- BetOnline lists the Los Angeles Clippers (-125) as the heavy favorite to win the Pacific after the acquisitions of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George
- The Los Angeles Lakers (+275) trade for Anthony Davis leaves the team with a razor-thin roster
- The Golden State Warriors (+350) will likely be without Klay Thompson until at least March
Golden State’s streak of five-straight division titles looks to be in grave danger with Klay Thompson set to miss most of the season recovering from a torn ACL and Kevin Durant now in Brooklyn.
With the Warriors’ superteam now in shambles, two Staples Center tenants will fight for Pacific supremacy. So, who will win the Battle of LA—the Lakers duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis or the Clippers pairing of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George?
Let’s review the divisional odds at BetOnline and make a pick.
NBA PACIFIC DIVISION ODDS
|Los Angeles Clippers||-150|
|Los Angeles Lakers||+275|
|Golden State Warriors||+350|
THE FAVORITE: LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
The Clippers enter the season with two big advantages over the Lakers—defense and depth. In addition to being a two-time NBA Finals MVP, Kawhi has won Defensive Player of the Year twice. PG13 has also claimed either First Team All-Defense or Second Team All-Defense four times in his career.
Fierce defender Patrick Beverley was also resigned in the offseason to share point guard duties with Landry Shamet, whose impressive rookie season led to a call-up to Team USA’s select team.
Kawhi donated a MILLION backpacks today to students all over the LA area ? @kawhileonard @LAClippers pic.twitter.com/TiZprWVavA
— Overtime (@overtime) August 20, 2019
Three-time (and defending) Sixth Man of the Year Award winner Lou Williams will light it up from outside and run pick-and-rolls with 25-year-old big man Montrezl Harrell, while trade acquisition Moe Harkless will provide solid wing depth.
This is by no means a super team, but if everyone stays healthy they might be the NBA’s best.
THE OLD GUYS: LOS ANGELES LAKERS
The Lakers are bringing back eight-time All-Star Dwight Howard to replace center Demarcus Cousins, who recently tore his ACL. The 15-year NBA veteran will join a long list of recognizable names (Rajon Rondo, Jared Dudley and Danny Green) on the team’s bench.
Like those guys, 34-year-old LeBron James is also past his prime, but he’s nowhere near finished. After missing the postseason for only the third time in his career, LeBron will be motivated to make the most of his time with Anthony Davis.
Cody Bellinger almost left Anthony Davis hanging ?
— ESPN (@espn) August 21, 2019
The Ringer’s Kevin Conner doesn’t think it’s out of the question for AD to put up the first season of 30 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks in NBA history. Could an MVP-worthy season from Davis be enough to win a division title?
NOT DONE YET: GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
With both LA teams poised to play the load management game all season long, the door may be open for the Warriors to defend their division title.
Golden State re-signed Draymond Green to a four-year, $100-million max contract extension and executed a savvy sign-and-trade with the Nets to replace the salary of the Brooklyn-bound Durant with All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell. The team also brought back tough guy Kevon Looney and signed athletic center Willie Cauley-Stein.
Steph Curry’s going 1v1 with some random dude at the park on a Sunday.
He really is the greatest guy ever. ? pic.twitter.com/pMFFl0tFU9
— Chris Montano (@gswchris) August 26, 2019
With precious little else on offense, Steph Curry will be unleashed to take 20 shots per game like he was doing in the second of his back-to-back MVP seasons. This is a good thing.
The Warriors will also be a motivated team with one of the league’s smartest head coaches in Steve Kerr. If you like longshots as much as Steph, don’t be afraid to take Golden State at +350 to win the Pacific.