I sat down with longtime Hornets radio analyst Gerry Vaillancourt recently, to get his thoughts on the other 14 clubs in the Western Conference. The 27-minute interview is split into three segments and available in Hornets.coms audio section.
Heres a brief synopsis of the issues and topics Vaillancourt addressed on each team. Leave your opinions about the West in the comments section of this blog post:
Southwest Division (length 7:54)
San Antonio How much of a factor will age have, as well as Manu Ginobilis early-season injury absence?
Dallas What effect will Rick Carlisle have on the Mavericks pace and style of play?
Houston Ron Artests arrival could make Rockets one of Wests elite teams.
Memphis Grizzlies have nice group of young talent but remain in rebuilding mode.
Northwest Division (7:53)
Utah Jazz need to cut down on fouls, but have one of leagues best core groups.
Denver How will Nuggets compensate on defensive end for loss of Marcus Camby?
Portland New players Greg Oden, Rudy Fernandez and Jerryd Bayless have potential to make Trail Blazers a very dangerous team.
Minnesota Timberwolves need to shoot better to open up operating room for Al Jefferson.
Oklahoma City Thunder could be in for long season but are looking down the road at improvement.
Pacific Division (11:06)
L.A. Lakers Keep an eye on Andrew Bynums return to the lineup and health.
Phoenix It will be interesting to see if Suns can revamp their style of play under new head coach Terry Porter.
Golden State Point guard situation bears watching, with Monta Ellis injured and Baron Davis gone in free agency.
Sacramento A rebuilding Kings team, already near the bottom of the NBA in defense last season, will miss Ron Artest at that end.
L.A. Clippers On paper there is some talent but have health and chemistry question marks.