If you want a wild division, look no further than the Pacific side of the Western Conference. For the 2021 season, they are the most loaded division of them all. Four contenders will battle to win the division and the chip.
The LA Lakers are an old but top-tier team. The Phoenix Suns are the whole opposite. A young squad with an experienced floor general is coming back with a vengeance after losing the finals.
Speaking of coming back seeking revenge, SG Klay Thompson is back, and this means PG Steph Curry has his ally back.
This means the Golden State Warriors are coming back with the pedal to the metal. And don’t forget about the Western Conference runner-up, the LA Clippers.
The poor Sacramento Kings are going to suffer as their roster doesn’t even compare to the other four in the division.
With three teams in the playoffs, two in the Western Conference Finals, and one in the play-in tournament, the Pacific can brag about its high level.
The winners were the Suns, who had an outstanding season. The arrival of PG Chris Paul gave this team a new meaning. CP3 brought the best of SG Devin Booker, who became a certified baller last season.
Not only Booker, but C DeAndre Ayton became a problem, as Paul knew how to use him in a pick-and-roll to exploit his strengths.
They ended in the second seed of the Western Conference. Phoenix was hot. They advanced into the NBA Finals. They even got a 2-0 advantage.
Unfortunately, the Suns lost the series in six games. It was an amazing season for a team that was never highly regarded when the season started.
With a 47-25 record, the Clippers followed in the divisional rankings. Not concerned with seedings, but rather keeping their stars healthy, the Clippers used a lot of load management.
This was to protect their star, SF Kawhi Leonard. With Ty Lue as head coach, the Clippers showed a new tenacity in the playoffs.
SG Paul George finally answered his call in the playoffs, as the Clippers progressed all the way to the Conference Finals. Leonard had an injury, and that cost the Clippers in a big way.
They ended losing the series to the Suns without their biggest star on the court, but the Clippers learned a lot. First, Ty Lue might be the best head coach in basketball. Second, PG13 can deliver in the postseason. The Clippers are baby steps away from the finals.
The LA counterparts ended third in the Pacific. The Lakers had a lot of injuries in the last stretch of the regular season that made them fall drastically in the standings.
SF LeBron James only played in 45 games. Their other main star, the PF Anthony Davis, played even fewer games, with 36 regular-season appearances.
Both James and Davis managed to play in the postseason, but the injuries were still causing trouble. They fell to the Suns in the first round.
Golden State was tragic but led by a jaw-dropping performance by Steph Curry, they got a seed to enter the play-in tournament. Curry averaged 32 points while shooting 42% from three-point range on 12.7 threes attempted.
He was shooting at a high volume, but Curry being Curry was prolific. He was the only player over 20 points in this roster, it was a one-man show.
SG Kelly Oubre and SF Andrew Wiggins disappointed heavily. They were very irregular. As for PF Draymond Green, his decline continued.
Green only averaged seven points. Even though he’s still a top defender and a great passer, he needs to get more buckets. He is an offensive liability.
The play-in tournament appearance was a losing effort against Memphis.
As for the Kings, they were the only team in the division that finished with a record under .500. Actually, their season ended in a blowout loss against the Jazz.
PG De’Aaron Fox exploded by averaging 25.2 points per game and 7.2 assists. He also led the team in steals with 1.5 a night.
The only problem the Kings have is their talent is not that much. Fox is brilliant, and they have SG Buddy Hield as a perimeter threat.
Then, a good rookie year from G Tyrese Haliburton gives the Kings some hope for the future, but the team is still far away from any real shot at success.
Usually, when we make an in-depth analysis of a division, we have three or more categories we can divide the teams. It all depends on their level.
Not in this division. There are two categories, NBA championship contenders and, the Kings. So, let’s get to it.
Out of all the teams in this tier, the Lakers are the one that creates more expectations. Of course, on one side, it’s the Lakers, the most coveted franchise in basketball.
On the other, is LeBron, the most popular player in the world. Then, it’s the roster. Ten players are older than 30 years. Most of them are key players.
PG Russell Westbrook comes with a lot of hype, and the 32-year-old can still hoop, but his chances of getting a ring are getting slim. Questions about his style matching LeBron’s are there. That’s why they brought back PG Rajon Rondo too.
Another player seeking a championship is SF Carmelo Anthony. C DeAndre Jordan also comes into the roster to get defensive power. As the season advances, can the veterans remain healthy and with stamina?
The Clippers will not focus in the regular season. Their mission is to get everyone healthy for the postseason. That’s where they need to step up. Their roster shifted point guards, as they signed Eric Bledsoe and let Pat Beverley go.
The core is intact, though. The Clippers’ championship window is closing, so they must capitalize on their chances. Kawhi and PG13 are under the scope.
The Splash Brothers are back in the bay, which means the Golden State Warriors are in the mix. Curry and Klay are the best shooting duo the league has ever seen and they can literally outscore a whole team if their hands come hot.
Spoiler alert, they always come hot. If Draymond Green can recover some of the interior offense he once had, the Warriors are a force to behold.
What creates concerns in the Warriors is their depth, but they have the stock and cap to get trades and strengthen their rotation.
As for the Suns, repeating their 2020 feat will be tough. The other teams in the division have made improvements, while they are pretty much the same roster of last year. Having said that, CP3 and D-Book are some of the best backcourt duos.
Their games complement each other really well. Ayton should get better as his third year as a pro comes along. Phoenix will get 45 to 50 wins in a highly-contested division.
Sacramento is the only team that doesn’t have big expectations in the NBA Pacific division. The Kings have young talent to hope for a better future, but not for a better present. Only one player in the Kings’ roster is 30 years old, and that is C Tristan Thompson.
The rest are younger. Fox will deliver, Haliburton can have another leap, and Hield is a reliable shooter. SF Harrison Barnes had a good 2020 and should keep the same productivity. The biggest question of all is the PF Marvin Bagley III.
Once regarded as a top prospect, Bagley has failed to live up to his potential. Injuries and poor performances are on the verge of making him a big bust.
Shop NBA lines before taking any action. The fact that one sportsbook has the Lakers at +110 doesn’t mean it’s the best line out there. You may find them at +125 in other books.
The odds are the first thing you notice. Lower odds equals more favoritism.
They also point out how much you would profit if you win the bet. For example, a $100 bet on Phoenix (+200) would give you $200 in winnings.
The handle is another useful tool. It represents the percentage of total bets a team is getting to win the division.
For example, the Clippers have a 16% handle, which means 16% of all money wagered on the Pacific is going for LAC.
Last but not least, check out the percentage of bets. This is the number of bets—not the amount—each team receives.
For example, the Warriors have 54% of all bets. This doesn’t translate to how much money people played in Golden State. They can have 54% of the bets, but 62% of the handle, meaning bigger bets are being placed on them.
1. Go to the sportsbook website/app and log in.
2. Click on the NBA betting odds tab.
3. Select ‘Team Futures’ and the division’s tab.
4. Pick the team you will bet on.
5. Submit your bet from the bet slip window.