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NBA Divisional preview 2012-2013: Pacific

by Photo of Steve Scafidi

With the NBA season right around the corner, CHARGED will be breaking down each division to get you ready for the NBA season.

NBA Divisional preview 2012-2013: Pacific

Perhaps one of the most exciting divisions in the NBA this year. The pacific division is going to be a tough, high scoring division full of teams that love to score. We look at Los Angeles this year finally having both its basketball franchises competitive at the same time. Lob city is extremely star studded this year. Up north there are a few young athletic teams ready to show the NBA what they're made of this year. Out in the valley of the sun, rebuild is whats on their mind. All 5 teams will be tough although the pacific division title will probably only be a race within Los Angeles between the Clippers and the Lakers.

Check out this divisional breakdown out in the wild west!

Phoenix Suns: (33-33)

Head Coach: Alvin Gentry

Key Losses: Steve Nash, Grant Hill, Michael Redd, Robin Lopez, Hakim Warrick, Josh Childress.

Key Additions: Goran Dragic, Michael Beasley, Luis Scola, Wesley Johnson, Kendall Marshall, Jermaine O'Neal. 

For the first time in 8 years, the Suns are without their two-time MVP Steve Nash who left the organization this summer and headed out to Hollywood to pair up with Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant . The 38 year old point guard almost single-handedly led Phoenix into the 8th seed of last years playoffs but fell a few wins short. Now without the point guard running the show, the city of Phoenix gets a taste of rebuilding for the first time in years after multiple +.500 years and being a stalwart at the top of the Western Conference. So of course the organizations first step back to the limelight was to find a replacement point guard. The team brought back Goran Dragic who backed up Nash for a few years so its only fitting that they brought him in with his similar play style. They also went out and drafted point guard Kendall Marshall out of North Carolina. Although the Suns lost 5 rotational players, the team made strives to get younger. Marshall has potential to be a franchise point guard, along with their draft pick last year Markeiff Morris who is coming off a strong rookie campaign. This teams new core of players has yet to hit their primes and will be exciting to watch as they grow together. Chemistry is going to be the x-factor for this team this year as it usually is for all young teams. Its hard to be consistent in this league without the presence of tested veterans to lead your team into battle night in and night out. This team's goal for this year should be to remain competitive for a playoff position and give their younger players post season experience. But once again, it is all going to come down to the teams chemistry and ability to close out games. That being said, this team will still be a fun, young team to watch on TV and route for.

Projection: 5th.

Sacramento Kings: (22-44)

Head Coach: Keith Smart

Key Losses: Terrence Williams, Hassan Whiteside.

Key Additions: Thomas Robinson, Aaron Brooks, James Johnson.

Relocation of the franchise and a new arena deal will probably make more headlines than the actual Kings team will make. But don't let that get you thinking the Kings will be bottom feeders again. This steam is quite stacked up on young players and some potential franchise cornerstones in Demarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans. Evans is seeking to get out of Sacramento after this year and its most likely going to happen as he's told multiple sources he wants to be in a bigger market. But this team has the pieces right now to make some noise in the west. Although they are young and lack leadership, Sacramento attacked their two major weaknesses the last two offseasons defense and shooting, by drafting Jimmer Fredette last year and Thomas Robinson this year. Robinson is a great low post defender and will probably start the season coming off the bench to back up Cousins. He will be a great roll man to run pick and rolls with the Kings breakout point guard last year Isaiah Thomas who silently took the league by storm last year coming out of nowhere and will probably end up battling with Aaron Brooks for the starting point guard job. If all of their players can get on the same page and actually hit some shots this year, their team goal of making the playoffs could become a reality. 

Projection: 4th. 

Golden State Warriors: (23-43)

Head Coach: Mark "Action" Jackson

Key Losses: Dorrell Wright, Nate Robinson.

Key Additions: Andrew Bogut, Jarrett Jack, Harrison Barnes.

The warriors have been compiling piece on top of piece for about the past 3 years in hopes to somewhat get the ball rolling. This year, that ball is going to roll until it can't roll anymore. Maybe one of the most impressive shooting back courts in the league, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and newly added rookie Harrison Barnes make up one of the most deadeye back courts in the NBA today. All under the wing of former point guard coach Mark Jackson who loves his young guys. Another big addition if healthy, Andrew Bogut can make a big impact on this team with his rebounding and defensive skill set to compliment Mr. double double David Lee to round out their front court. Defense is going to be this teams biggest struggle this year. With all the teams energy going to be used up probably on the offensive end where they are most affective. This is the most talented team Golden State has had since the "We Believe" Warriors back in '08 when they knocked off the Mavericks in the first round. Don't be too quick to knock Mark Jackson either. He has the support of this young team and that goes a long way in this day and age. I expect the warriors to push for a return to the post season as the west isn't really to competitive towards the back end of the conference. This team is going to look to shoot opponents out of the building on a nightly basis which is a high risk, high reward type of gameplay. 

Projection: 3rd.

Los Angeles Clippers: (40-26)

Head Coach: Vinny Del Negro

Key Losses: Mo Williams, Reggie Evans, Kenyon Martin, Randy Foye, Nick Young.

Key Additions: Jamal Crawford, Lamar Odom, Grant Hill, Ronny Turiaf, Matt Barnes.

Lob City. Chris Paul entered last season originally a laker before the NBA rescinded that. (Imagine a team of Kobe, Paul, and Dwight right now?) The point guard still found his way into the Los Angeles area to pair up with the super-sensation, Kia endorsing Blake Griffin. We are going to see a more complete Griffin this year with a more all around game built off what he showed us last year. Yes he can do other things besides posterize anyone who is foolish enough to get in his way. The Clippers did a great job revitalizing the organization and there really is no longer a number one team in Los Angeles. It is going to be a great rivalry to watch this season. The team lost a lot this offseason but made up for it with some pretty nice pickups. Lamar Odom is one of them who can't seem to ever cut his ties with he Los Angeles area as he is back. Jamal Crawford, which I think is their biggest pickup, is going to give them some great firepower off the bench. Then the rest of their bench has been filled with a couple veterans and young players that Chris Paul will make look ten times better than they will anywhere else. This team is going to win games this year. Probably going to end up a top 4 seed in the conference. A networkers dream of a Los Angeles conference finals could be in the cards this year. Chris Paul has yet to make a finals appearance in his NBA career. Its only a matter of time until he does as he is undoubtedly a top 3 point guard in the NBA today. Lob city will be a force to reckon with for the coming years. Their ceiling has yet to be reached.... Beware.

Projection: 2nd.

Los Angeles Lakers: (41-25)

Head Coach: Mike Brown

Key Losses: Andrew Bynum, Matt Barnes, Ramon Sessions.

Key Additions: Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Jodie Meeks, Antawn Jamison.

Ladies and gentlemen, its showtime. The bright lights in L.A. just got a little brighter this season. The Lakers franchise has a history of elite big men. That history continues into this year when the Lakers won the Dwight Howard sweepstakes this offseason sending away talented young big man Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia. As if that wasn't enough, the Lakers shocked everyone (mostly Toronto) by signing two-time MVP Steve Nash. These pickups are sure to keep Kobe Bryant in contention for the last two years of his contract when he then tells observers he is going to retire to Italy. But we'll see about that when the time comes. For now, put the Lakers in the running for an NBA championship this year. Possibly the favorite out of the Western Conference this year over Oklahoma City. Although their bench is not completely filled out just yet, their starters will receive help from reserves Jodie Meeks and Antwan Jamison. Meeks had an impressive year last year in Philadelphia part of their run to the second round. Jamison is a tested NBA veteran who has a lot of respect around the league for his play. On paper, this team is extremely talented. Off paper, this team is extremely talented. If Dwight Howard could put the Magic on his back 4 years ago and carry them to the NBA finals, how good will a team with him be when he isn't even the first option on offense? I think both Nash and Howard are super hungry for a ring, and Kobe being just as hungry to tie his long time childhood Idol Michael Jordan with a 6th championship. The biggest problem this team will likely run into this year is probably only chemistry. But I'm sure Steve Nash will figure that one out with Dwight and Kobe within the first 20 games of the season. Besides that, I don't see any glaring weaknesses on this team. They Literally have an All-Star lineup. Maybe not from the previous year, but each starter has been an All-Star at least once which speaks volumes for what this team is capable of doing. Expect another Pacific division championship for the Lakers. but their eyes are all set on the Larry O'Brien trophy and I don't see anything out of the west stopping them if they can all stay healthy and keep a high level of play into April

Projection: 1st.

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