Power Rankings: The Denver Nuggets and the Mighty Northwest Division
The Northwest Division is one of the best in basketball, and now we will attempt to power rank each team including our home favorites, the Denver Nuggets.
The 2016-2017 regular season is almost here, and many fans, including myself are making their predictions. Who will bring home the Larry O’Brien trophy at the end? Which teams will even make the playoffs? Who can take the top spot in the Northwest Division?
One of the more interesting divisions to think about in the NBA is the Northwest Division.
The teams in this division include the Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Portland Trail-Blazers, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Minnesota Timberwolves. All of these teams have good, young core players that could get them to a good place in the future, but who is the best team?
Want your voice heard? Join the Nugg Love team!
The Northwest was shaken up this offseason. With KD joining Golden State and George Hill being traded to Utah, the division will be as close as ever, but we will come out with the crown? Well, let’s see if you agree with us with who will start with the crown.
And, without further ado, here is the official Nugg Love preseason power rankings of the Northwest Division.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves.
Here is where I expect some criticism to begin.
Don’t get me wrong, the Timberwolves are making some great moves on their way back to national relevance, and I love where their team is headed.
They’ve picked up potential superstars in center Karl-Anthony Towns, small forward Andrew Wiggins, and guards Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn. They have considerable shooting ability and a good depth to the bench. They’ve done every step correctly into making what could possibly be a future powerhouse.
The key word there is future.
I believe that they are close, but they aren’t quite there yet. This should be the last season with the Wolves not towards the top. With the retirement of Kevin Garnett, the Wolves may need one or more veterans to replace him and to help the young guys build a great season.
This being said, with the right moves, this team could be at the top of these rankings by next year, or even the end of the season.
Previous Record: 29-53
Projected Record: 36-46
4. Denver Nuggets.
Call me biased, but the Nuggets hold one of the brightest futures in the NBA.
More from Nugg Love
- Counter This: Kenneth Faried’s Top 5 Realistic Trade Options4h ago
- Denver Nuggets: A Week in Review, The Top Lesson Learned through Three5h ago
- Denver Nuggets: Will Jurkic Be a Successful Experiment?22h ago
- Emmanuel Mudiay: Three Weaknesses for Number Zero1 d ago
- Denver Nuggets vs LA Lakers: 10 Takeaways from This Rematch1 d ago
I love the additions that they made in the off-season, in which they made some great draft picks. Denver has not made the playoffs since 2013, in which they were defeated in the first round by the dynamic Golden State Warriors, 2 games to four.
Before this three season drought, the Nuggets had made the playoffs for 11 straight seasons.
They have taken some great steps in their rebuilding process, which most recently came with the addition of guards Jamal Murray and Malik Beasley, and forward Juancho Hernangomez.
I love the young talent and core that this team holds to them, and they have the chance to be something special. There are veterans like Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Kenneth Faried, Jameer Nelson, Darrell Arthur, and Mike Miller.
There’s an impressive back-court that could be brewing in Emmanuel Mudiay, Gary Harris, and Will Barton, with Murray and Beasley fitting right into it.
Like the Timberwolves, I don’t think that the Nuggets are quite there yet, but it’s only a matter of time. The question is, how soon?
Previous Record: 33-49
Projected Record: 39-43
3. Utah Jazz.
It seems like every season the Jazz has a sense of hype surrounding them. Every year we are told to look out for Utah to be a dark-horse in the West.
Well, that season has yet to come. The Jazz barely missed the playoff last season, finishing ninth in the Western Conference and by one game to the Houston Rockets.
I won’t say that the Jazz are going to come out and be the team to look out for. I will say that they do have some interesting pieces that have potential to make this a great season. I am not on the Jazz bandwagon just yet, but they could be good.
They have players such as guards Alec Burks and Rodney Hood, forwards Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors, and center Rudy Gobert. Utah has struggled for a while now, and the fans should look for this team to get into the playoffs soon.
Even with the talent in Salt Lake City, I see this team very narrowly missing a playoff spot once again. Hopefully they can prove me wrong, but the Jazz just do not seem like a playoff team to me.
Previous Record: 40-42
Projected Record: 41-41
2. Oklahoma City Thunder.
Oklahoma City had a 3-1 lead over the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.
Thunderous Intentions 16w
How Kevin Durant unofficially announced his decision
More headlines around FanSided:
17w – Red Rock Fantasy Basketball Podcast ep. 517: Oklahoma City Thunder Season In Review22w – Red Rock Fantasy Basketball Podcast ep. 587: Rolling Thunder22w – Red Rock Fantasy Basketball Podcast ep. 585: Good Russ, Bad Russ24w – Red Rock Fantasy Basketball Podcast ep. 577: Russell And Flow24w – Red Rock Fantasy Basketball Podcast ep. 575: Dancin' Russell
They needed one more win, but instead they surrendered three straight losses as they went home. The Thunder were also on the short end of the stick in what was the biggest move this off-season.
Their long time superstar small forward, Kevin Durant, decided to leave the Thunder to join the team that had defeated them in the playoffs, the Golden State Warriors. This was shocking news as many expected him to remain a member of the Thunder at least until next season. Once Durant was gone, the Thunder then traded power forward Serge Ibaka to the Orlando Magic. Nevertheless, OKC has plenty of talent still on their roster.
Russell Westbrook has made a good case for the MVP in two straight seasons. He could have a better chance to win it this year as he will no doubt be leading the Thunder. There are talented big men in Enes Kanter and Steven Adams, who can play big roles in the post.
Westbrook is joined in the back-court by the newly acquired shooting guard in the Ibaka trade, Victor Oladipo. This is a team that could be great or could under-achieve, as it just depends on the play of Westbrook.
I think this is a middle of the pack team in the Western Conference. They don’t exactly turn many heads, but they don’t under-achieve by any means.
Previous Record: 55-27
Projected Record: 45-39
1. Portland Trail Blazers.
If there’s one thing that Portland has shown me, it’s to not sleep on them.
Hardwood Paroxysm 1 w
Over and Back: How revolutionary was Bill Walton?
More headlines around FanSided:
8w – Kyrie Irving Will Never Be Considered A Top NBA Point Guard18w – Red Rock Fantasy Basketball Podcast ep. 610: Portland Trail Blazers Season In Review31w – Red Rock Fantasy Basketball Podcast ep. 526: Damn, Damian32w – Red Rock Fantasy Basketball Podcast ep: 516: 3J McCollum33w – Red Rock Fantasy Basketball Podcast ep. 512: Y'All Know What Time It Is?
Every year many overlook this team in a very stacked Western Conference, and it seems like recently they prove those people wrong.
Whether you’re a fan of them or not, this team is for real. They didn’t make too many moves in the off-season, but the ones they did only helped them. Their front-court was already good, what with Mason Plumlee and Ed Davis, but they added a center from the Warriors in Festus Ezeli.
There’s Evan Turner, Maurice Harkless, and Noah Vonleh, but it’s no secret that the key to the Blazers’ success is to its guards. Damian Lillard and C.J McCollum are easily one of the best back-courts in the NBA. McCollum is the reigning Most Improved Player and Lillard was the Rookie of the Year in the 2012-2013 season.
Honestly Damian Lillard, a.k.a Dame D.O.L.L.A, is my dark horse to be the MVP this season. You can sleep on this team all you want, and based on the past two seasons, it seems like they want people to sleep on them. Not me, I look for the Blazers to turn some heads this season.
Buckle up ladies and gentlemen. The Blazers bandwagon is leaving the station.
Previous Record: 44-38
Projected Record: 54-28