NBA team profiles for 2015/16 season: Pacific Division
Daniel Coyle, American Sports Correspondent | October 23, 2015
2015/16 Pacific Division NBA team profiles
The Pacific Division will once again feature the best and the worst of the NBA, with defending champions Golden State Warriors battling the hard-luck Los Angeles Clippers for the regional title.
Meanwhile, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers are each expected to finish deep in the bottom half of the Western Conference standings.
Golden State Warriors
- NBA Championship futures betting odds: 4/1
- Pacific Division futures betting odds: 1/3
- 2014/15 record: 67-15
After opening last campaign trailing the favourites with 20/1 odds of winning their first championship in four decades, the Warriors quickly became the story of the season, winning a league-best 67 games, led my Steph Curry’s MVP season.
But even as their storybook season unfolded, GSW continued to trail the Cleveland Cavaliers at the sportsbooks, until their march to the NBA Finals made them impossible to ignore.
The Warriors begin defense of their championship chasing Cleveland on the betting odds once again, while Curry’s 5/1 price of repeating as MVP trails the Cavs’ LeBron James at 2/1 and Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant at 4/1.
With Curry again joined by Splash Brother Klay Thompson, though, the defensive pairing of Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green, and Finals MVP Andre Iguodala, another Pacific Division crown and NBA title are well within reach.
Los Angeles Clippers
- NBA Championship futures betting odds: 10/1
- Pacific Division futures betting odds: 2/1
- 2014/15 record: 56-26
After winning 14 of their final 15 regular season games, and disposing of the defending champion San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs, the Clippers looked to have finally shaken their tag as underachievers.
But just as quickly, the wheels fell off, with the Clippers losing Chris Paul to injury and promptly blowing a 3-1 series lead over Houston in the conference semi-finals in spectacular fashion, making an early exit for a third straight year.
The dynamic duo of Paul and Blake Griffin returns, bolstered by the off-season signing of veteran Paul Pierce, whose leadership played a key role in the Washington Wizards’ success last campaign.
Like last season, when the team recorded an underwhelming 45-51 ATS record, expectations will be high. But will last campaign’s playoff meltdown, followed by a championship win by rival Golden State, embolden this team? Or will it be yet another forgettable season for the hard-luck Clippers?
- NBA Championship futures betting odds: 150/1
- Pacific Division futures betting odds: 80/1
- 2014/15 record: 39-43
Much was expected from the Suns last season after the club won 48 games in 2013/14, coming within one game of a playoff spot. But the club took a step back last season, winning just 11 of their final 33 games, and just one of their final 11, to once again finish well out of postseason contention.
The disappointing season fueled change in the desert this summer, with Goran Dragic, Marcus Morris and Gerald Green gone, replaced by veteran Tyson Chandler and rookie Devin Booker, although the club was unable to attract free agent LaMarcus Aldridge.
But this remains a team peppered with question marks, ranging from Chandler’s durability, to the attitude of Markieff Morris, which has reportedly soured since brother Marcus was dealt.
With eight of their first 11 games on home court, the opportunity exists for a fast start. Without it, it may be a long season for suffering Suns fans.
- NBA Championship futures betting odds: 200/1
- Pacific Division futures betting odds: 125/1
- 2014/15 record: 29-53
The Kings bolted to a 9-5 start last season, lifting the hopes of fans who have not witnessed a winning campaign or playoff game since 2006.
However, they quickly returned to familiar form, losing 27 of their next 35 games, and finished the season with a league-worst 8-18-1 ATS record when favoured. Sacramento did finish the season on a bright note, finishing on a 7-8 run, 8-6-1 ATS.
The disaster of last season led to change this summer. But the one constant remains controversy surrounding the team fuelled by big egos, both on the court and in the executive offices.
Center DeMarcus Cousins returns despite an ongoing feud with coach George Karl, joined by free-agent guard Rajon Rondo, who proved to be a major distraction during his brief stay with the Dallas Mavericks last season. But the addition of rookie Willie Cauley-Stein, and the steady presence of forward Rudy Gay will give Kings fans something to cheer for.
Los Angeles Lakers
- NBA Championship futures betting odds: 80/1
- Pacific Division futures betting odds: 150/1
- 2014/15 record: 21-61
With future hall-of-famer Kobe Bryant appearing in just 35 games last season, the Lakers recorded their lowest win total since the franchise moved to Los Angeles in 1960. They lost early and often, stringing together three straight wins on just two occasions.
The club fared much better at the sportsbooks, posting a 38-41-3 ATS record, but were pegged as favourites on just nine occasions, going 4-5 ATS, and were blown out by double digits in seven of their last nine contests.
A healthy Kobe would provide the Lakers with a big boost, while the addition of big man Roy Hibbert brings much needed experience and stability. But the organization is clearly looking to the future, with second-year guard Jordan Clarkson and rookie guard D’Angelo Russell, who was selected second overall at last spring’s NBA Draft, expected to contribute.
Indeed, Russell, who earned first-team All-American honours with Ohio State Buckeyes, also sits among the favourites in NBA rookie-of-the year betting with 5/1 odds.
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