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Pacific division 2014-15 predictions

Even the bad teams in the Pacific are going to be fun to watch. How will they all fare?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers (2013-14 record: 27-55)

Earlier this summer Mitch Kupchak said, "Our goal every year is the same - to win a championship." My initial reaction to this was "THE NBA CHAMPIONSHIP?!?" and I can't say that my thoughts have changed much over time. If the Lakers couldn't get LeBron or Love, they needed to break up the team and get to a fresh start. They're now in the awkward position of MAYBE contending for the playoffs (if Kobe, by great Odin's wrath, winds his body clock back to 2008), and aren't good enough to go far and not bad enough to get a high draft pick. Ed Davis was a great, cheap pickup, and Julius Randle fell in the Lakers' lap, but this Los Angeles franchise won't be anything to write home about for quite some time.

Predicted record: 30-52

Sacramento Kings (2013-14 record: 28-54)

Sacramento has been such an intriguing team over the past few seasons because they've been so much more talented than their records have shown. Substituting Isaiah Thomas for Darren Collison gets rid of some of that talent, and while it is an upgrade defensively, it's a much bigger downgrade offensively. Nobody is really sure what the Kings' long-term plan is, but a good portion of the focus should be on developing Ben McLemore and Nik Stauskus. Along with these two, DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay are questions heading into next season. With all of the talent on the USMNT FIBA roster, DeMarcus Cousins was the main story by combining great play with fewer tantrums. If Boogie can keep that play and mindset in the regular season, and Rudy Gay can continue his torrid pace from the second half of last season, we may start to see some progress with the Sacramento Kings.

Predicted record: 30-52

Phoenix Suns (2013-14 record: 48-34)

Speaking of Isaiah Thomas, the Phoenix Suns now flaunt an absolute terror of a backcourt of Eric Bledsoe, Isaiah Thomas, and the Dragic brothers. The Suns didn't sneak into the playoffs last year, despite 48 wins because Western Conference. They were probably the best team to not make the playoffs ever, and the scary thing is that they are only going to get better. They are loaded with young talent (which I was going to list, but then realized it's basically the entire team), and have a bajillion draft picks for the next four years. Overall, the Suns had a great summer and will burst into the top half of the playoff picture sooner than later.

Predicted record: 49-33

Golden State Warriors (2013-14 record: 51-31)

The Splash Brothers and friends are heading into their third season of playoff fun time, but this season is filled with question marks for them. Can their starting five stay healthy? Can Steve Kerr coach? Can Harrison Barnes return to his rookie form after a disastrous sophomore year? Shaun Livingston is a great addition who will mesh well with Curry and Thompson, but he's sidelined the first few weeks of the regular season. Unless Livingston and Barnes bring their A-games and the team can stay relatively healthy, I don't think this team is deep enough to be considered amongst the NBA elite.

Predicted record: 49-33

Los Angeles Clippers (2013-14 record: 57-25)

Heading into this offseason, the Clippers had a rim protection problem to solve. So of course they pick up Spencer Hawes, defensive extraordinaire nightmare! DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin, Glen Davis, and Spencer Hawes form a seriously underwhelming defensive frontcourt, and teams should look to punish them in the paint. Joe Ingles, CJ Wilcox, and Jordan Farmar are good additions, but I'd be surprised to see them as substantial difference-makers this season. The Clippers have no excuse for an early round exit this year, but if it happens, it may be time for a shakeup. But Donald Sterling is gone, so that's something.

Predicted record: 58-24