Wishful thinking: NBA Pacific Division preview

If you've somehow missed all the NBA previews--or are simply jonesin' for more--top bloggers helped We Rite Goode boil the season down to a few catchy soundbites that can be used to impress at cocktail parties or keggers. After you've read our methodology here, check out what bloggers see in store for Kobe, Baron, and Bibby.

1. Phoenix Suns
Steve Goldman, Born and Raised

What they need to do to make me happy: I'd be very happy if Phoenix win 60+ games. Some might say this is a big ask, but I know they can do it. Phoenix can make it to the Western Conference finals they will disappoint many fans if they fail. Leandro Barbosa should improve even more, and I'd like to see rookies DJ Strawberry and Alando Tucker prove that they deserve to be playing for such a great time.

Reasoning: The Suns' elimination from the playoffs at the hands of the Spurs was disappointing but San Antonio were a better team at the time. This year, I expect a different outcome if the two teams meet in the playoffs. After snapping up two good draft picks and signing Grant Hill, the Suns have more depth than last year. Barbosa.

2. Los Angeles Lakers
Carter Blanchard, Plissken at the Buzzer

What they need to do to make me happy: Go 48-34, make it past the first round, and generally look like second-tier contender. Individually, I'd like to see Bynum to contend for MIP, Odom to be in at least 70 games, Kobe to play the All-Star Game as a Laker, Crittenton to come in a surprising 3rd in ROY voting, and Ronny to play extended minutes without fouling out while warming the hearts of all of men and women the world over.

: Healthy and happy there's no reason this team couldn't be sniffing the tail of Dallas, Phoenix, San Antonio (and now Houston) like they were for the first third of last year. Bynum seems poised for a breakout, and preseason/summer league Critt has eased my Belinelli-envy ever so slightly.

3. Golden State Warriors
Ty Keenan, Plissken at the Buzzer

What they need to do to make me happy:
Win more than 45 games, make it to the playoffs, and win a playoff series. Individually, Baron Davis plays 75 games, Captain Jackson only gets suspended two more times, Monta Ellis learns to hit the 20-foot jumper that made Tony Parker a star, and Marco Belinelli finishes in the Top 5 for ROY voting on coolness alone.

We still don't have enough of a post threat to challenge for a title, but that doesn't mean Nellieball can't continue to chip away at the Right Way monopoly. For this pinko commie fan, that's enough.

4. The best NBA team in Los Angeles--the L.A. Clippers
Clipper Steve,
Clips Nation

What they need to do to make me happy: Win 42 games and squeak into the 8th spot in the Western Conference playoffs. Sure, they'll lose to the top seed (be it the Spurs, Mavs or Suns) - it would be gravy if they could make a decent showing. In addition, Elton Brand and Shaun Livingston both need to return from injury and play well this season. That's almost a given with EB - much more of an unknown with Livingston. Corey Maggette needs to lead the team in scoring in Brand's absence, and Chris Kaman needs to earn his $52M salary. Oh, and Al Thornton needs to be solid in his rookie year. And most importantly, the Clippers must finish ahead of the Lakers. That's all I'm asking for. It's not so much, really.

: Last season, with the weight of expectations, the team underachieved. Back in familiar territory, with Brand injured and picked to finish near the bottom of the west by most experts, the Clippers are once-again their lovable underdog selves. If Brand can return from injury sooner rather than later (Jan. 1 would be a nice round number, and would be five months after the injury - aggressive but not unheard of), the team would closely resemble the team that took Phoenix to a game seven two seasons ago. Maggette and Cassell need to keep the team competitive until Brand returns. A playoff berth in a season as ill-fated as this would have the team ready to enter next season on the upswing again. It's not completely unrealistic - the top of the Western Conference is great, but the 8th spot has to go to someone - the Clippers just have to finish above the Lakers, the Hornets and the Grizz (forget Portland, Seattle, Sacramento and Minnesota). That's not that daunting.

5. Sacramento Kings
Tom Ziller,
Sactown Royalty

What they need to do to make me happy: 40+ wins, which means competing for a playoff spot. Get Kevin Martin into the All-Star game. Get a youngster or draft pick and no bad contracts for Mike Bibby.

Reasoning for above
: Because it's a fast trip to the bottom and a long journey up. (I remember the 1990s.) This team won't resemble a contender for years, but playoff contention is a nice distraction from the depression fed by the roster at large.

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posted by Crucifictorious @ 18:16,


At November 1, 2007 at 12:36 AM, Anonymous Giorgio Pappandous said...

What is Clipper Steve smoking? The one way the Clippers make it to 40 wins is if Corey Maggette plays out of his mind basketball for six months. There is no one else on that team who can carry them without Elton Brand.

At November 1, 2007 at 1:09 AM, Blogger Steve said...

I think it is possible to get to 40 wins, but even if the Clippers do get into the playoffs, they will be seed 7 or 8 and won't last long.

At November 1, 2007 at 3:46 AM, Blogger Carter Blanchard said...

"while warming the hearts of all of men and women"

Haha, wow I'm a terrible writer. Sorry for the sloppy.

At November 1, 2007 at 3:53 AM, Blogger Doctor Dribbles said...

Couldn't it just be that Crucifictorious is a terrible editor?

At November 1, 2007 at 11:14 AM, Blogger Jarrett Carter said...

Every year, we believe the Suns are going to get over the hump, and every year, they fail to do so.

Are we stupid, or should they generally stop running so much in the regular season and save some for the playoffs?

At November 1, 2007 at 9:43 PM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

Maybe they should hold on to some draft picks and try to develop some serviceable bench players.

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