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Pacific Division Preview- Can Anbody Stop The Lakers?

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Continuing the preview of the Western Conference, we take a look at the Pacific Division.

 

5. Kings

Added:Samuel Dalembert, Demarcus Cousins, Antoine Wright

Lost: Spencer Hawes, Sergio Rodriguez.

The Sacramento Kings got an absolute steal in Demarcus Cousins. Cousins has the potential to be one of the best centers in this league if he keeps his head in the game. Of course, that's why he fell to the number 5 pick in the draft. The Kings will have reining rookie of the year Tyreke Evans at the helm. Pair that with Cousins and they should form one of the most fearsome PG/Center duos in the league. Once you get past that, there is still a ton of room for improvement.

4.  Warriors

Added: David Lee, Ekepe Udo, Jeremy Lin. 

Lost: Anthony Randolph, Anthony Morrow, Ronny Turiaf, Corey Maggette

Don Nelson "resigned" this summer and the Warriors hired Keith Smart. Smart,  who is already drawing comparisons to Avery Johnson by preaching a defensive first philosophy, will undertake an enigmatic team. The Warriors are fun to watch. Stephen Curry is one of the most dynamic players in this league and, as maddening as he is, Monta Ellis is good for a few jaw dropping plays every night. The Warriors made a splash this off-season by signing David Lee to a 6 year 80 million dollar contract.  But he's not even close to being the talk of the town in San Francisco. That would be local hero and Harvard graduate, Jeremy Lin. Lin was signed off the Mavericks summer league squad and has become a sensation in San Francisco. Good for Lin. But in the end, he's a 3rd string point guard and would not have helped the Mavericks in any capacity this season. 

3. Suns

Added:Hedo Turkoglu, Josh Childress, Hakim Warrick

Lost: Amare Stoudemire, Louis Almundson.

The Suns lost Amare Stoudemire to the Knicks and after coming off of an improbable run to the Western Conference finals, a repeat is very unlikely. Having said that, they made some very nice moves this off-season. They acquired Hedo Turkoglu and signed Josh Childress and his afro from Greece. Brook Lopez really came on at the end of last year and should continue to improve this season. Will these moves replace the void induced by Amare? No. But they will continue to be competitive and Nash will somehow make it work.

 

2. Clippers

Added: Blake Griffin, Al-Farouq Aminu, Eric Bledsoe

Lost: Drew Gooden

Will this finally be the year the Clippers break through? You can't argue with the talent. It's there. Davis, Kaman, Griffin,  Aminu, Gordon... They're talented. Griffin has looked like a man possessed in pre-season games and Aminu should get playing time right off the bat. They also got rid of the dark cloud hanging over them by ridding themselves of Mike Dunleavy. But alas, they are the Clippers and what could go wrong, usually does. Health is an obvious concern here. Davis, Kaman and Griffin have a history of injury problems. If they stay healthy, they can make a run at the 7th or 8th seed this season. If not, more Clipper misery.

 

1. Lakers

Added: Steve Blake, Matt Barnes, Theo Ratliff

Lost: Jordan Farmar

The Lakers watched as the Heat signed every free-agent imaginable and quietly continued to get better- a scary proposition for Western conference foes. The Lakers have their championship team in tact and upgraded their biggest need at the backup point guard position by signing Steve Blake. Not much to say here. They are the defending champions and barring some unexpected turn of events they should be the Western Conference representative once more.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.