NBA 2021 Pacific Division Preview
The NBA is back for its 75th season, and the Pacific Division is looking like one of, if not the best division in basketball.
Klay Thompson returning to the Warriors, the new-look Lakers and the champions of the West Phoenix Suns all look to lead the division this upcoming season.
Let’s predict how the stacked Pacific Division will pan out.
Golden State Warriors
The Splash Brothers will finally be back at some point this season. The Warriors also have a solid bench rotation.
While some are high on the Warriors to be a force this season, let’s not be so fast. No one truly knows how Klay Thompson will be coming off his injuries and compared to the rest of the league, they have the star power for a Finals run.
However, Steph Curry is one of the most prolific scorers ever and the greatest shooter of all-time will not go down without a fight. The development of James Wiseman will also be key this season for the Warriors.
The Warriors will be a good team, not a great team.
Division Standing Prediction: 3rd
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers finally made the Conference Finals in the 2020-2021 season, the first time in franchise history.
Coming into the 2021 season, the Clippers won’t have Kawhi Leonard for a substantial amount of time that will affect this team heavily. Paul George held his own as much as he could last season after Leonard went down, and he will have to do that for the entire season if the Clippers want to compete.
The re-signing of Reggie Jackson was huge for this team after his incredible play in last season's postseason which earned him the nickname “Mr. June.” Losing Patrick Beverley and his defensive edge may also affect the team negatively, but they did add Eric Bledsoe who is overall better than Beverley.
The Clippers are a great team with Leonard, but his injury has their title hopes weighing in the balance.
Division Standing Prediction: 4th
The current Western Conference champions have kept the band together for another season.
The Suns had the second best record in the entire NBA last season. They addressed a big issue at the backup center position by grabbing Javale McGee off the market in the offseason. Not to mention, young talent like Mikal Bridges, Deandre Ayton, and Cam Johnson all will have another year of experience under their belt to help their development as players.
The Suns also have one of if not the best backcourt in the league with Devin Booker and Chris Paul. The key to this team is their great depth that will prove to be vital this season.
Division Standing Prediction: 1st
Los Angeles Lakers
A complete overhaul took place in Los Angeles this season. Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, and DeAndre Jordan to name a few will all be toting the purple and gold this upcoming season.
Last season, the downfall of the Lakers was their poor 3-point shooting, which one can still question whether or not it was addressed enough. It will also be interesting to watch how Westbrook and LeBron James’ playstyle’s mesh throughout the season.
There is still a ton of talent on this team, it's just a matter of how it’ll work and if they can stay healthy. One thing you can never do is count out James, especially in the playoffs, as he seems to always find a way.
Division Standing Prediction: 2nd
The Kings have a solid roster overall coming into this season.
De'Aaron Fox is one of the most underrated players in the league and should continue to grow as a player this season. Not to mention, Tyrese Haliburton looks to be a steal in the draft last year for the Kings.
It’s concerning how underwhelming Marvin Bagley III has been since being drafted second overall and this will be a prove it year for him entering the last year of his rookie contract.
Still, the Kings don’t have enough to contend and will probably miss the playoffs for the 16th straight year.
Division Standing Prediction: 5th
Patrick Lepre is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.