Day 5 of the offseason grades and we arrive in the sunny Pacific Division. In this division we see an already scary team become terrifying, a perennial playoff disappointment, and three teams that are building from the bottom. SPOILER ALERT, the Golden State Warriors are going to tear this division (and the rest of the league) apart.
Golden State Warriors
Key Additions: Kevin Durant, Zaza Pachulia, David West, Patrick McCaw (Rookie)
Key Losses: Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli, Leandro Barbosa, Marreese Speights
You’d think by looking at those losses that the Warriors wouldn’t be as great as they were last season, no chance they could come close to their record-breaking 73 wins without as much depth. But then it happened. The best free agent, not named LeBron James, joined the best regular season team of all time. Subbing Harrison Barnes out of the “Death Lineup” for Kevin Durant makes this the “Massacre Lineup”. The 3-point threat that this team boasts creates defensive nightmares for the other 29 teams in the league. Doubling off any of the other four players will almost always lead to easy baskets for this squad; their ball movement is too pristine. Good luck everyone.
Key Additions: Marreese Speights, Jamal Crawford (re-signed), Brice Johnson (Rookie)
Key Losses: Jeff Green, Cole Aldrich
Another year, another boring offseason for Doc Rivers and the Clippers. Re-signing Crawford doesn’t change much, Speights is a nice addition to the bench, but once again they did not find the 3-and-D wing they so desperately need. Jeff Green didn’t work out, and instead of trying to find a young solution in the draft, Doc selected Brice Johnson out of UNC. The college senior never showed much, and he doesn’t provide a ton of upside. So, expect a top-5 finish out West, and another disappointing playoff run.
Key Additions: Brandon Ingram (Rookie), Luol Deng, Timofey Mozgov, Jose Calderon, Luke Walton (Coach)
Key Losses: Kobe Bryant, Roy Hibbert, Metta World Peace
With Kobe Bryant and his horrible contract finally off the books, it’s time for the Lakers to fully accept the rebuild. Selecting Brandon Ingram was an easy decision once they were given the 2nd overall selection in the draft, and getting Luke Walton on as coach after his success in Golden State was a great move. However, then they overpaid Timofey Mozgov and brought in Luol Deng; a starting-caliber veteran who plays the same position as potential franchise player Ingram. Oh, and they got Jose Calderon who hasn’t been relevant in this league for years. I guess they are still the same Lakers we’ve known for awhile.
Key Additions: Jared Dudley, Dragan Bender (Rookie), Marquese Chriss (Rookie), Leandro Barbosa, Tyler Ulis (Rookie)
Key Losses: Mirza Teletovic, Jon Leuer
I still can’t believe how quickly this situation turned sour. Only three short seasons ago, this Suns team, that was expected to be the worst in the league, almost reached the postseason. Three years later, after some point guard difficulties and a falling out with twin brothers, the Suns are rebuilding once again. They got three very interesting prospects in the draft, even though two of which play the same position, Bender and Chriss should be solid contributors in the years to come. Ulis is worth the risk, he may be small but he has incredible ball-handling and playmaking abilities. Jared Dudley is well respected throughout the league and was strongly pursued by many teams before returning to his old stomping ground in Phoenix. Barbosa’s return will also bring back fond memories for Suns fans.
Key Additions: Arron Afflalo, Matt Barnes, Anthony Tolliver, Georgios Papagiannis (Rookie), Malachi Richardson (Rookie), Skal Labissiere (Rookie), Dave Joerger (Coach)
Key Losses: Rajon Rondo, Seth Curry, Marco Belinelli, Caron Butler
The Kings got a new coach, who would’ve thought? Maybe Joerger will be the one to finally end the coaching turnstile, but with Vivek Ranidive and Vlade Divac running the show, who really knows. Three draft picks, two of which are centers, and their best player is also a center. Take notes other organizations, Sacramento clearly knows what they’re doing. Afflalo doesn’t move the needle, Barnes adds another temperamental player to a bad situation, and they lost Seth Curry, one of the only promising young pieces they had. Just give up already and trade Cousins, stop wasting his career.