It was all good just a week ago. The Pacific Division has been completely flipped on its head with former contenders potentially headed for the lottery, while former doormats are possibly headed towards deep playoff runs. Tons of things happened in the summer for this division including: trips to Germany, one team traded for a coach, #StayD12 happened, another team got a new owner and much, much more.
So let's see which teams fans should get the League Pass, and which should divert all their attention to football for the time being.
We'll be previewing each division individually for the next few days, so stay tuned.
Photos: Getty, Facebook
What To Like: Andrew Wiggins!
What Not To Like: This season.
Random Note: The Suns could actually affect the playoff picture when they inevitably unload all of their competent players not named Eric Bledsoe to aid their tanking efforts. Marcin Gortat and Goran Dragic could be particularly useful to contenders looking to beef up their bench and the Suns will be more than willing to unload those contracts of their books.
Photo Cred: Suns' Facebook
What To Like: They handed the keys to the franchise to Demarcus Cousins with his $62M, four year extension this year.
What Not To Like: They handed the keys to the franchise to Demarcus Cousins, and paid $62M to do it.
Random Note: The Kings are practically a new franchise thanks to a new owner, general manager and coaching staff (and hopefully soon, a new arena) and actually look to be on the right track for the first time in years. Carl Landry’s injury hurts their potential to really make a mark this season, but they’re in better shape than they have been in years and with new additions Greivis Vasquez and fifth overall pick Ben McLemore to go with what will hopefully be a lot of growth from TSS favorite (well, me and Tinsley favorite) Boogie Cousins.
Los Angeles Lakers
What To Like: Kobe! Nash! Pau!
What Not To Like: 35 coming off major surgery! 33 with bad knees! 39 with a bad back!
Random Note: The Lakers spent their offseason replacing their two best defenders with a combination of Wesley Johnson, Nick Young and Chris Kaman. So yeah, they’re going to give up a lot of points, something they already finished 22nd in the league in last year.
The Lakers will be interesting especially if they decide to officially blow it up and rebuild. Pau Gasol will have plenty of suitors in the trade market and Kobe may murder somebody if he realizes he’s going to spend the end of his career stuck in a rebuilding project. The Lakers probably have too much pride to completely pack it in and look towards the loaded 2014 draft, but they aren’t seeing the playoffs even if they try.
Golden State Warriors
What To Like: A young promising core, and one of the most exciting players in the league in Stephen Curry.
What Not To Like: This team is extremely reliant on the contributions of two members of the “if he’s healthy” All-Stars - Curry and Andrew Bogut.
Random Note: I do worry a bit that they may have given up too much in their quest to free cap room for Andre Iguodala (and for a brief second, Dwight Howard). Jarrett Jack was huge for them last year and served as walking, talking Steph Curry ankle insurance, and Carl Landry added inside scoring that none of their bigs outside of David Lee could offer.
Iggy will help in many ways being that he's a great defender, decent three-point shooter and underrated passer, but Golden State has to cross their fingers that his presence doesn’t stunt the growth of promising youngsters Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes (who could be a star).
Los Angeles Clippers
What To Like: Doc Rivers replaced Vinny Del Negro, which is basically the equivalent of deleting Riff Raff off your iPod and replacing it with Kendrick Lamar.
What Not To Like: They lost four straight games in the playoffs because they were bullied to no end, and responded by adding Byron Mullens and Antawn Jamison to their frontcourt. No punch line, that’s really what they did.
Random Note: Their ceiling hinges completely on how much defense Doc Rivers can get out of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. His swarming system worked in Boston and works Chicago with Tom Thibodeau because those teams had/have stalwarts Kevin Garnett and Joakim Noah to completely command the defensive end on the floor. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are neither Garnett nor Noah, and the Clippers need one of them to be close to it to make a real run in the playoffs against the three powerhouses atop the West.