NBA West Coast Switchup
The NBA is reeling after the Golden State Warriors won their second championship in three years against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, thanks to new addition and former MVP, Kevin Durant. The Warriors’ dominance has caused one of the crazier off-seasons in recent memory during a free-agency period that saw several Eastern Conference all-stars move over to an already stacked Western Conference, turning it into the NBA equivalent of the Mad Max Thunderdome.
Let’s examine some West Coast NBA teams, previewing their outlook and transactions to get prepared for the incoming basketball season!
Golden State Warriors
After suffering an embarrassing defeat to LeBron James’ Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals by blowing a 3-1 series lead, the Warriors came back harder than ever. The Warriors starting lineup boasted three all-stars in Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, a core group that won a championship together in 2015. But then they added Kevin Durant to the mix—the perennial second best player in the league behind LeBron James, and in some eyes, the best player in the NBA—and Durant immediately turned the unstoppable Warriors into an even scarier version of themselves. It paid off for the Warriors, and they managed to easily beat the Cavs in the 2017 Finals. The Warriors have everyone playing catch-up.
Departures: Matt Barnes, Ian Clark, James McAdoo
Additions: Jordan Bell, Chris Boucher, Omri Casspi, Nick Young
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers’ glory years have been over for a few years now. Kobe Bryant is gone, and the team has made terrible moves. Magic Johnson has come along with hopes of saving the team by drafting the much-hyped Lonzo Ball out of UCLA, who seemed destined to be a Laker. Johnson’s hopes don’t stop there, however, as he has plans to try and sign Paul George and LeBron James next year. In the meantime, the Lakers will probably be just as bad as the Kings while they work towards their lofty goals.
Departures: Tarik Black, Timofey Mozgov, David Nwaba, Thomas Robinson, D’Angelo Russell, Metta World Peace, Nick Young
Additions: Lonzo Ball, Vander Blue, Thomas Bryant, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso, Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma, Brook Lopez
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers made one of the biggest moves of the off-season by trading all-star point guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets, where he will team up with another all-star by the name of James Harden, runner-up MVP this past season. The Clippers got a nice return for Paul, but nothing that equals his value on the court. They did re-sign Blake Griffin, and he’ll have decent enough role players behind him and a passable coach in Doc Rivers to somehow make it to the playoffs in the brutal Western Conference—perhaps seeing Chris Paul and the Rockets in the process.
Departures: Alan Anderson, Brandon Bass, Jamal Crawford, Raymond Felton, Luc Mbah a Moute, Chris Paul, Paul Pierce, J.J. Redick, Marreese Speights, Diamond Stone
Additions: Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Jawun Evans, Danilo Gallinari, Montrezl Harrell, DeAndre Liggins, Willie Reed, Miloš Teodosić, Sindarius Thornwell, Lou Williams, Jamil Wilson
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