The 2020-21 NBA season tipped off on Dec. 22, and each team has 72 games on schedule. Check out our Pacific Division Winner Prediction as we conclude our predictions for each division.
The Battle of Los Angeles Pt. 2
The division was supposed to give three legitimate title contenders this season, but unfortunately, with the injury of Klay Thompson, the race will be between two teams from L.A. The Splash Brothers were expected to make a big comeback with the Golden State Warriors and attack the NBA Finals, but Klay, after missing the whole last season due to an ACL injury, injured his Achilles tendon in training and will miss the entire season again. The recovered Steph Curry will have to carry this team with the help of Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins. We will have to wait to see what their range will be this season.
The defending champions, the Los Angeles Lakers, did a great job in the off-season, surrounded LeBron and Davis with even better weapons. They are probably the biggest favorites for the new title.
The Los Angeles Clippers changed head coach after a disappointing performance in the playoffs. Tyron Lue got the job, and we will see if LeBron’s good friend will be able to take the team with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George a step further.
The Phoenix Suns will be a very interesting team to watch this season. Chris Paul came to Arizona, so with the young stars Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton, they are expected to finally reach the playoffs.
It seems that everything except the last place in the division for the Sacramento Kings will be a real surprise. They lost Bogdan Bogdanovic to a free agency, did not bring a replacement good enough, or significantly strengthened the team. There is a big chance that the record of 14 seasons without playoffs will extend for at least one more.
Roster changes and transactions:
IN: Kent Bazemore (SAC), Nico Mannion (R), Kelly Oubre (PHX), Axel Toupane, Brad Wanamaker (BOS), James Wiseman (R)
OUT: Ky Bowman (LAC)
IN: Nicolas Batum (CHA), Ky Bowman (GSW), Serge Ibaka (TOR), Luke Kennard (DET), Daniel Oturu (R), Jay Scrubb (R), Rayjon Tucker (UTA).
OUT: JaMychal Green (DEN), Montrezl Harrell (LAL), Rodney McGruder (DET), Johnathan Motley (PHX), Joakim Noah, Landry Shamet (BKN).
IN: Marc Gasol (TOR), Montrezl Harrell (LAC), Wesley Matthews (MIL), Alfonzo McKinnie (CLE), Dennis Schröder (OKC).
OUT: Avery Bradley (MIA), Danny Green (PHI), Dwight Howard (PHI), JaVale McGee (CLE), Rajon Rondo (ATL), J.R. Smith, Dion Waiters.
IN: Ty-Shon Alexander (R), Jae Crowder (MIA), Langston Galloway (DET), Damian Jones (ATL), E’Twaun Moore (NOP), Johnathan Motley (LAC), Abdel Nader (OKC), Chris Paul (OKC), Jalen Smith (R).
OUT: Aron Baynes (TOR), Cheick Diallo, Ty Jerome (OKC), Frank Kaminsky (SAC), Jalen Lecque (IND), Élie Okobo, Kelly Oubre (GSW), Tariq Owens, Ricky Rubio (MIN).
IN: Vincent Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton (R), Frank Kaminsky (PHX), Chimezie Metu (SAS), Jahmi’us Ramsey (R), Glenn Robinson III (PHI), Hassan Whiteside (POR), Robert Woodard (R).
OUT: Kent Bazemore (GSW), Bogdan Bogdanovic (ATL), Corey Brewer, Yogi Ferrell, Harry Giles (POR), Alex Len (TOR).
Predicted Division Winner: The Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers look like the best team in the league at the moment. After winning the title last season, they managed to extend the contracts of their main players LeBron and Anthony Davis, and it seems they further strengthened the roster with new acquisitions. Dennis Schroder has arrived in the City of Angels, who will bring more offensive potential to the team. In the interior, Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrel replaced Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee. Wesley Matthews should also contribute to the strong defense of the champions.