NBA - Northwest Division Preview
We’ve now made it to the Western Conference. For years now the West has been the deeper conference, but the East is starting to balance it out – I can’t help but think some of these players saw LeBron building his super team in LA and decided they needed to head to the East for a chance at the championship. Let’s start with the Northwest Division and see how it stacks up.
The Denver Nuggets made it to the Western Conference Finals last year, beating the Los Angeles Clippers and falling short of the championship to the Lakers. After coming back in every series they played they just couldn’t muster one last good run to surpass Anthony Davis. They were very impressive last season, but the biggest question is will Jamal Murray be Bubble Murray or just the secondary player he was before. Will Michael Porter Jr. continue his growth or will his mouth keep getting him into trouble. The Nuggets have a championship caliber roster. They are the current favorite for the division, and at only -134 it really isn’t a steep price to pay for what should be an easy path. They are positioned at 43.5 wins which is lower than what they did last year. Even with their deeper-than-normal run from last year, I like the over.
The Oklahoma City Thunder traded away Chris Paul and Stephen Adams after one season and a playoff run. Their new team, led by Al Horford and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, has potential to be competitive even if they don’t have much of chance to make the playoffs. Their over under of 23.5 wins seems about fair, and I’d probably lean towards the over because I think they will be tenacious on defense and just strong enough to win 25 or so games. However, 23.5 could be referring to the number of picks over the next 3 seasons that general manager, Sam Presti, will end up with by the end of the year.
Donovan Mitchell is talented, but is he a number one player on a championship team? I doubt it. He clearly can get a team to the playoffs, but that is as far as this squad can go. I don’t think they challenge the Nuggets for the division unless someone gets injured from the Nuggets team. They have a total of 42.5 wins, I like the under, but not by much, 41 wins seems right for them.
Portland did arguably more than any other team to strengthen their chances. Damian Lillard is easily one of the top five players to watch when he is in Dame Time mode. Portland finally has something to be proud of other than having the most strip clubs per capita in the nation. I could see them challenging the Nuggets for first place in the division and at +350 for the division, I see pretty good value in this. Portland feels like a team that will work to win every game they can and care about the regular season, but not have a second gear for the playoffs.
The Timberwolves sporting their number one pick, Anthony Edwards, are looking at more towards rebuilding than playoffs or any other hopes. Their current over/under sits at 29.5. To hit that they need to win 11 more games. They played 64 games last year, and only got to 19, I’m not sure what addition they made that is making people think they will be 11 games better than last year. I’d hit the under on this, and for a lot.
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- David Troy
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