With the NBA season now upon us, I found it to be an appropriate time to do my predictions of how the Northwest division in the NBA will turn out. This division always has good match ups and I don't see that being any different this year. So I will start from first place down through fifth place.
So first place in the Northwest division I think will go to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder are a young and exciting team. Kevin Durant is an all around stud and should take the next step this year towards being mentioned as one of the elite players in all the NBA. Durant should be in the running if not the front runner this year for the league's MVP award. But as a team, the Thunder play fast. They gained a lot of experience in the playoffs last year and should be more prepared for the upcoming season.
Coming in second I think will be the Utah Jazz. The Jazz made a lot of changes over the off season but they were changes that needed to be made. The biggest difference was out with Carlos Boozer and in with big Al Jefferson. Jefferson is a breath of fresh air here in Utah with his positive attitude. But one piece that is still here is Deron Williams and the Jazz can't ever be counted out as long as they have Williams.
Next, coming in third place, I think it will be the Portland Trailblazers. The Blazers season depends on as most do, the health of the team. The Blazers have been injury prone the past couple of seasons, but they have an great coach that always keeps this team together through tough times. It will be a big help if Greg Oden can stay healthy for the whole season or even most of the season. But I think they should be competitive in the west this season and competing for a lower playoff spot.
Coming in fourth in the Northwest is what I think will be a wild card team in the NBA this season, the Denver Nuggets. It all depends on what happens with Carmelo Anthony this year. They could keep him and move up in the standings or they might trade him and get some really good pieces in return. That would also help the Nuggets and make them contenders in the Northwest division. The Nuggets may also try to keep Anthony and convince him to stay next summer, but then again, that may not be good for the team to have a disgruntled star on the team. The Nuggets may also hit the panic button and not get back the best package available, sending the team into a rebuilding mode. So the Nuggets right now are hard team to figure out and they may look completely different by the end of the season.
Rounding out the Northwest division will be the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Timberwolves have some nice young pieces in place and they have a good coach, I just don't think they are ready to contend this year. I think the Michael Beasley addition could turn out to be a pretty decent move made by Minnesota this year. Beasley is a very talented player and he comes at relatively cheap price compared to NBA standards and if he doesn't work out, there is a team option for his contract next season. The Timberwolves could be heading in the right direction in my opinion, they just need to quite drafting point guards every year.
So that is my predictions for how I see the Northwest division playing out this season. It should be a fun a competitve year to watch.
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