Friday, November 2, 2012

The Northwest Division NBA Preview

Denver Nuggets - 38-28 record last season. 6th seed in the playoffs. Lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs.

Ideal Rotation: Ty Lawson, Andre Iguodala, Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried, Kosta Koufos / Andre Miller, Corey Brewer, Wilson Chandler, JaVale McGee, Timofey Mozgov

Storyline/s: Their depth got an upgrade with the acquisition of Iguodala as part of their participation in the Dwight Howard deal. With the depth, who is the go-to-guy when the situation amounts itself to?

X-Factor/s: Can JaVale unlock his true potential under George Karl? A nation on the other side of the Pacific anticipates while the paperwork for his naturalization is being undertaken.

Prognosis: Exiting the first round of the playoffs.

Minnesota Timberwolves - 26-40 record last season. Missed the playoffs.

Ideal Rotation: Ricky Rubio, Brandon Roy, Andrei Kirilenko, Derrick Williams, Kevin Love / Luke Ridnour, Alexei Shved, Chase Budinger, Dante Cunningham, Nikola Pekovic, JJ Barea

Storyline/s: Kevin Love has made it known that this team needs to contend in the next few seasons. That, and the waiting for Ricky Rubio to return to the court.

X-Factor/s: How much does Brandon Roy have left in the tank? And how much does that knee have left in it?

Prognosis: Missing the playoffs.

Oklahoma City Thunder - 47-19 record last season. Division Champions. Conference Champions. Lost to the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.

Ideal Rotation: Russell Westbrook, Kevin Martin, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins / Eric Maynor, Thabo Sefolosha, Jeremy Lamb, Perry Jones III, Nick Collison, Reggie Jackson

Storyline/s: They were schooled by Miami in the finals. Humbled, yet undaunted, their quest remains in returning to that destination and finish what was started. That was until Sam Presti pulled off the James Harden trade.

X-Factor/s: All eyes now on Kevin Martin as he steps into Harden's shoes. Eric Maynor returns after rehabbing from his injury.

Prognosis: Division Champions. Conference Champions. Exiting in the NBA Finals.

Portland Trailblazers - 28-38 record last season. Missed the playoffs.

Ideal Rotation: Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Nic Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, JJ Hickson / Ronnie Price, Sasha Pavlovic, Victor Claver, Meyers Leonard

Storyline/s: The rebuilding process has begun, with the centerpiece on Aldridge. The keys to the offense has been handed to a rookie point guard. Terry Stotts has taken over.

X-Factor/s: Wes is expected to do more this season. Nic Batum got himselft a nice contract, and with such, much is expected.

Prognosis: Missing the playoffs.

Utah Jazz - 36-30 record last season. 8th seed in the playoffs. Lost to the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs.

Ideal Rotation: Mo Williams, Gordon Hayward, Marvin Williams, Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson / Jamaal Tinsley, Randy Foye, Alec Burks, Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors

Storyline/s: Ty Corbin remakes the backcourt, adding Mo and Randy to a potent frontcourt with All-Star caliber players. Will it be enough to stave off others who want that final slot that went to them last season?

X-Factor/s: The pressure is off Marvin Williams now, the pressure of having to live being Atlanta's 2nd overall selection in a draft that featured stud point guards in Chris Paul and Deron Williams.

Prognosis: Missing the playoffs.

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