Teams have already completed several games on the NBA schedule. That makes it a great time to dive into Pacific Division futures to see if any of the preseason predictions are off-track. Long story short, nope – seems that most of the preseason favorites in the NBA are still the ones to watch!
The Lakers and the Clippers are still the favorites to win the Pacific and move up the NBA Playoff ladder. The Sacramento Kings are still the team in the Pacific cellar.
The Lakers are at -150 with the Clippers at +130 with the Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, and Kings all trailing behind.
It can be argued that the Pacific is one of the hardest divisions in the NBA to move up. After all, a team further down the W/L column can still have an improved season – but would it be good enough to get past the two LA teams?
Probably not, unless a miracle happens in the playoffs.
Here’s how the Futures for the NBA Northwest Division breakdown according to BetOnline with total wins for each team.
The LA Lakers won their 17th NBA Championship Title last season in the bubble and made only select moves in the off-season to bolster their lineup. The core will include LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Dennis Schroder with a deeper bench to back them up. Montrezl Harrell and Kyle Kuzma are two players to point to. The goal of the Lakers off-season was to make moves that didn’t rock the boat too much but added to the teams scoring capabilities. It has worked, as of this writing, the Lakers have already won ten games so far. Long-term: The Lakers just need to keep doing what they are doing; score, back it up with defense, and let the bench come in and do their thing.
The Clippers are still considered one of the strongest teams in the NBA following a start of the season that has included a three-game losing streak to start 2021. That being said, they’ve bounced back with a string of wins keeping them towards the top of the standings. As predicted, the Clippers will have some power on offense but may suffer a bit when it comes to defense but they will still be hard to beat with a healthy Paul George knocking down an average of 25 points per game and Patrick Beverly draining three-pointers. Long-term: The Clippers need to get more players putting up points. No other Clipper is above 12 points a game besides George (25) and Kawhi Leonard at 23.
Phoenix has jumped out to a good start thus far in the 2021 season. As of this writing, the Suns have six games in the win column and only two losses. If you are looking at “over” win totals, this may be a team to consider! Last season the Suns did better than expected with many fans hoping nobody got hurt. This season the bench is deeper on the offensive side. Defense, not so much. Long-term: “Live by the three die by the three” could ring true for Phoenix. In the win over the Raptors, the Suns drained 21 three- pointers. You would think that would lead to a huge blowout. Not the case – the Suns only won by 8 points, 123-115. My point? The Suns need defense!
The Golden State Warriors are rebuilding and may not make it past the 35 win mark this year. Right now they are playing .500 ball and are struggling on defense. Plus, they just are not as deep as they hoped to be following the short NBA off-season. The great news is that they are building a loaded team starting with Steph Curry bringing home an average of 29.6 points per game. Andrew Wiggins is second with 17.9. After that, the dropout is dramatic with no other Warrior with a scoring average in the teens. Long-term: The Warriors will improve over the season and should be a seasoned veteran team next year if the core group around Curry is strong. Look for the Warriors to go fast all season long to get as many scoring attempts at the basket as possible.
The Sacramento Kings are just now breaking the .500 point in wins during this early part of the season. And that’s a nice surprise! The Kings were predicted to be in the Pacific cellar all year long due to rebuilding efforts. De'Aaron Fox leads the team in scoring at 18.4 points per game which is not what was expected of him – but he’s starting to warm up. The good news is that the Kings have three other players in the teens and two above ten points per game. That’s good team scoring! It’s just not enough. Long-term: The Kings have some injury issues and they need all the healthy players they can get – especially when it comes to starters. Fox has a hamstring bothering him and Richaun Holmes tweaked an ankle in the win over the Bulls. High scoring across the lineup has to continue.
Kent Whitaker is an award-winning author, culinary writer and
sports writer. Whitaker's books range from BBQ, Grilling, Tailgating and additional
culinary titles to WWII history books, books about NASCAR and racing and titles
Whitaker, known as “the Deck Chef,” has a culinary, history
and journalism background. He credits this for his cookbook writing style. “My
books are people based. I interview, gather recipes from real people and
sources – and combine the recipes with back-stories. My cookbooks are slices of
Whitaker can also be found on TV, Radio, Print, and as a
celebrity spokesperson. He has appeared on radio and TV including Food Network.
He’s the Emeril Live Barbecue Contest winner and columnist for the National
Whitaker has covered NASCAR, IndyCar, ARCA Racing, The NFL,
SEC Football, Professional Golf and more. His books include:
·Great American Grilling – Ultimate Backyard Barbecue
·The Gulf Coast Seafood Cookbook
·Smoke in the Mountains - The Art of Appalachian
·Checkered Flag Cooking - Tailgating Stock Car Racing
·The Hometown Cookbook Series; The Tennessee Hometown Cookbook,
as well as Georgia, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, West
Virginia, Alabama, and Florida.
·The USS Alabama - The History of the Mighty A
·Bullets and Bread - Feeding the Greats and Grunts of
·Big Mo's Tennis Ball Hunt
the Mountains Smokey?
Kent has worked with several brands as spokesperson. Companies
include Check Mark, ALPO, TimberTech, Vermont Castings, Pabst Blue Ribbon, E.H.
Campbell Trading, Big Show Foods, and others. Whitaker, and his wife Allyson,
hosted a NASCAR and racing themed show on ESPN Radio for several years. That
show has morphed into a weekly short format tailgate show heard on over 50
Kent is also a member of the United States Coast Guard
Auxiliary and severed on the National Staff as an AUXCHEF/AUX Food Service
Specialist and National Branch Chief.
Kent and his wife Allyson live in Tennessee and have one ARMY
Strong son, Macee. You can visit him online at www.thedeckchef.com and Twitter/Instagram