NBA Offseason: Part 5

The Boston Celtics will take on the Cleveland Cavaliers on the opening day of the 2017 – 2018 season in 2 days. This is part 5 of a 7 part preview. I’ll start with the east coast, then do the west and finally Part 7 will be my take on the upcoming season as a whole. In part five, we examine the off season for the Northwest Division.

Denver Nuggets

  • Draft: Monte’ Morris
  • Added: Paul Millsap, Trey Lyles, Tyler Lydon, Torrey Craig
  • Lost: Danilo Gallinari
  • Injured: NONE

Last year the Nuggets went 40-42 and just missed the playoffs. In an eventful offseason, Denver signed veteran PF Paul Millsap to a 3-year/$90 million contract. He should be able to bring defensive intensity, add experience to the young Denver locker room and complement talented young center Nikola Jokic. The Nuggets had a winning record in the second half of the season, when Jokic was a starter. Denver only got better in the offseason, but so did the rest of the NW. Hopefully the Nuggets can compete.

Minnesota Timberwolves

  • Draft: NONE
  • Added: Jeff Teague, Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Jamal Crawford, Aaron Brooks, Justin Patton, Marcus Georges-Hunt, Anthony Brown
  • Lost: Omri Casspi, Brandon Rush, Adreian Payne
  • Injured: NONE

The highlight of the off season was HC Tom Thibodeau reuniting with Jimmy Butler in a trade on Draft Day. Thibs knows how to utilize Butler from their days in Chicago, where Jimmy Buckets was the key cog on the team. Butler gets added onto a team with young stars in Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony-Towns. The Wolves also added veterans Taj Gibson and Jamal Crawford along with PG Jeff Teague. This sets up huge expectations in the Twin Cities. They should be able to go toe to toe with OKC in the division and are easily a top 4 team in the west.

Portland Trailblazers

  • Draft: Caleb Swanigan
  • Added: Zach Collins, C.J. Wilcox
  • Lost: NONE
  • Injured: Noah Vonleh

Portland laid low this offseason, adding only 3 new players. Last year the Blazers went 41-41 and made the playoffs after playing without LaMarcus Aldridge, who left for the Spurs in summer 2016. But a late season trade with Denver, gave them big man Jusuf Nurkic and a stable starting 5. Portland also added big men Zach Collins and Caleb Swanigan in the draft. The Western Conference is tough and the NW Division is the toughest divisions so a home playoff series is out of question. But 8th place is doable. 

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Draft: Terrance Ferguson
  • Added: Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, Raymond Felton, Patrick Patterson
  • Lost: Taj Gibson
  • Injured: NONE

The biggest story like for OKC this offseason was adding superstars Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. This puts OKC at the best possible position to give the Warriors run for their money. But as I mentioned with Houston, there is only one ball. Russell Westbrook loves the ball and did everything for the Thunder last season. Paul George was the lone man in Indiana and Melo was the lone star in New York. How these new players adjust to playing alongside other superstars will the biggest question when the season starts on Tuesday. George and Melo can both leave next year, so the Thunder have to capitalize on this blessing.

Utah Jazz

  • Draft: NONE
  • Added: Ricky Rubio, Thabo Sefolosha, Donovan Mitchell, Ekpe Udoh, Jonas Jerebko, Tony Bradley, Nate WOlters, Eric Griffin, Royce O’Neale
  • Lost: Gordon Hayward, George Hill, Shelvin Mack
  • Injured: Dante Exum

The Jazz lost two very good players this offseason. Gordon Hayward signed with Boston and George Hill signed with Sacramento. With PG Dante Exum out indefinitely with a shoulder injury, the start of this season with be rough as the Jazz try to establish their identity. Young players like Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert have to excel  in order for the Jazz to reach the playoffs.

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