December 5, 2021 | 9:24 am
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The Baseline: NBA Pacific Division Preview with Jabari Davis

One of the most top-heavy divisions in the NBA is the Pacific Division, but intriguing story lines filter through all five teams. The Baseline boys Warren Shaw and Cal Lee breakdown the division with special guest Jabari Davis from Lakers Nation (he wasn’t too biased) and give you the insight you need on this eclectic mix of teams.

  • The Lakers have an overhauled roster but all eyes are on the return of Kobe Bryant. Can he stay healthy? Can he stay realistic and how will he help the young players on the roster? Did Byron Scott and company get enough support for what could be Mamba’s last strike? Roy Hibbert, Lou Williams, Brandon Bass, Metta World Peace, Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell provide talented pieces but can they gel immediately? Does L.A. still need Nick Young? All these questions are answered in our preview.
  • A model of dysfunction the Sacramento Kings have had quite the summer but all the pieces are in place for roller coaster season they hope is filled with peaks. Rajon Rondo has to prove he’s still elite, DeMarcus Cousins has to prove he and George Karl can coexist and Willie Cauley-Stein has to prove he was worth the high draft selection. Meanwhile Rudy Gay looks to build on a comeback season from a year ago and the other peripheral parts (Marco Belinelli, Ben McLemore, Caron Butler and Darren Collison) hope to provide stability in their respective positions. Most are doubting this team’s ability to put it together but can they shock the league and compete?
  • With brother Marcus shipped out of town the focus of the Suns offseason has been centered around Markieff Morris and his desire to leave the dessert behind him. While some of that talk has cooled it appears the Suns’ accession has as well. Tyson Chandler was a nice defensive addition, Brandon Knight finally got paid and Eric Bledsoe is the last guard standing from last year’s original roster–but who is this team’s leader? T.J. Warren and Alex Len should be big contributors off the bench but will those things be enough to keep Phoenix in the hunt for a playoff spot?
  • Doc Rivers and the Clippers have the shadow of last year’s collapse hanging over them and have reacted drastically with flashy/risky additions to their roster. In are Josh Smith, Lance Stephenson, Wesley Johnson and the super veteran Paul Pierce. Add that to the core of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford and DeAndre Jordan and it’s easy to see why people think this team should overcome their demons from NBA playoffs past. Outside of Sacramento is their a more combustible bunch in the league? Doc has his hands full but it’s a hand he dealt himself.
  • As the class of the division and the NBA the Golden State Warriors have earned respect coupled with an immense amount of pressure to duplicate last season’s success. Can they win 67 games again? Probably not, but regular season success wasn’t the goal last year and it won’t be this year. The Warriors were remarkably healthy in 2014-15 and will need  the core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes to repeat another season with a clean bill of health. How much will they miss David Lee in the locker room remains to be seen but the addition of Jason Thompson should help them cover any production lost by Lee’s departure. Jabari Davis says the keys to their bench are Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala but is there anybody else they need to rely on?

It’s one hell of a preview filled with fun, a little sarcasm but most importantly in depth insight on the many stories in this division.

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