We simply cannot wait for the new NBA season to start, and we are counting down the days until the very first tip off. If you are like us and love the NBA, then you definitely need to have a read on below, as we take a look at each and every team from the Pacific Division and analyze their chances for success in this brand new season.
Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors opened the 2021-22 season on a high note with 27 wins in their first 34 games. The Warriors struggled in the second half with a 26-22 card but finished second in the Pacific Division with a 53-29 record. Golden State advanced to the NBA Finals and defeated the Boston Celtics in six games.
Head coach Steve Kerr begins his ninth season with the Warriors. Golden State lost several reserve players in free agency but remains the favorite to win the Western Conference crown and reach the NBA Finals for a second consecutive season.
The 2022 Finals MVP Steph Curry posted 25 points, five rebounds, and six assists in his 13th NBA season. The eight-time All-Star connected on 285 three-point shots last season and is arguably the greatest shooter in the history of the NBA.
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) October 10, 2022
Curry’s backcourt mate, Klay Thompson, returned from injury after 30 months and averaged 20 points over 32 games. The five-time All-Star erupted for a season-high 41 points in the regular season finale and is one of only three players in league history to make 100 three-point shots in the NBA Finals.
The Warriors’ frontcourt trio of Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, and Kevon Looney remain intact for another title run. Wiggins tallied 17 points a game and earned his first All-Star game nod, while Green is a four-time All-Star who averaged seven points and an equal number of rebounds and assists last season. Looney played in all 82 regular season games and posted six points and seven rebounds.
A pair of recent high draft picks, James Wiseman and Jonathan Kuminga, will play key roles off the bench. Golden State will be in the hunt for back-to-back NBA titles if their starting lineup can stay healthy.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers began the 2021-22 season with four losses in their first five games and were an inconsistent squad that went 5-0 in April to finish third in the Pacific Division with a 42-40 mark. Los Angeles lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves and New Orleans Pelicans in the play-in tournament.
The Clippers have a wealth of talent and are legitimate NBA title contenders if Kawhi Leonard and Paul George can suit up for 60 games during the regular season. Tyronn Lue enters his third season as the head coach of the Clippers. Los Angeles added point guard John Wall and 7-foot-2 center Moses Brown.
Leonard missed the entire 2021-22 season after suffering an ACL injury in the 2021 playoffs. The two-time Finals MVP returned to the court on Oct. 3 in a 2022 preseason game against the Portland Trail Blazers and tallied 11 points, four rebounds, two assists, and a pair of steals.
Final from DTLA. pic.twitter.com/BBTIGsMvCN
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) October 10, 2022
George played in only 31 games last season and averaged 24 points, six boards, five assists, and two steals. The seven-time All-Star shot a lackluster 42 percent from the field and 35 percent from behind the arc before being sidelined for three months with an elbow injury.
Wall sat out the 2021-22 season in a mutual decision that allowed the rebuilding Houston Rockets to develop their young guards. The five-time All-Star has played only 113 games over the past four seasons. Wall averaged 23 points, 10 assists, and two steals in his last full season in 2016-17.
Los Angeles is the second-best team in the Western Conference, but the availability of Leonard and George will determine how far the Clippers advance in the playoffs. The Clippers’ frontcourt also includes Ivica Zubac and Nicolas Batum. Zubac posted 10 points and eight rebounds a game, while Batum averaged eight points and four boards in 59 contests.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers began the 2021-22 campaign slowly and had a 12-11 record at the end of November. Unfortunately, the Lakers would not post another winning month and ended the season with a 33-49 record. Los Angeles finished fourth in the Pacific Division and failed to qualify for the play-in tournament.
Darvin Ham begins his first season at the helm of the Lakers. Los Angeles had a busy offseason adding Damian Jones, Patrick Beverley, Dennis Schroder, Lonnie Walker IV, and Thomas Bryant. The Lakers are not NBA title contenders but should return to the playoffs after a one-year absence.
The 18-time All-Star LeBron James returns for his 20th year in the NBA after averaging 30 points, eight rebounds, and six assists in 56 games last season. The 37-year-old is one of the top players in league history and is the only player to post at least 30,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, and 10,000 assists.
Reppin’ the Purple & Gold pic.twitter.com/pkl5ryZAna
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 10, 2022
Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook will look to rebound from disappointing campaigns last season. Davis has played in only 76 games over the past two seasons and averaged 23 points and nine rebounds in 40 contests in 2021-22. Westbrook’s 18 points a game was his lowest point total in 11 years.
Kendrick Nunn missed the entire 2021-22 season with a knee injury but averaged 15 points over two seasons with the Miami Heat. Jones is back with the Lakers after posting eight points and four boards with the Sacramento Kings last season, while Beverley comes over from the Minnesota Timberwolves after tallying nine points and four assists.
Los Angeles has a much-improved roster and should reach the playoffs. Schroder, Walker, and Bryant will solidify a Lakers bench that was a liability last season. But the Lakers are not a top-tier team that can compete for the Western Conference crown.
The Phoenix Suns lost three of their first five games to start the 2021-22 season before reeling off 17 consecutive wins. The Suns rolled to 45 wins in the final 60 games to capture their second straight Pacific Division title and finish the regular season with a 64-18 record. Phoenix lost in the Conference Semifinals to the Dallas Mavericks in seven games.
The 2022 NBA Coach of the Year, Monty Williams enters his third season with the Suns. Phoenix is a talented squad that reached the NBA Finals two seasons ago. But while other top teams in the Western Conference have reloaded, the Suns have stayed on the sidelines. Phoenix will easily advance to the playoffs but lose in the second round in back-to-back seasons.
Three-time All-Star Devin Booker enjoyed another great campaign last season with 26 points, five rebounds, and four assists. The 25-year-old is the youngest player in NBA history to score over 60 points in a game after dropping 70 against the Boston Celtics in 2017.
MIKAL 😤 BRIDGES 😛 pic.twitter.com/T7kmbMX6vI
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) October 11, 2022
Chris Paul returns for his 18th season after posting 14 points and 10 assists in 65 games in 2021-22. The 12-time All-Star point guard connected on 49 percent of his shots from the field but made just 31.7 percent from behind the arc.
Disgruntled center Deandre Ayton is back in Phoenix after the Suns matched the Indiana Pacers‘ four-year, $133 million offer sheet. The 6-foot-11 big man posted 17 points and 10 boards last season and averaged a double-double in his four NBA campaigns.
Phoenix remains one of the Western Conference elite teams but does not have the depth to challenge for an NBA title. The Suns’ frontcourt also includes Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson. Bridges tallied a career-high 14 points, while Johnson averaged 12 points last season.
The 2021-22 Sacramento Kings suffered 22 losses in their first 37 games and did not fare much better in the second half of the season. The Kings won only 15 of their final 45 games to finish fifth in the Pacific Division with a 30-52 mark. Sacramento failed to make the playoffs for a record-setting 16th consecutive season.
Former NBA Coach of the Year Mike Brown begins his first season at the helm of the Kings. Sacramento drafted Iowa All-American Keegan Murray and added guards Malik Monk and Kevin Huerter. The Kings will be an improved team this season but will miss the playoffs again.
Point guard De’Aaron Fox posted 23 points and five assists last season, but tallied 28 points and six dimes over the last two months. The 24-year-old Texan scored 40-plus points twice in March against the Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz.
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) October 10, 2022
Domantas Sabonis tallied 18 points, 12 boards, and five assists in 15 games with the Kings after being acquired at the trade deadline. The two-time All-Star has averaged nearly 19 points and 12 rebounds over the past four seasons while shooting over 50 percent from the field.
Murray will start at forward and averaged 23 points and seven rebounds to earn NBA Summer League MVP honors. The 6-foot-8 rookie shot 40 percent from three-point range in four summer league games. Harrison Barnes will join Sabonis and Murray in the frontcourt. The 30-year-old shot 46 percent from the field last season while tallying 16 points and five boards.
The Kings traded two players and a future first-round pick for Huerter. The shooting guard averaged 12 points and shot 38 percent from behind the arc last season. Sacramento will challenge for 35 wins this season but will extend the NBA’s longest playoff drought to 17 straight seasons.
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