The NBA Season is ready to start on Christmas Day, the last couple of preseason games are being played as I write this up, and it's time for me to cater to every serious NBA fans love of season previews! The 2011 Geektastic Preview is going to be way too large for one article, so I'm dividing it up into divisions (and even so, it's going to be long, so get a cup of coffee!). I'm continuing the preview here with the Southwest Division, from worst to first.
NOTE: I've decided that this is going to be my last preview article. I realized that there are a ton of previews out there, and there are so many other interesting stories to tell. There's too much basketball going on, especially in this compressed season, to waste time doing previews! Next year things will be different but the compressed free-agent/trade season this year made it too hard to both wait for rosters to settle and still have time to crank out all the previews before the season starts.
If you're an eastern conference fan, never fear, I'll find plenty of stuff to write about your teams during the year!
Worst: The Sacromento Kings
The Kings appear to be making an all-out youth movement. They lost Dalembert but added Hayes. They simply don't have the firepower to make the playoffs, but it will be fun to see if Cousins is ready to become an NBA player.
Not Quite as Bad: The Golden State Warriors
Is Biedrins back? If he is, the Warriors will challenge the Suns for the middle of this division. Still, the fact that Curry might be dinged up a bit doesn't give me any confidence that this team will make the leap they need to make to contend for the playoffs in the tough West.
The Middle: The Phoenix Suns
The suns are powered by Steve Nash and Marcin Gortat, who has always been underrated (I guess playing behind Dwight Howard is a curse). They'll field a competitive team but the West looks very tough this year, so they will struggle to get a playoff berth.
Pretty Damn Good: The Los Angeles Lakers
At first blush one might thing they're done: Kobe's pissed off and injured, Odom is gone, Bynum is out 5 games. But McRoberts and Murphy will help a lot more that you think, and if Brown can wake up and realize that Luke Walton should never see the floor before Matt Barnes then the Lakers will still be a top-tier team.
First: The Los Angeles Clippers
Lob City got better not just by adding the best point guard in the league, but also through the improvement that sophomore Blake Griffin is likely to show, and by adding some great players for very cheaply, as the rest of the league mystifyingly did not want Chauncey Billups or Reggie Evans.