The Northwest Division has a different look to it this season. Jimmy Butler, Paul George and Paul Millsap jump into an extremely competitive division.
This division has the potential to bring three or four teams to the playoffs. A tough division has gotten even tougher in just one offseason.
Here are the win predictions and preview for each team in the Northwest Division.
2016-17 record: 40-42
2017-2018 prediction: 46-36
The Denver Nuggets have absolutely gotten better this summer. Paul Millsap adds to an already boarderline playoff team. Nikola Jokic and Gary Harris are the leaders on this team. The young talent is there to make a run.
Tyler Lydon is another addition from this summer and a good scoring option off the bench.
Despite being in a tough Western Conference, the Nuggets have a good chance to make it to the middle tier in the west.
2016-2017 record: 31-51
2017-2018 prediction: 49-33
Jimmy Butler is coming to town, as well as Taj Gibson, Jeff Teague and Jamal Crawford. The Timberwolves may be the fifth best team in the Western Conference, but they have a lot to put together to get to that point.
A season is long and grueling, so rotations need to be figured out quickly. The Timberwolves have a very different lineup heading into this season, so it will take a little while to get everyone used to playing with each other.
If the Wolves can put it together, they will be much better than people expect. Barring anything crazy, this will be the year the T-Wolves make the playoffs.
Oklahoma City Thunder
2016-2017 record: 47-35
2017-2018 prediction: 50-32
Paul George tops off a great summer for the Thunder. He joins Patrick Patterson to add to a strong starting lineup.
One of the biggest parts of this offseason for the Thunder was getting out of the Victor Oladipo contract. They freed up money moving forward and that is a large asset for adding players moving forward.
George gives this team a win-now look, but not just anyone can play with Russell Westbrook.
The Thunder have gotten better this summer and more importantly match up better. To have another scoring option in the Western Conference means that there’s a possibility for a longer playoff run in Oklahoma City.
Portland Trail Blazers
2016-2017 record: 41-41
2017-2018 prediction: 38-44
As much as the Trail Blazers are intriguing, they still don’t have a dependable big man. Jusuf Nurkic has been good in his limited use on the team, but he isn’t reliable yet.
The Trail Blazers are a fringe playoff team, but the Western Conference is a gauntlet. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum can only carry them so far without a dependable third option.
Caleb Swanigan and Zach Collins are two solid young big men who have a bright future, but for the time being, the Trail Blazers are on the outside looking in.
2016-2017 record: 51-31
2017-2018 prediction: 36-46
The Jazz may have lost their best scorer, Gordon Hayward, from last season, but they did add Jonas Jerebko and Ricky Rubio, as well as draft pick Donovan Mitchell.
Jerebko is an underrated player who can stretch the floor and Mitchell looks like the most overlooked player in this draft after this summer. Even though the Jazz lost one of their best players, they still are in the hunt for a playoff birth this season.
Rudy Gobert will shine and Joe Johnson will find a way to add to the scoring that Hayward left behind. The Utah Jazz will be competitive this upcoming season.
Featured Image Courtesy of NBA.com.
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