NBA Northwest Division Preview

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The Northwest Division of the Western Conference offers three teams that are fairly evenly matched and competitive—the Denver Nuggets, Portland Blazers and Utah Jazz. The bottom of the heap includes the Minnesota Wolves and Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Portland Blazers will start the talented Greg Oden at center. He’s a seven-footer with a big reach. He should be an effective defender in his first NBA season. Look for the Blazers to exploit their outside game by utilizing shooting guard Brandon Roy. Roy can hit from anywhere on the court. Veteran head coach Nate McMillan has some talent with which to work.

With Carmelo Anthony at small forward and Chauncy Billups at point guard, the Nuggets are well situated to be a contender in the Northwest. Center Nene Hilario could be the key player in the mix. He’s a fine scorer and an excellent defender. George Karl, in his 21st year as a NBA coach, is smart and cagey. Denver has a sound bench and depth. They will battle the Blazers and Jazz for the top spot in the division.

Utah’s Carlos Boozer plays power forward with intensity. He’s a capable double-double guy. Three-year man Deron Williams is an excellent point guard. Williams is a tough defender, fine play maker and excellent shooter. He’s the key component on this team. Head coach Jerry Sloan, who has been around for over 20 years, has over 1,000 wins. He’s been with the Jazz since 1989.

The Minnesota Wolves feature center Al Jefferson. Jefferson will need to be the glue on this team on both ends of the court. The other major force on the club is point guard Randy Foye. Foye is a better shooter than passer. As he starts his second year in the NBA, he’ll need to expand his skill set, especially in terms of setting up plays. After years as the Wolves’ GM, Kevin McHale is now coaching the club. In his first season, which was last year, he won 31 games. The Wolves should notch eight to ten more victories than they did last season.

The Oklahoma City Thunder were in Seattle last year. Then they went to Oklahoma City. In the move, they brought along the immensely talented small forward Kevin Durant and power forward Nick Collison. That’s the major star power for this team. Scott Brooks coaches the Thunder; it’s his first stint as a NBA coach.

2008 NBA Northwest Division Predictions

Projected Order of Finish: Click on team name for individual in-depth team outlook.

1) Portland Trailblazers
2) Denver Nuggets
3) Utah Jazz
4) Minnesota Timberwolves
5) Oklahoma City Thunder

2008-09 NBA Division & Team Previews

Maddux Sports presents its annual 2008-09 Season NBA preview sorted by divisions. To the right we have listed the 6 divisions, click on the division of your choice for our team projections and order of finish. Click here to return to the main NBA season preview page.

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