Pacific Division Review and Analysis: Lakers, Clippers, Suns, Warriors, Kings
So now the Clippers are 8-6, right there with the Warriors. In other words, they are who we thought they were. The Lakers fell into 9th place with an ugly home loss to the Pacers. The Charlotte Bobcats have a better record. So basically, two teams that have Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, and Steve Nash are a combined 15-14. Look at what’s happening in those small markets like Memphis, San Antonio, and OKC.
The Warriors are getting it done. 8-6 doesn’t blow you away, but right now that’s good for 4th in the west. Everyone seems to be playing better than they did the first couple weeks and Andrew Bogut comes back soon. In theory, things should only get better for the Warriors.
The Kings are bringing up the rear in the west. As expected. 14 games into the season players have been suspended, fined, lost their starting spots, or have fallen out of the rotation. You know, all the things that come with being a bad team. There is no culture, no system, nothing to build on or strive for. It starts at the top, but the few veterans on the court aren’t doing this team or themselves any favors.
Phoenix is just hanging around at 7-8, again, just as we expected. We’re getting to that point in the season where everyone is showing us who they are. There will always be exceptions; Boston’s story seems to never be done, Rose and Dirk have yet to play for their teams, and the Lakers have yet to play a game with their ideal lineup and ideal coach. But for Phoenix and most other teams, what you see is what you’re gonna get from here on out.
Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are starting to look less like stars sacrificing numbers as the rest of the team gets better, and more like typical players on a typical team. They are still considered among the best at their position, but they are going to need to be more productive if the team is to become elite. You can’t rely on DeAndre Jordan’s improved post moves every night or 30 plus points from Crawford and Bledsoe. Paul and Griffin need to take the lead and let everyone else fall in line.
It’s going to be fun watching Nash and Bogut return for their teams. And the NBA is always a better place when Grant Hill and Chauncey Billups are on the court. Injuries are never fun, and although we’ve seen some guys step up in their absences, most teams are just suffering. I guess we can’t blame the lockout schedule. Stay tuned for when these guys return, things will look a lot better.