We'll finish up our league-wide predictions with a trip to the home of the defending champs. I have the Pacific division sending two teams to the playoffs. Predictions and thoughts after the jump.
1. Lakers (59-23) - In my opinion, signing Artest was an unnecessary risk. Ariza was a perfect fit for what the Lakers need - a player to take the toughest defensive assignment, to save Kobe, and hit open threes once in a while - Artest is a step slower, and really needs the ball too much for his role. I think we could see some turmoil in that locker room, but not enough to knock them out of the top seed in the West.
2. Suns (44-38) - If Amare spends the season in Phoenix, and remains healthy, the Suns make their hiatus from the playoffs a one-year deal.
3. Clippers (30-52) - The subtraction of Zach Randolph makes more of a difference than the addition of Blake Griffin, still, 30 wins is their ceiling.
4. Warriors (28-54) - The Stephen Jackson situation will not end well. I like the young talent, but I think Nellie is on the verge of losing that team.
5. Kings (18-64) - Tyreke Evans and Kevin Martin (if healthy) will probably put up unbelievable numbers in Paul Westphal's offense, but it won't make a whole lot of difference in the grand scheme of things.
Here's your playoff seeding:
5. New Orleans
Thoughts in the comments. Camp is underway!!!!!!!!!!