Analyzing the Pacific Division's Offseason Moves

It's a toss-up on which division is better between the Pacific and Atlantic divisions, but, nonetheless, the Pacific division has a lot of talent and could be labeled as the best divisions in basketball.

Golden State Warriors

This offseason, the Warriors parted ways with Ky Bowman, Dragan Bender, and Jeremy Pargo. They acquired Kelly Oubre, Kent Bazemore, Jeremy Lin, Brad Wanamaker, Dwayne Sutton, Axel Toupane, and Kaleb Wesson. They drafted James Wiseman with the 2nd pick, Nico Mannion with the 48th, and Justinian Jessup with the 51st.

It's been a tough going for the Warriors this past season as they dealt with injuries, and this season started with a bang as well... just not in a good way. First, there was Klay's injury which set them back more than you would think, and then there was the awful start to the regular season, losing a crushing loss to the Nets, 99-125. With the loss of Klay Thompson, I envy what Bob Myers did. No last-minute changes to the draft, stick to what we need, and that's exactly what he did. With Steve Kerr's system of coaching, the Warriors needed another shooting G/F that could fill the space of Thompson while he's absent. Andrew Wiggins was already the SF, so the Warriors went out and traded for Oubre. Now, Oubre is a great player, but due to the fact that the Warriors ventured over the salary cap and into the luxury tax, Oubre cost the franchise around $95M. Was it worth it? Well, I don't know how much money each team gets for getting into the playoffs, but if it's more than $95M, I think it was a good move. Kent Bazemore, the former Sacramento man, will also be joining the Warriors this season on a team-friendly deal worth $2.3M. Considering Bazemore was paid $19.2M to play for the Kings last season and he averaged 8.8 PPG, this is an absolute steal for the Warriors. Brad Wanamaker was also a solid, low-risk high reward pick up. Spending his last season with the Celtics, Wanamaker shot decent from three (36.3%) but it was his rookie year that he got it done, shooting 41% from three. Steve Kerr and the player development team will surely be looking to help Wanamaker with his ability to drive to the hoop because of his tremendous ability to shoot free throws, 92.6% last season. It's unclear whether Lin or Wanamaker will back up Curry, but as of now, I would expect it to be Wanamaker because he is more accustomed to the Warrior offense.

Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers parted ways with Montrezl Harrell, Landry Shamet, Rodney McGruder, Joakim Noah, and Justin Patton. They acquired Serge Ibaka, Luke Kennard, Nicolas Batum, Ky Bowman, Rayjon Tucker, Jordan Ford, and Malik Fitts. They drafted Daniel Oturu with the 33rd pick, Jay Scrubb with the 55th, and Reggie Perry with the 57th.

The beloved Montrezl Harrell and Landry Shamet may have headed to opposing teams, but they were replaced by two nearly equal talents. Let's start with Serge Ibaka. He may not be as physical and dominant in the paint as Harrell, but he will still be an anchor in the paint both on offense and defense. In addition to that, he brings something new to the Clippers that Harrell was unable to do, stretch the floor. Ibaka shot 38.5% from three last season with the Raptors, and this season, he picked right up from where he left off, shooting 71.4% from the field and 66.7% from three in his first game with the Clippers. Luke Kennard doesn't gain the credit that he deserves. Kennard will be the primary source of scoring off the bench for the Clippers. Last year, Kennard was one of the few bright spots of the Pistons, shooting 40% from three and scoring 15.8 PPG in 33 MPG. The only possible issue with Luke Kennard is his health status. If Kennard can remain healthy, he will be an integral component of the Clippers alternate lineup. Nicolas Batum may have a puny reputation in the NBA, being paid significant money for poor performance with the Hornets. I've referenced this type of situation before, Batum is a low-risk high reward player. The Clippers only paid $2.5M for Batum, but he will mainly aid on the defensive side. Batum's length and versatility will be the principal purpose behind why he's on the court. Batum has seemingly lost the three point touch that he previously possessed earlier in his career, but he still has shot the three at a 35.7% clip throughout his career. Ky Bowman was a roster move to increase depth. The low-risk high reward players just keep coming in, as I would deem Bowman one of these players. The Clippers are only shelling out $1.4M for Bowman this year, despite the fact that he averaged 7.4 PPG in 22.6 MPG in his rookie year.

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers might've lost Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard, Avery Bradley, JaVale McGee, and Danny Green, but they more than made up for it by adding Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell, Marc Gasol, Wesley Matthews, and Zavier Sampson.

It was a surprising offseason for the Lakers, but in a good way. Obviously, some of the departures came as a shock, but the reinforcements Rob Pelinka added to this team will keep the franchise on track to be competing for another championship. We saw what Schroder did last year for the Thunder, and we've seen what he's done for the Lakers so far this year. Although not known to be a three-point specialist, he is an excellent catch and shooter from deep, and the Lakers should be very excited to bring that level of shooting to the team because that area was one of the few they struggled in last season as a team, ranking 23rd in three-pointers made. Schroder has also shown that he has improved his passing game along with his rebounding. Schroder will be the designated starting point guard that the Lakers need and somewhat lacked last year. Rondo was the starter, but injuries caused Avery Bradley to become the starting point guard, despite being a shooting guard. Harrell will bring back the high intensity that Dwight Howard once brought to the Lakers. Whether that's horsing for offensive rebounds or dominating in the paint on offense or defense, he can do both. Harrell is also improving on the offensive end with his dribbling and mid-range game, so expect to see a bunch more points for him come from the mid-range area. Marc Gasol brings more veteran leadership, IQ, defense, and his offensive game is improving despite his age. Gasol wasn't previously known as a three-point shooter, but his accuracy from deep needs to be remarked as he shot 38.5% from deep last year with Toronto and 44.2% the year before. Gasol will play a large factor in the pick and roll situation with Dennis Schroder, as it appears Gasol will be starting. The reason he will be so impactful is because he can tear the defense apart with his array of post moves, but can also pop out to the three-point line and knock it down from deep at a high clip. Wesley Matthews isn't going to generate big amounts of points for this team, he will be more of the role player that KCP was last season. At 34, it is unknown how many more years Matthews has in the tank, but as of now, he is still looking good and healthy. I can't emphasize the fantastic job that Rob Pelinka has done. Obtaining great players is one thing, but to acquire them on the contracts that he did is even more mesmerizing. Schroder came in on the same contract that he previously had with the Thunder and the Hawks, $15,500,000. Pelinka acquired Harrell on a $9,258,000 deal, which, despite the $3,000,000 pay increase to last season with the Clippers, is still a great deal. Gasol went from a $26.6M contract to a $2.6M contract. I'm not sure what Pelinka said to Gasol, but whatever it was worked. The obvious assumption for Gasol to join the Lakers on such a meager contract is because of the opportunity to win a championship and to play with LeBron. Pelinka also acquired Wesley Matthews on a team-friendly deal worth $3.6M.

Phoenix Suns

It's been an absolutely wild offseason for the Suns, and I'll explain what to make of it right here.

The Suns lost Aron Baynes, Kelly Oubre, Ricky Rubio, Frank Kaminsky, Elie Okobo, Ty Jerome, Cheick Diallo, and Jalen Lecque to other organizations, but the trades and free agency signings are what is going to make this team playoff bound. They acquired Chris Paul, Jae Crowder, Langston Galloway, E'Twaun Moore, Abdel Nader, and even got Frank Kaminsky back from waivers. The Suns drafted Jalen Smith with the 10th pick.

It's clear that the Suns are doing everything they can to win now. The addition of Chris Paul proved that. Adding Paul came with a price, however. He will cost the team $41.3M this season and his player option for the 2021-22 season is worth $44.2M. Chris Paul paired with Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton will continue to work quite well just as it has so far this season. The untalked about portion of the Suns' offense is the shooters such as Galloway and Moore. Paul will find these guys and they will knock it down if given even an inch of space. Suns' general manager James Jones has not been given the credit he deserves. The addition of Jae Crowder was a great move and will highly benefit this team as we've seen already. Crowder is a very strong man and can defend multiple positions from the SG to the C. Langston Galloway is, simply put, a knockdown shooter. So far he is shooting 46.7% from three this season. Although E'Twaun Moore has only played 6 minutes through one game this season, expect him to bring the same effect Galloway does, just an elite three-point shooter. The Suns acquired Crowder on a three year, $29.16M deal, which I think is a good deal for Phoenix. Teams scower long and hard for a 3 and D type player, and Crowder is one of the best 3 and D players in the league. So for this rare of a talent to be acquired under this salary, simply a great move by James Jones. E'Twaun Moore was acquired under a team-friendly deal as well. He just came off of an $8.7M deal with the Pelicans, and the Suns cut that down $2.3M, just great work by the Suns' front office.

Sacramento Kings

The Kings are one of the few teams that had a poor offseason, parting ways with Bogdan Bogdanovic, Harry Giles, Kent Bazemore, and Alex Len. The only players they added were Hassan Whiteside and Chimezie Metu. With the return of Marvin Bagley III, it's almost as if they are adding a starting PF to their roster as well. They drafted Tyrese Haliburton with the 12th pick, Robert Woodard with the 40th, and Jahmi'us Ramsey with the 43rd.

At first, the departures don't make sense, but when you think about it, it does make sense. Letting go of Kent Bazemore was a wise move, as he was paid considerably too much while with the Kings. The Kings weren't looking to give another Bazemore contract to Bogdanovic and that is why they let him go to the Hawks. Bogdanovic will be paid $18M this season, and the Kings weren't willing to pay that. Harry Giles III was a questionable move, and it likely is surrounded by price. Giles is a very physical player, as we've seen in his brief time with the Blazers. The Kings would've been better off keeping Giles on his $3.9M player option to push Bjelica to a third-string option at either the SF or PF. The pickup of Hassan Whiteside was a great one, but the Kings aren't using him properly. Hassan is a dominant player both on offense and defense (in the paint only). Whiteside has averaged a double-double since 2014 despite not playing 30 MPG until last season with the Blazers (before that he played in Lebanon and played around 4 MPG in his short, 18 game span in the NBA). As we know, Whiteside was also the NBA leader in blocks per game last year. All these terrific statistics and his awesome play last season, and he has averaged 11.8 MPG in his short stint so far with the Kings. Sacramento has taken in a very well built center, they need to put him to use shortly if they want to win. As for Whiteside's contract, they acquired him on a team-friendly deal worth $2.3M.

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