Friday, October 27, 2006

NBA Preview 2006-2007: Pacific Division

Click for each preview:
Awards and Playoffs

Each team is scored on a 1-10 scale based on its projected starting lineup, bench, head coach and general manager. The maximum score possible is 80.

Overall scores, brief summaries and franchise outlooks will predict how a team performs this upcoming season.

A final preview article will predict regular-season awards, playoff results and the eventual NBA champion.

Golden State Warriors
C: Troy Murphy (7.5)
PF: Ike Diogu (7)
SF: Mike Dunleavy (7)
SG: Jason Richardson (8)
PG: Baron Davis (8.5)
Bench: Monta Ellis, Mickael Pietrus, Dajuan Wagner, Devin Brown, Adonal Foyle, Andris Biedrins (7.5)
Coach: Don Nelson (8)
GM: Chris Mullin (7)
Overall: 60.5
Summary: Nelson hopes to create a high-powered, fast-paced offense led by Davis and Richardson. This is a critical year for Dunleavy ; he must bring more to the table. Diogu is a good rebounder and Murphy has range. Ellis is an explosive scorer and Wagner may regain the game he had in high school. Pietrus may surprise people with his productivity.
Outlook: The Warriors will struggle in a brutal conference.

Los Angeles Clippers
C: Chris Kaman (8)
PF: Elton Brand (9.5)
SF: Tim Thomas (7.5)
SG: Cuttino Mobley (8)
PG: Sam Cassell (8.5)
Bench: Corey Maggette, Shaun Livingston, Quinton Ross, Daniel Ewing, Yaroslav Korolev, James Singleton, Zeljko Rebraca (9.5)
Coach: Mike Dunleavy (8)
GM: Elgin Baylor (7.5)
Overall: 66.5
Summary: Last year's surprise team won't sneak up on the league again, but they have the talent to accept the challenge. Brand elevated his game, becoming an elite franchise superstar. Kaman is a good center that'll only keep improving. Cassell is the saavy veteran that unifies the team. There may arise a controversy with Maggette being the odd-man out. Look for Livingston to get major minutes.
Outlook: The Western Conference Finals are a real possibility.

Los Angeles Lakers
C: Chris Mihm (7)
PF: Lamar Odom (8.5)
SF: Vladimir Radmanovic (7.5)
SG: Kobe Bryant (10)
PG: Smush Parker (7.5)
Bench: Jordan Farmar, Luke Walton, Andrew Bynum, Brian Cook, Maurice Evans, Kwame Brown (8)
Coach: Phil Jackson (10)
GM: Mitch Kupchak (8)
Overall: 66.5
Summary: No other player on this planet can emulate Kobe's seemingly indomitable offensive skillset. His teammates hope he'll pass the ball more often. Parker or Farmar will run the triangle. There's no telling how the death of Odom's infant son will affect him this season. The bench is long on potential, short on production. Evans was a great pick-up.
Outlook: The second year should have less bumps in the road.

Phoenix Suns
C: Amare Stoudemire (9)
PF: Shawn Marion (9)
SF: Boris Diaw (8.5)
SG: Raja Bell (8.5)
PG: Steve Nash (10)
Bench: Leandrinho Barbosa, Kurt Thomas, Marcus Banks, James Jones (8)
Coach: Mike D’Antoni (9)
GM: Mike D’Antoni (8)
Overall: 70
Summary: With or without Amare, this team is dynamite. Nash is the preeminent point in the NBA, and Phoenix's fastbreak offense is the envy of the league. The Suns lack size, but they are the quickest and most versatile collection of players. Marion and Diaw can do it all, Bell is a defensive stopper and Barbosa is lightning quick. Banks must play well so Nash can rest himself and not wear down before the postseason.
Outlook: Phoenix will look to prove that offense wins championships.

Sacramento Kings
C: Brad Miller (9)
PF: Shareef-Abdur Rahim (8.5)
SF: Ron Artest (9.5)
SG: John Salmons (7)
PG: Mike Bibby (9)
Bench: Kevin Martin, Francisco Garcia, Kenny Thomas, Quincy Dooby, Jason Hart (8)
Coach: Eric Musselman (7)
GM: Geoff Petrie (8)
Overall: 66
Summary: Although losing Bonzi Wells was a big blow, Martin's offensive production will soothe the transition. There’s lots of firepower on this team and very little defense outside of Miller and Artest. The bench lacks bigs. Two big questions will be how Musselman manages this group and if Artest will be part of that group.
Outlook: Whether Musselman can motivate this team will determine if it makes the playoffs or not.

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