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2018-19 NBA Predictions: Pacific Division

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Stephen Curry” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Pacific division features the defending champions in back-to-back seasons, Golden State Warriors. Golden State has won three of the last four NBA titles and are looking to be the next three-peat.

The Los Angeles Lakers made the biggest changes to their roster, but the Warriors topped them with one more addition to the Splash Brothers. The Clippers made moves to try and stay relevant in the division and hope to make the playoffs again. I’m not even getting started with the Kings and Suns. Let’s still take a look at each team in the Pacific division and see where they’ll finish in the 2018-19 season.

 

1. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

OFFSEASON & REVIEW

Record: 58-24

Postseason Result: Beat LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second consecutive season to become 2018 NBA Champions (third in last four seasons).

Offseason Acquisitions:

  • Signed DeMarcus Cousins (NOP).
  • Claimed Tyler Ulis off Waivers (PHX).
  • Resigned Kevin Durant and Kevon Looney.

Offseason Departures:

  • Lost JaVale McGee (LAL), Zaza Pachulia (DET)
  • David West (RETIRED)
  • Did Not Resign Nick Young (FA)

2018-19 PREVIEW/THE BIG QUESTION

The Golden State Warriors are seemingly unstoppable and tough to beat. It took LeBron James a game 7 in 2016 to do so. It was the biggest comeback in NBA history when James came back from a 3-1 deficit in the finals. The Warriors answered that Finals loss by adding Kevin Durant. Durant has won the Finals MVP the last two years, but that still doesn’t stop them. After seeing how things played out in free agency, the Warriors added another All-Star to their lineup, DeMarcus Cousins. Going into this season, the biggest question is: What impact will Cousins have on the Warriors in their quest for the three-peat? Cousins is still recovering from a season-ending injury as a member of the Pelicans, and he is expected to miss some time. Will he be a significant factor in the Warriors success when he returns? I mean, it’s not like any other team in the league has five All-Stars in the lineup going into the season.

Prediction: 66-16

 

2. LOS ANGELES LAKERS

OFFSEASON & REVIEW

Record: 35-47

Postseason Result: N/A

Offseason Acquisitions:

  • Signed LeBron James (CLE), Rajon Rondo (NOP), JaVale McGee (GS), Lance Stephenson (IND) and Micheal Beasley (NYK).
  • Resigned Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
  • Drafted Moritz Wagner (Michigan) and Sviati Slav (Kansas).

Offseason Departures:

  • Waived Luol Deng and Tyler Ennis.
  • Lost Channing Frye (CLE), Brook Lopez (MIL) and Isaiah Thomas (DEN).
  • Did Not Resign Julius Randle (NOP).

2018-19 PREVIEW/THE BIG QUESTION

The young, athletic Lakers are coming, and they look to take over the division. That’s not going to happen just yet. Regardless of the addition of King James, the Lakers don’t have enough to get by Warriors yet. The good part of James and the other additions like Rondo, Stephenson and Beasley is the aggressiveness they bring. As a Lakers fan, I hope the younger guys can learn to play better. The question here is, how will Lonzo Ball improve his game with LeBron James and Rajon Rondo on his team? Ball has been talked about as if he’s one of the best point guards ever. He had an injury-prone rookie season, but still averaged 10.2 PPG, 6.9 RPG and 7.2 APG while shooting 35 percent. With James and Rondo, we could expect his averages to increase greatly, as long as he takes smart shots and helps lead the Lakers in their first playoff appearance since 2013.

Prediction: 50-32

 

3. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS

OFFSEASON & REVIEW

Record: 42-40

Postseason Result: N/A

Offseason Acquisitions:

  • Signed Mike Scott (WAS).
  • Traded for Marcin Gortat (WAS), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (CHA).
  • Resigned Avery Bradley and Montrezl Harrell.
  • Drafted Jerome Robinson (Boston College).

Offseason Departures:

  • Lost DeAndre Jordan (DAL) and Sam Dekker (CLE).
  • Traded away Austin Rivers (WAS).

2018-19 PREVIEW/THE BIG QUESTION

The Clippers have officially moved on from the era we all called “Lob City.” It was evident this move would happen soon enough. Chris Paul left the Rockets last off-season, and Blake Griffin was traded to the Pistons midseason. Austin Rivers was traded this offseason for Marcin Gortat, while DeAndre Jordan signed with Dallas. It’s totally a new Clippers team under head coach Doc Rivers, but they should still be competitive and may be in the hunt for a lower seed in the playoffs. The question here is, who will step into the leadership role and lead the Clippers? This could be the year we finally see Avery Bradley and Tobias Harris turn into All-Star caliber players. Pairing them up with Lou Williams and Danilo Gallinari could cause for tough nights for their opponents, so let’s see where they go this season.

Prediction: 46-36

 

4. PHOENIX SUNS

OFFSEASON & REVIEW

Record: 21-61

Postseason Result: N/A

Offseason Acquisitions:

  • Hired new coach Igor Kokoskov.
  • Signed Trevor Ariza (HOU), Richaun Holmes (PHI).
  • Traded for Darrell Arthur (BKN), Ryan Anderson (HOU).
  • Drafted: Deandre Ayton (Arizona), Mikal Bridges (Villanova), Elie Okobo (France).

Offseason Departures:

  • Fired coaches Earl Watson and Jay Triano.
  • Fired general manager Ryan McDonough (last week).
  • Traded Marquese Chriss (Hou), Jared Dudley (BKN).
  • Lost Alex Len (ATL), Tyler Ulis (GS), Elfrid Payton (NOP).

2018-19 PREVIEW/THE BIG QUESTION

On paper, the Suns look like a better team. They got the No. 1 overall pick, DeAndre Ayton, to pair with their explosive SG Devin Booker. They also drafted Elie Okobo from France in hopes he can solve their problems at PG. It’s going to be an interesting season with a lot of questions that need to be answered. First question: how well can new head coach Igor Kokoskov bring this team together? There’s a lot of young talent that needs to be developed, and Kokoskov has a resume for that. Question two: can Devin Booker stay healthy? We have seen what he could do when he is healthy, and now it’s time to see what he could do with the No. 1 pick, Ayton. Can the Suns and Booker actually be in the middle of the pack in the West? Maybe not this year, but it’s coming!

Prediction: 25-57

 

5. SACRAMENTO KINGS

 OFFSEASON & REVIEW

Record: 27-55

Postseason Result: N/A

Offseason Acquisitions:

  • Drafted Marvin Bagley II (Duke), Cameron Reynolds (Tulane), and Wenyen Gabriel (Kentucky).
  • Signed Nemanja Bjelica (MIN) and Yogi Farrell (DAL).
  • Traded for Ben McLemore (MEM).

Offseason Departures:

  • Lost Bruno Caboclo (HOU) and Vince Carter (ATL).
  • Traded away Garrett Temple (MEM).

2018-19 PREVIEW/THE BIG QUESTION 

The Kings look to improve from last year, and they hope rookie Marvin Bagley can be the answer for them after trading away DeMarcus Cousins. The Kings have been trying to make the playoffs again since the 2005-2006 season, and they have been in rebuild mode ever since. Last year was the biggest year for the rebuild, as they drafted De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic, who were big pieces. They also got Buddy Hield from the Cousins trade and Willie Cauley-Stein. But the addition of Bagley could help the Kings get to the place they need to be. The biggest question is, how does Bagley help the rebuild of the Kings? Although Zach Randolph is still on the team, Bagley will get a lot of playing time. If he could develop into one of the best forwards of the future, imagine him and Fox playing alongside. Now that’s something to look forward to.

Prediction: 23-59

 

PREDICTED DIVISION STANDINGS:

  1. Golden State Warriors (66-16)
  2. Los Angeles Lakers (50-32)
  3. Los Angeles Clippers (46-36)
  4. Phoenix Suns (25-57)
  5. Sacramento Kings (23-59)

 

Let us know what you think of these predictions and even give us your own! Also, don’t forget to return daily to found out more predictions!

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