- David Troy
2021 Northwest Division Preview
The NBA Season is just around the corner and we are now breaking down the Western Conference. If you missed any of the other previews, feel free to review them by clicking Articles above. If you’re looking for the full package of NBA plays and future plays, click Buy Packages above and get all of my NBA plays.
Last year 1st in Western Conference, 1st in division, 52-20
The Jazz certainly surprised me last season. I honestly expected them to be one of the lower-ranking teams in the West – make the playoffs, sure. Be the best in the West? I didn’t think they had a chance. But, an outstanding defensive start, and some very good 3-point shooting led them to the rank. The Jazz didn’t really do anything in the off-season. Maybe they expect to just replicate their success from last year rather than tinker and try to improve. The books also don’t expect much improvement. In a lot of ways, they expect the Jazz to be worse than last year. The line on their season win totals is 51.5 so basically, they need to replicate last year and still be allowed to lose 10 additional games. It’s doable, but the unimpressive offseason has me staying away.
Last year 3rd in conference, 2nd in division, 47-25
The Joker had a great season last year leading his team to the Western Conference Semifinals and taking the MVP award home. How will he respond this year? Can his team take the next step forward? When will Jamal Murray come back? Just like the Jazz, they really didn’t make any offseason additions to their team. If they get Murray early enough in the season, that could be a bigger splash for them than almost anything they could’ve pulled on the free agent market. Jokic is currently +1500 to win the MVP for the second straight year – I wouldn’t touch it. They also are expected to have almost exactly the same season. With no certainty on Murray (I’m not a big fan of his anyway, but uncertainty is a capper’s enemy), I’m going to pass on them too.
Last year 6th in conference, 3rd in division, 42-30
Will Damian Lillard last all season in Portland? My best guess is yes. Lillard deserves better than what he is getting though. Unfortunately, his team is on the bottom half of the playoff contenders in the West and even in the East, they probably wouldn’t be much better. He is one of the true heat-check must-watch players in the NBA. When he is hot, he is basically unguardable. He can shoot from anywhere on the court. The rest of his team, eh, they are okay. CJ McCollum is a good secondary option, but not a superstar. Everyone else is basically a role player. I think the Trailblazers are still good enough to make the playoffs, but are likely the 7 seed. I’m going to give out a play on them to become the 7th seed in the playoffs at +600 found on DraftKings.
Last year 4th in division, 23-49
The Timberwolves have a good young core – stop me if you’ve heard that a few times over the last 10 years. Anthony Edwards does look like a legitimate scoring threat and Karl-Anthony Towns is the best frustrating big man outside of Joel Embiid. D’Angelo Russell is a solid point guard and Patrick Beverly coming off the bench and proving veteran leadership could make a bit of a difference. But a 16 game improvement? Not likely.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Last year 5th in division, 22-50
Name someone on the Thunder aside from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Go ahead, look them up if you need to. Josh Giddey was the 6th overall pick in the NBA draft and injured himself in the first five minutes of the NBA Summer League game. Tre Mann, their 18th overall pick, ended up leaving the team for personal matters after two games. He was fine in both of them. The only thing that the Thunder will compete for is with the Magic and Rockets for the #1 overall pick.