Tuesday , Oct , 28 , 2008 Christopher Sells

HoopsVibe Season Preview: Northwest Division


HoopsVibe Season Preview: Northwest DivisionWith the NBA season getting ready to start up, we thought we should take a brief glimpse at the league, division by division, just so you guys have an idea of what to expect this year. However, we will not stand by any of these predictions come season’s end. Unless we’ve actually managed to get them right.

The good ol’ Northwest Division. Home of the the Nuggets, Blazers, T-Wolves, Jazz and Son– oh yeah, that’s right.

The newly created Oklahoma City Thunder, who are not getting to keep any of the Sonics’ records or history, only the players, will struggle with being in a new location and not having a lot of proven talent on the roster. Some speculate that the new home will mean less distraction for Kevin Durant and Co., but fewer distractions don’t necessarily add up to wins.

The Timberwolves look like a totally different team than they did two years ago. After watching Kevin Garnett leave town and win a ring with Boston, the Wolves fielded a subpar team last season and probably won’t do much better this year. They traded their draft pick for a rookie who plays the same position as their best player and they have Jason Collins and Calvin Booth as the roster’s true centers. There is promise in the backcourt with Randy Foye and Rashad McCants and Mike Miller is a proven, but it probably won’t matter out West.

Things start looking better with the division’s remaining three teams, with people waiting in line to jump onto the Portland bandwagon. The Blazers look great on paper and should show quite a bit of improvement, but nothing is guaranteed until the games are played. Still LaMarcus Aldridge, Greg Oden and Brandon Roy alone could excite plenty of fans, but with the rest of the roster filled with young talent, people are drooling waiting on them to play. They’ll make a solid improvement on last year’s .500 record, but the predictions of a Finals appearance are probably a bit far off.

The Jazz, however, could make a solid case for finding their way out of the Western Conference playoff bracket. They have one of the league’s best point guards, some hard-nosed players and a smart, tough, demanding coach. While there are a few teams, that would probably run the Jazz out of the gym, but depending on how the regular season shakes out, the team could end up with some favorable matchups and might squeak by,

Denver will once again be the Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson show. The team has some good offensive pieces on the roster, but expecting them to do much more than try to outscore teams again might be unrealistic. George Karl would have you believe that he’ll be tightening the reins, but he’s said it before without it actually happening. If they don’t, the team could find themselves on the outside looking in come playoff time.

PROJECTED ORDER OF FINISH:
1. Utah
2. Portland
3. Denver
4. Minnesota
5. Oklahoma City

What do you predict? We’d love to hear from your in the comments section.
[image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/voteprime/]