Welcome to the Western Conference portion of the most accurate ‘Season Preview’ available on the internet. After hours and hours of research/speaking with anonymous sources, our team has concluded that the West is stacked. That being said, let’s check out the Pacific Division.
The Pacific Division
The Golden State Warriors
Best Case Scenario: Enough Splash Brother butt touches that Warriors fans are all like, “Kevin Who?”
Worst Case Scenario: Andrew Bogut’s knees and back spontaneously combust, Andre Iguodala decides he’d like to take on more ball handing duties, Steph Curry steps away from the game to focus on golf, all Warriors fans lose interest and go back to designing new apps.
Breakout Star: Steve Kerr’s inside jokes with sideline reporters.
Best Case Scenario: Klay Thompson gets taller by several inches and grows a beard… and changes his name to Kevin Love.
Worst Case Scenario: ESPN HEADLINE – “Mamma, There Goes That Penis: Mark Jackson Streaks at Oracle Arena… AGAIN.”
Breakout Star: Heat Checks! (Curry, Klay, Craft, Kerr)
Best Case Scenario: Stephen Curry never misses again. Klay Thompson’s on-ball defense turns into him sitting Indian-style (pretty racist, right?) near the 3-point line. Shaun Livingston’s wingspan continues to grow till he can high-five now-broadcaster Mark Jackson while laying the ball in.
Worst Case Scenario: Steve Kerr’s hellspawn army of hair product creationists demand players gel their hair prior to all team activities. Nemanja Nedovic’s confidence plummets.
Breakout Star: Ognjen Kuzmic’s name.
Best Case Scenario: Steph Curry shoots a three which, fracturing heaven in its upwards arc, spills all that good heaven stuff on the rest of us
Worst Case Scenario: Anyone associated with the Warriors organization actually begins to believe all that stuff about Klay Thomas being as valuable as Kevin Love, and worthy of a max contract
Breakout Star: The state itself, when an earthquake reveals that the name “Golden State” was actually a message from aliens who left Earth long before the birth of man as to what California is really composed of. Falling gold prices destroy the economy, but it’s pretty beautiful anyhow.
The Los Angeles Clippers
Best Case Scenario: We all get to imagine Kobe plotting terrorist revenge from his basement as he watches a Clippers title parade down Hollywood Blvd.
Worst Case Scenario: Chris Paul permanently destroys Blake’s confidence in a locker room “moral of the story” character-building psychological ploy gone terribly wrong. The team is upset by a menacing, maniacal Kobe in full Bond villain mode.
Breakout Star: Some Funny or Die video Blake will do.
Best Case Scenario: Steve Ballmer is determined to eradicate the dark past of the Clippers by making the Cliff Paul commercials go away forever.
Worst Case Scenario: Steve Ballmer demands and funds a full length feature film about Cliff Paul. Ballmer insists on playing Cliff’s father.
Breakout Star: A GOAT named PENNY
Best Case Scenario: Doc Rivers’ starting lineup becomes a centrifugal force in the half-court; team bludgeons the Lake Show further into irrelevance, wins newly implemented Least Racist Team of the Year Award.
Worst Case Scenario: Steve Ballmer re-sells the team to Sonald Dterling, a man with a glorious dago mustache who looks eerily like someone else.
Breakout Star: Glen Davis’ budget.
Best Case Scenario: Clippers finally win a championship, ruining the career of thousands of L.A. journalists who wrote 100 “Does Chris Paul really have what it takes?” and “How much more important is Blake Griffin than CP3” columns, before heading to the beach for a season.
Worst Case Scenario: That not happening.
Breakout Star: The state itself. As the Ancient Aliens foretold.
The Phoenix Suns
Best Case Scenario: In a sudden and unexpected twist, the league bans players over 6’9” or ones who weigh more than 240 pounds. With 11 point guards, the Suns cruise to the NBA title.
Worst Case Scenario: Marcus and Markeiff hate each other’s Christmas gifts, splintering their relationship, dividing the locker room, and sending the team into a second half tailspin. They miss the playoffs.
Breakout Star Scenario: Five point guard lineups. “Win without rebounds” being the new “Seven Seconds or Less.”
Best Case Scenario: Zoran Dragic reaches his full potential quicker than anyone expected. We start to debate whether or not he’s ‘the chosen one.’
Worst Case Scenario: Zoran Dragic discovers the dark side and is forever changed for the worst. He proceeds to kill Samuel L. Jackson, Alec Guinness and at least a dozen younglings. He eventually loses some limbs because he lost the high ground.
Breakout Star: The high ground.
Best Case Scenario: Head coach Jeff Hornacek makes history by benching Miles Plumlee and Markieff Morris in favor of starting two more guards, creating the NBA’s first five-guard lineup. The Zoran-Goran brother tandem makes Slovenia proud and Blake Griffin nostalgic.
Worst Case Scenario: Eric Bledsoe bathes in a pool of cash, inadvertently drowning Gerald Green in the process.
Breakout Star: Shavlik Randolph’s Tinder game.
Best Case Scenario: Their crazy Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic, Tyler Ennis, Isaiah Thomas allows them to play two point guards in both their starting and backup lineups, raining a hail of crazy dimes down on anyone dumb enough to actually show up to play against them.
Worst Case Scenario: Their offseason turns out to make as little sense as it seems like it did. Still though, crazy good deal for IT2.
Breakout Star: It turned out three, three teams from California. Also, the state itself, as it turns out the name of the city of Phoenix was a message from aliens who etc, that underneath the barren desert lives a magical bird whose cycle of death and rebirth is capable of providing clean, environmentally friendly energy to the whole region, so long as it is captured and tortured in just the right way.
The Los Angeles Lakers
Best Case Scenario: Kobe manages not to turn himself into the Pete Rose of basketball, which is absolutely, 1000% where his career is headed right now. The team lands the #1 pick in the draft next year.
Worst Case Scenario: The Lakers dupe the Hawks into a Ryan Kelly – Al Horford trade and the Celts into a Xavier Henry – Rajon Rondo heads-up swap, but both deals go south at the 25th hour when Kobe starts sending both players weird, threatening “MY TEAM, MY WAY” texts.
Breakout Star Scenario: Anonymous locker room sources.
Best Case Scenario: Nick Young dribbles the ball down court. Kobe gets three feet away from Young with his hands reaching out for the ball. Young looks him off and runs a pick and roll with Carlos Boozer. What happens next is too inappropriate for a TrueHoop blog to publish.
Worst Case Scenario: Sadly, it’s already happened. Love you, Steve.
Breakout Star: Kobe. It’s always been Kobe.
Best Case Scenario: Robert Sacre continues his sideline antics. With Nash hurt, the Lakers find a way to get Bazemore back from Atlanta. Sacre teams up with Kent Bazemore to create the crème fraîche of NBA benches.
Worst Case Scenario: The Sacre-Bazemore crème fraîche of NBA benches sours (see what I did there?), Kobe’s eats preseason player rankings/assaults Swaggy P during timeout breaks, team implodes.
Breakout Star: Julius Randle’s podium game.
Best Case Scenario: A strange cosmic event causes citizens of Los Angeles to chill out a little bit and start saying stuff like “you know, it’s okay that the team isn’t that good and Kobe isn’t what he used to be. Just want to see one of the best that ever was play out his string.”
Worst Case Scenario: Locker room becomes uninhabitable, haunted by ghost of Pau Gasol
Breakout Star: Jesus, how many teams from California are in this division.
The Sacramento Kings
Best Case Scenario: Boogie tells the rest of the league, “GET OUT OF MY WAY” and the team surges to the Western Conference playoffs.
Worst Case Scenario: Rudy Gays tells his teammates, “get out of my way,” and by that I mean, he stands and dribbles the ball in place, then misses a million and one threes.
Breakout Star Scenario: Totally gonna be Darren Collison’s breakout year. That signing just made so much sense. Darren Collison screams, “missing piece,” right?
Best Case Scenario: DeMarcus Cousins is ‘WIRED’ the next time he plays Chris Paul.
Worst Case Scenario: It would be THE WORST if Sacramento let go of Isaiah Thomas and replaced him with Darren Collison.
Breakout Star: Boogie’s big ‘breakout’ moment will come when he releases his tell-all book about his feelings on Chris Paul.
Best Case Scenario: Rudy Gay realizes the error of his ways, demands new deal that includes only being paid in Soviet rubles.
Worst Case Scenario: DeMarcus Cousins steals Nik Stauskas’ 3-point attempts by grabbing them mid-air, totals unprecedented rebounding numbers; but leads the Kings to 60-loss season.
Breakout Star: Sleep Train Arena’s ceiling after Sim Bhullar cracks the top of it midway through the first quarter on opening night.
Best Case Scenario: Omri Casspi, Darren Collison, and DeMarcus Cousins become known as “The Killer Cs” even though only one of them is not awful at basketball. This newfound camaraderie drives the team to a wholly unexpected pennant. Carl Landry tries to join, but the guys are like nope
Worst Case Scenario: They let Isaiah Thomas go in the offseason, even though he got mad underpaid, and their PG lineup for the season is Darren Collison and Ramon Sessions. In fact, the starting backcourt is Darren Collison and Ben McLemore. This would be the…wait, what?
Breakout Star: Four? Seriously? Four teams? What a horrible division to whip out my “the state itself” joke in. I’m calling my congressman. THE CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE.