NBA Pre-season win predictions: Western Conference, Pacific Division

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Jan 4, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns forward T.J. Warren (12) against the Toronto Raptors at US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Raptors 125-109. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Phoenix Suns

Last season: 39 – 43

This season: 35 – 47

I’ve been to Phoenix and, though too hot for my taste, it’s certainly a pleasant enough city. Why don’t basketball players want to stick around? Last year Goran Dragic decided he wanted out, made his distaste public, and forced a trade to Miami. Then Markieff Morris got bent out of shape because the team traded his brother Marcus to the Detroit Pistons. Markieff is at camp (what choice did he have?) but I can’t imagine him lasting the season.

Their roster isn’t the worst; I’ve always liked Brandon Knight at point, Tyson Chandler can still be a force in the defensive paint, Eric Bledsoe is a proven scorer, P.J. Tucker makes opposing shooters miserable, Markieff can certainly play a sound power forward if he’s in the mood. They don’t have a star on the rise, but they are young and well-balanced. I hope they give T.J. Warren more minutes than last season – I think he’s a swingman with a bright future.

Still, it’s a team that needs to gel quickly (after all, they’re in the West), and I don’t think they can or will.

Next: Tick, Tock - is time running out on this great (on paper) team?