Our final chapter of the All-Division project, ending with the very unevenly matched Pacific division, with the dominating champions, the LA Lakers, the fun-to-watch Phoenix Suns who won’t go far in the playoffs, and the Kings, Warriors and Clippers, who might have a potentially bright future, but their main goals this season seems to be another lottery pick.
For our previous posts – Atlantic division, Central division, Southeast division, Southwest division, Northwest division.
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
An easy no brainer, with another MVP type of season, although LeBron is looking more likely to win his second. Kobe is leading the Lakers, injured or not, to another best record finish in the West and probably entering the playoffs as the favorites to win it all. He’s averaging 27.7 points per game (4th in the league) with 5.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists. Most importantly, he wins games, single handily at times, with six game winning shots in his resume so far this season.
Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns
After missing the playoffs in 2008-2009, Nash is leading the Suns back to the post-season with another great season for the Canadian point guard who just doesn’t seem to end. He has slowed down a bit after an amazing start to this season, but still, 16.9 points and 11.1 assists per game (2nd in the league) while shooting over 50% from the field and 40% from the three, orchestrating the best offense in the league.
Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers
He has suffered from an injury or two this season, but Gasol is still the number 2 man on till proven otherwise, the best team in the league, looking much improved on defense and in the paint despite a little drop in his point average. Numbers – 16.9 points , 11 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. If he isn’t healthy in the post season, the Lakers don’t win their second consecutive title.
Amar’e Stoudemire, Phoenix Suns
I thought about making this a Laker trio front line, but still, I’d rather have Amar’e on my team than Odom. He’ll never win defensive player of the year and probably won’t be in any All-NBA defense team, but he’s one of the best scoring big men in the league if not the best of them. Finally enjoying a healthy season, Amar’e is scoring 22.2 points (10th) and grabbing 8.8 rebounds per game on the gung-ho type of basketball the Suns play. It probably won’t win him a championship, but it’s fun to watch and having Nash to dish you the basketball helps your stats.
Center – Andrew Bynum, Los Angeles Lakers
Like Amar’e, Bynum has a lot of work on the defensive side, but the big man is developing nicely on a team filled with players who like to have the ball in their hands. He’s averaging a career high 14.9 points while grabbing 8.2 rebounds per game, also finally enjoying a healthy season after playing only 85 games in the previous two seasons, complementing a fantastic Lakers front line.