A total of 12 players completely changed the dynamic of the NBA for the 2019-20 season. All 12 changed teams in the offseason with a handful moving into the NBA’s Pacific Division. The division has been owned by the Golden State Warriors as of late. That will likely change this season as the Warriors no longer have former league MVP Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson will be recovering from a knee injury as the season starts. Most online sportsbooks see the division favorite coming from Los Angeles, but which team?
What an Offseason The Clippers won 48 games last year and wound up the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoffs. They were sent home by Golden State, but the franchise’s offseason has given the Clippers the best odds to win the NBA Pacific Division.
The addition of Kawhi Leonard, last year’s NBA Finals MVP, and Paul George make the Clippers a force to be reckoned with. America’s Bookie even gives the Clips +300 odds to win an NBA title. Los Angeles is projected to win 55 games, the highest of all Western Conference teams, but it is no guarantee that the Clippers (-165) win the division. They have a crosstown rival to contend with.
Another Superstar Duo The Lakers shipped out some of their talents in exchange for one of the best talents in all of the NBA – Anthony Davis. The 6-10 Davis averaged 25.9 points and12.0 rebounds a game last season. He will pair nicely with LeBron James, who hopefully stays healthy as he enters his 17th NBA season. If James stays healthy, the combination of James and Davis along with Kyle Kuzma, Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope could lead the Lakers (+225) to a division title. Still, the Lakers have a number of new pieces in their puzzle, one being new head coach Frank Vogel.
Kings No More At +4500, the Sacramento Kings are priced right out of the market. While you might love to take the risk, you’re not doing on a team that has finished below .500 in each of the past 12 seasons. The Kings have some talent, but when you’re the go-to guy is Harrison Barnes, that’s probably not a good sign. Sacramento did finish third in the division last year with 39 wins, but don’t expect that out of the Kings again.
Rising Suns The rebuild in Phoenix is still on track. They have their big man in Deandre Ayton (16.3 ppg, 10.2 rpg) and a an outstanding guard in Devin Booker (26.6 ppg). The Suns continue to draft well – Mikal Bridges – but at +20000, it’s simply not happening. There can’t be a single model that ends up with the Suns winning the Northwest in 2020.
Another Golden…State? So, the Clippers are the favorite and, in all reality, should win the division. The Lakers and LeBron plus the Brow at +225 is a more likable bet. The even-more-likable bet just might be the team that has won the past five straight Pacific Division titles – Golden State.
Sure, there are issues. Kevin Durant is now in Brooklyn. Klay Thompson will miss some of the season as he recovers from a knee injury. But, the Warriors still have the best shooter the game has ever seen in Stephen Curry, the NBA’s best jack-of-all-trades in Draymond Green, and they added D’Angelo Russell in the offseason. At +300 to win the NBA Pacific Division, what’s not to like? The Warriors may offer the best value in the division.
A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.
His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.
When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.