Gerry V breaks down team's Western Conference foes

Saturday, October 18, 2008
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

I’m planning to check in periodically with the Hornets’ TV and radio broadcasters this season for updates and their observations on the team.

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.com’s audio section.

Here’s 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 Ginobili’s early-season injury absence?
• Dallas – What effect will Rick Carlisle have on the Mavericks’ pace and style of play?
• Houston – Ron Artest’s arrival could make Rockets one of West’s 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 league’s 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 Bynum’s 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.