- Associated Press - Monday, October 20, 2014

Capsules for the NBA’s Pacific Division teams, listed in predicted order of divisional finish by AP Basketball Writer Jon Krawczynski:




LAST SEASON: 57-25, lost to Oklahoma City 4-2 in second round.

STARTING FIVE: G Chris Paul (19.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 10.7 apg), G J.J. Redick (15.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 2.2 apg), F Blake Griffin (24.1 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 3.9 apg), F Matt Barnes (9.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.0 apg), C DeAndre Jordan (10.4 pgg, 13.6 rpg, 2.5 bpg).

KEY ADDITIONS: G Jordan Farmar (free agent, Lakers), F/C Spencer Hawes (free agent, Cavaliers), G Jared Cunningham (free agent, Kings), G Chris Douglas-Roberts (free agent, Hornets).

KEY LOSSES: G Darren Collison (free agent, Kings), G/F Jared Dudley (trade, Bucks), F Danny Granger (free agent, Heat), G Willie Green (waivers, Magic), C Ryan Hollins (free agent, Kings).

COACH: Doc Rivers, second season.

EYES ON: Steve Ballmer. He could rival Mark Cuban of the Mavericks for most excitable owner in the NBA with his over-the-top enthusiasm. Hawes, a 7-footer, was a key addition to the frontcourt as a backup to Griffin and Jordan. Paul, Griffin and Jordan enter their fourth season together with expectations running high to win the franchise’s first NBA title.

OUTLOOK: Ballmer, the former Microsoft CEO, spent a record $2 billion to buy the team and has vowed to give Rivers and his players whatever they need to win a championship. If the Clippers don’t at least advance to the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history, their season will be considered a disappointment.



LAST SEASON: 51-31, lost to Los Angeles Clippers 4-3 in first round.

STARTING FIVE: G Stephen Curry (24.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 8.5 apg), G Klay Thompson (18.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.2 apg), F Andre Iguodala (9.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 4.2 apg), F David Lee (18.2 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 4.2 apg), C Andrew Bogut (7.3 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 1.8 bpg).

KEY ADDITIONS: G Shaun Livingston (free agent, Nets), G Leandro Barbosa (free agent, Suns/Brazil), F Brandon Rush (free agent, Utah), F Jason Kapono (free agent, Greece).

KEY LOSSES: C Jermaine O’Neal (retired), G Steve Blake (free agent, Blazers), G Jordan Crawford (free agent, China).

COACH: Steve Kerr, first season.

EYES ON: Kerr. He won three NBA titles playing for Phil Jackson in Chicago and another two for Gregg Popovich in San Antonio but has never been a coach, spending the last few years as a TNT broadcaster after serving as the Phoenix Suns’ general manager. He takes over a talented team that ownership believes underachieved last season under Mark Jackson, who was fired after three years.

OUTLOOK: The starting lineup might be as good as any in the NBA, the bench should be better and if they can stay healthy - a big if the past two years, especially with Bogut - the Warriors should be among the favorites in the Western Conference.



LAST SEASON: 48-34, ninth in Western Conference.

STARTING FIVE: G Eric Bledsoe (17.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 5.5 apg), G Goran Dragic (20.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 5.9 apg), F P.J. Tucker (9.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.7 apg), F Anthony Tolliver (6.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 0.7 apg) or Markieff Morris (13.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.8 apg), C Miles Plumlee (8.1 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 0.5 apg).

KEY ADDITIONS: G Isaiah Thomas (sign and trade, Kings), Tolliver (free agent, Hornets).

KEY LOSSES: F Channing Frye (free agent, Magic).

COACH: Jeff Hornacek, second season.

EYES ON: The backcourt. This team is built around point guards and, with the addition of Thomas, the Suns plan to have two good ones on the court at all times. The Suns, arguably the most surprising team in the NBA a year ago, thrived when Bledsoe was healthy and teaming with Dragic. Thomas would rather start but says he’s content to come off the bench as long as the minutes are about the same.

OUTLOOK: Hornacek wants the Suns to play even faster than they did a year ago, when they led the NBA in fastbreak points. The team didn’t do much to strengthen its frontcourt, counting on second-year center Alex Len to show improvement and Plumlee to make progress in his second full season. The Suns could be a better team than a year ago and still not make the playoffs in the tough Western Conference.



LAST SEASON: 27-55, 14th in Western Conference.

STARTING FIVE: G Jeremy Lin (12.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 4.1 apg), G Kobe Bryant (13.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 6.3 apg), F Wesley Johnson (9.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.6 apg), F Carlos Boozer (13.7 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 1.6 apg), C Jordan Hill (9.7 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 0.9 bpg).

KEY ADDITIONS: Lin (trade, Rockets), Boozer (amnesty waivers, Bulls), F Ed Davis (free agent, Grizzlies), F Julius Randle (draft, Kentucky), G Ronnie Price (free agent, Magic).

KEY LOSSES: C Pau Gasol (free agent, Bulls), G Jodie Meeks (free agent, Pistons), G Jordan Farmar (free agent, Clippers), G Kendall Marshall (waivers, Bucks), G Kent Bazemore (free agent, Hawks).

COACH: Byron Scott, first season.

EYES ON: Bryant. The 36-year-old superstar is back for his 19th season with the Lakers after playing in just six games last year. He appears fully healthy after two major injuries, but Bryant’s notoriously thin patience will be tested by this patchwork lineup of castoffs, backups and Plan B’s. If the Lakers struggle as much as expected, look out for the fireworks.

OUTLOOK: It hasn’t been this bleak in Lakerland in decades. It’s tough to say Los Angeles has improved last season’s 27-win team, and the injury problems that crippled last year’s lineup have already sprouted again in the preseason with Nick Young’s long-term absence. If Bryant and Steve Nash are a healthy semblance of their old selves, the Lakers have a chance to contend for a postseason berth. If not, they’ll almost certainly miss the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1976.



LAST SEASON: 28-54, 13th in Western Conference.

STARTING FIVE: G Darren Collison (11.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 3.7 apg), G Ben McLemore (8.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.0 apg), F Rudy Gay (20.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.1 apg), F Reggie Evans (5.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 0.7 apg), C DeMarcus Cousins (22.7 ppg, 11.7 rpg, 2.9 apg).

KEY ADDITIONS: Collison (free agent, Clippers), G Ramon Sessions (free agent, Bucks), F Omri Casspi (free agent, Houston), G Nik Stauskas (draft, Michigan).

KEY LOSSES: G Isaiah Thomas (trade, Suns), F Quincy Acy (trade, Knicks), C Aaron Gray (free agent, Bulls).

COACH: Michael Malone, second season.

EYES ON: Cousins. He’s among the best centers in the NBA, but also the most unpredictable. Cousins has led the league in technical fouls the past two seasons and earned several fines and suspensions for his behavior. He also can be an unstoppable force on the court when he controls his emotions, and he played a big role in helping the U.S. win gold at the FIBA World Cup this summer.

OUTLOOK: Sacramento made strides late last season behind Cousins and Gay, who showed they could score with any of the NBA’s best duos. Whether Malone can get the Kings to play team defense remains a major question. Sacramento also is stuck in a difficult division and a deep conference, so even if they improve the Kings will likely end up in the same spot they’ve finished the last eight seasons: in the draft lottery.

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