Perhaps the most star-studded group in all of the Association, the Pacific Division faces far more questions than answers ahead of the 2022-23 campaign, with aging veterans and injury concerns at the forefront.
That said, let’s look at what we might expect with the opening night (October 18) less than a week away.Golden State Warriors (+700)
2021-22 Record: 53-29 (Won NBA Championship)
Does the recent beef between Draymond Green and Jordan Poole diminish the Warriors’ chances of a repeat? I don’t think so. Instead, the bigger question is if Golden State’s youngsters like Poole, Jonathan Kuminga, and the returning James Wiseman can help take some of the load off veterans Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Green, who aren’t getting any younger.Los Angeles Clippers (+700)
2021-22 Record: 42-40 (Missed Playoffs)
A healthy Paul George and Kawhi Leonard have the Clips in the thick of the NBA title picture. Just how long the pair are both able to stay on the floor, however, is a legitimate concern.Phoenix Suns (+1000)
2021-22 Record: 64-18 (Lost in Conference Semifinals, 3-4)
Considering last season’s embarrassing 123-90 Game 7 loss to the Dallas Mavericks, Monty Williams‘s group is undoubtedly not lacking motivation. While Phoenix returns the majority of its 64-win team, can the Suns continue to count on a 37-year-old Chris Paul to get them over the hump? I’m not so sure.Los Angeles Lakers (+2700)
2021-22 Record: 33-49 (Missed Playoffs)
Coming off arguably the most disappointing campaign in franchise history, the Lakers failed to make any major offseason moves – the acquisition of Patrick Beverley serving as the most notable transaction. LA’s success relies firmly on LeBron James and Anthony Davis staying out of the trainer’s room, but that could be wishful thinking at this stage of their careers.Sacramento Kings (+49000)
2021-22 Record: 30-52 (Missed Playoffs)
The Kings possess as much talent as they have in years, with a potential starting five of De’Aaron Fox, Kevin Huerter/Malik Monk, Harrison Barnes, Domantas Sabonis, and 2022 first-round rookie Keegan Murray. Is it enough for Sacramento to finally end its record 16-year playoff drought? It wouldn’t shock me.
Curry was on his way to capturing his third career MVP award last season before cooling off in the year’s second half. The 34-year-old should have a few more elite seasons left in him as the unquestioned number-one option on offense.Rookie to Watch: F Keegan Murray (Kings)
The Kings surprised many when they selected Iowa’s Keegan Murray at No. 4 over Purdue’s Jaden Ivey. Murray looked the part in Summer League, averaging 23.0 points (50% shooting), seven rebounds, and two assists en route to earning MVP honors.
A versatile forward, the 22-year-old is poised to earn big minutes and should provide a significant boost on both ends of the floor.Favorite Futures Bet: Kings to Make Playoffs (+360)
I have Sacramento as one of my teams that could surprise in 2022-23. Head coach Mike Brown is a strong hire, and the Kings boast enough talent to at least earn a spot in the play-in tournament. At +360 odds, Sactown to reach the postseason is a tremendous value, in my view.