them with young players, and possible building blocks for the future. It will be interesting to watch Eric Bledsoe with the keys to the car, and seeing what he will do with his opportunity to play a prominent role. Gerald Green will excite some people with his vertical, and give the Suns fans something to look forward to in their 20 point losses.
Like I said, the decision to bottom out with the stacked 2014 draft coming is the way to go, but it won’t be pretty in Phoenix this year.
Cody’s Analysis: If there was ever a right way to lose, the Suns are doing it. Eric Bledsoe can be great, but he will need a year to work out the kinks of his game and elevate to true superstar status. Phoenix traded away any veterans that would not help in the long term, and stockpiled picks for the 2014 draft. Jared Dudley will be missed as his departure leaves just Channing Frye as the only Sun to still be around from the Nash/Stoudemire era.
Despite the injury concerns , I do like the Alex Len pick at five, and I believe Archie Goodwin is the steal of the draft. The Suns won’t do anything this year, but Ryan McDonough knew that and put them in great position to succeed in the near future. It may be my bias talking, but I really like what the Suns did this offseason and I think their moves will push them back into the playoff conversation as early as 2014.
Overall Grade: 5
By: Frank Santos and Cody Milford
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