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2013 Predictions: Pacific Division

For Atlantic Division results and a brief discussion of methods, see here. For the Central Division see here. For the Southeast Division see here. For the Southwest Division see here.

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PACIFIC DIVISION:

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This is an interesting team. The Sun's will very likely sport a starting lineup with all positive differential players. Indy is the only other team to accomplish this feat. Unfortunately, the Suns are also one of the few teams without a single "star" player.

It may be difficult for Minnesota fans to swallow, but RAPM and counterpart production agree that Beasley was a plus defender last season. I remember in 2011 he ranked as one of the best isolation defenders in the league, but seemed to really blow it by routinely leaving shooters open. We may be looking at noise, or we may be looking at Beasley beginning to turning the corner. Oh well... I will happily pass along the torch of waiting for Beasley to "get it." Good luck Phoenix!

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The Warriors are almost entirely dependent on the sustained health of Bogut and Curry. That is a scary proposition. An injury to either player, or giving too many minutes to Barnes (assuming he is anywhere near as bad as I have him pegged) will drop Golden State behind Phoenix quickly.

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Decent young core. I'm still waiting for DeMarcus to turn into a legitimate star player. He certainly flashes it on occasion. If the "defense is contagious" idea has any merit, James Johnson could prove a very important acquisition given that none of last seasons players is a likely vector.

Who didn't anticipate Jimmer's failue? To paraphrase Ben Franklin: "Those who would sacrifice production to appeal to a niche fan-base deserve neither and will lose both."

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Blake Griffin is good. Chris Paul is better.

This team doesn't look like a contender, but if Odom rekindles his 2010/11 production, DeAndre Jordan improves his game, and Jamal Crawford gets injured they may have a shot.

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There was a brief period, post-Kirilenko and pre-Howard, where I felt the Wolves might finally be on level with the Lakers. That dream died hard. Once again, the Lakers find themselves on the winning end of an obscenely lopsided trade. Bynum is a great player, but assuming the back injury isn't a major issue, Howard is at least one tier above every non-LeBron player in the league.

Jodie Meeks was a really good pickup. He plays good defense and makes absolutely no attempt to step outside of his niche offensively. Antawn Jamison is well past his "sell-by" date. I really hope the Lakers decide to give him heavy minutes, because that may be the only thing slowing them down.

Next up: The Northwest Division

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