2002 NBA Preview

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CNNSI.com's Division Previews: Pacific
(Projected Order of Finish)
With two of the game's best players in Shaq and Kobe,
a superb head coach in Phil Jackson and a solid cast
of role players, the Lakers look as tough as ever.
Thanks to the return of Chris Webber and the acquisition
of point guard Mike Bibby, there's no reason to think the
Kings can't be in the title hunt again in 2002.
New head coach Maurice Cheeks must somehow find a
way to mesh all the egos in Portland and keep everyone
happy. That begins with the hot-headed Rasheed Wallace.
Phoenix has the talent to get back to the playoffs, but with
no inside game, and Penny Hardaway and Tom Gugliotta
questionable, it could quickly turn into the Marbury Show.
Behind talented youngsters Lamar Odom, Darius Miles,
Corey Maggette and Jeff McInnis, the Clippers have
thrown off their status as NBA doormats.
The Sonics have new retro-style uniforms that harken
back to the team's glory days, but no amount of nostalgia
can cover this team's rebuilding mode.
Golden State is nowhere near as bad as its record of
last season. If they can stay out of the trainer's room,
the Warriors could win 10 to 15 more games this season.


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