NBA preview: Pacific Division capsules
LAST SEASON: 67-15, NBA champions.
STARTING FIVE: G Stephen Curry (23.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 7.7 apg), G Klay Thompson (21.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.9 apg), F Harrison Barnes (10.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.4 apg), F Draymond Green (11.7 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 3.7 apg), C Andrew Bogut (6.3 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.7 apg).
KEY ADDITIONS: F Jason Thompson (trade, 76ers).
KEY LOSSES: F David Lee (trade, Celtics).
COACH: Steve Kerr, second season.
EYES ON: Kerr. He missed training camp after complications from offseason back surgery and the Warriors don’t know when their coach will be back. Untested Luke Walton is running the team in Kerr’s absence but the Warriors will need Kerr healthy to be at their best.
OUTLOOK: The Warriors bring back the nine players who played the most minutes last year on the team that brought the team its first title in 40 years. With four of the five starters age 27 or younger, Golden State feels its best is still to come. Winning 67 games again might not be realistic but the Warriors should be one of the leading contenders for the championship come playoff time.
LAST SEASON: 56-26, lost to Houston 4-3 in Western Conference semifinals.
STARTING FIVE: G Chris Paul (19.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 10.2 apg), G J.J. Redick (16.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.8 apg), F Blake Griffin (21.9 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 5.3 apg), F Wesley Johnson (9.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.6 apg), C DeAndre Jordan (11.5 ppg, 15.0 rpg, 2.2 bpg).
KEY ADDITIONS: F Paul Pierce (free agent, Washington), F Josh Smith (free agent, Houston), G/F Lance Stephenson (trade, Hornets), F Luc Mbah a Moute (free agent, Philadelphia), C/F Chuck Hayes (free agent, Toronto), F Branden Dawson (draft), C Cole Aldrich (free agent, New York), Wesley Johnson (free agent, Lakers), G Pablo Prigioni (free agent, Denver).
KEY LOSSES: F Matt Barnes (trade, New Orleans), C Spencer Hawes (trade, New Orleans), Glen Davis (free agent), F Jordan Hamilton (waived), G Lester Hudson (waived), G Dahntay Jones (free agent, Brooklyn), F Hedo Turkoglu (free agent), F Ekpe Udoh (free agent, Turkey).
COACH: Doc Rivers, third season.
EYES ON: Pierce. The 10-time All-Star and former NBA Finals MVP, returns to his hometown to close out his career in a reunion with Rivers. How well the 38-year-old veteran integrates with longtime locker room leaders Griffin and Paul will be a key. Smith and Stephenson have a chance to restore their reputations.
OUTLOOK: Rivers, as president of basketball operations, brought in nine new players over the summer, while retaining Jordan and his son Austin. Managing minutes while keeping everyone happy will be a challenge. The Clippers’ deeper bench should give their starters valuable rest, but this team has to learn how to close out games.
LAST SEASON: 29-53, did not make playoffs.
STARTING FIVE: G Rajon Rondo (8.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 7.9 apg), G Ben McLemore (12.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.7 apg), F Rudy Gay (21.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 3.7 apg), PF Kosta Koufos (5.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 0.5 apg), C DeMarcus Cousins (24.1 ppg, 12.7 rpg, 3.6 apg).
KEY ADDITIONS: Rondo (free agent, Mavericks), Koufos (free agent, Grizzlies), G Marco Belinelli (free agent, Spurs), F Caron Butler (free agent, Pistons), C Willie Cauley-Stein (draft).
KEY LOSSES: F Jason Thompson (trade, 76ers), F Carl Landry (trade, 76ers), G Nik Stauskas (trade, 76ers).
COACH: George Karl, second season.
EYES ON: Rondo. After wearing out his welcome in Boston and Dallas last year, Rondo is looking for a fresh start after signing a one-year deal with the Kings. At his best, Rondo could be the good distributor and defensive point guard the Kings dearly need. At his worst, he can be disengaged and could add to the turmoil between Karl and Cousins.
OUTLOOK: The Kings are looking to end a nine-year playoff drought in their final year before moving to a new downtown arena. After a whirlwind offseason that featured public disputes between Karl and Cousins, the Kings hope the offseason additions can lead to needed improvement.
LAST SEASON: 39-43, missed playoffs
STARTING FIVE: G Eric Bledsoe (17 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 6.1 apg), G Brandon Knight (17 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 5.2 apg), F Markieff Morris (15.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 2.3 apg), F P.J. Tucker (9.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.5 apg) or T.J. Warren (6.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 0.6 apg), C Tyson Chandler (10.3 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 1.1 apg).
KEY ADDITIONS: Chandler (free agent, Mavericks), G Devin Booker (draft), F Jon Leuer (trade, Grizzlies), F Mirza Teletovic (free agent, Nets), G/F Sonny Weems (free agent, CSKA Moscow), C Henry Sims (free agent, 76ers).
KEY LOSSES: G Gerald Green (free agent, Heat), F Marcus Morris (trade, Pistons), F Brandan Wright (free agent, Grizzlies).
COACH: Jeff Hornacek, third season.
EYES ON: Markieff Morris. He was unhappy, to say the least, when his twin brother Marcus was traded to Detroit. Markieff issued a series of blistering tweets, saying there was no way he would be with the Suns this season. But he showed up for media day, said he was committed to playing for the team and winning for Hornacek.
OUTLOOK: The Suns’ big free agent acquisition was Chandler, and he figures prominently both as an inside presence on the court and a veteran leader in the locker room. Phoenix overhauled its bench and could go nine or 10 deep in the rotation. The team is sticking with its two-point guard philosophy and how well Bledsoe and Knight mesh will go a long way toward determining whether the Suns can break their five-year playoff drought.
LAST SEASON: 21-61, did not make playoffs.
STARTING FIVE: G Jordan Clarkson (11.0 ppg, 3.5 apg, 3.2 rpg), G D’Angelo Russell (19.3 ppg, 5.0 apg, 5.7 rpg at Ohio State), F Kobe Bryant (22.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 5.6 apg), F Julius Randle (15.0 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 1.4 apg at Kentucky in 2013-14), C Roy Hibbert (10.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.6 bpg at Pacers).
KEY ADDITIONS: G Russell (draft), C Hibbert (trade), F Brandon Bass (free agent, Celtics), G Lou Williams (free agent, Raptors), F Metta World Peace (free agent), G Marcelo Huertas (free agent, FC Barcelona).
KEY LOSSES: F Wesley Johnson (free agent, Clippers), F-C Jordan Hill (free agent, Pacers), F Carlos Boozer (free agent), F Ed Davis (free agent, Trail Blazers).
COACH: Byron Scott, second season.
EYES ON: Russell. The second overall pick in last summer’s draft is a gifted playmaker and a potential franchise player, but he’s also a 19-year-old getting used to living in the Lakers’ enormous spotlight. Bryant has vowed to watch out for Russell as he matures into what the Lakers really hope is their next big star.
OUTLOOK: For his 20th NBA season, Bryant is teamed with a motley collection of raw talent and veteran spare parts. Coming off the worst season in franchise history, hardly anyone expects the Lakers to end their two-year playoff drought, but a three-year skid would be the longest in franchise history.
- Brandon Knight
- Dallas Mavericks
- Devin Booker
- Eric Bledsoe
- FOX Sports Arizona
- FOX Sports Arizona - Suns
- Jon Leuer
- Markieff Morris
- Mirza Teletovic
- Phoenix Suns
- PJ Tucker
- Tyson Chandler