Monday, October 30th, 2006 at 6:43 pm  |  11 responses

The SLAM NBA Preview: Northwest Division

SLAM’s official predictions for the 2006-07 NBA season…

by Lang Whitaker

A few years ago, I came up with the idea of running individual NBA team previews on The Links, and having each team’s preview written by a fan of that team. Nowadays, all the fans have their own blogs, and every NBA site (including ours, thank you) has been having fans/bloggers review their team’s chances for the upcoming year.

So in order to flip the script a little, I’m going to do quick NBA previews for each division. I wrote a gargantuan NBA preview in SLAM 103 (on newstands now!), and I’m using the illustrations from that issue here (drawn by the terrific Mike T).

If you want to read my full predictions and thoughts you’ve gotta go buy the magazine. But here’s how I ranked them and why.

Today, the Northwest Division…

How I picked it in the magazine:
1) Denver Nuggets
2) Utah Jazz
3) Minnesota Timberwolves
4) Portland Trailblazers
5) Seattle Sonics

Why I picked them that way:
Could this be the worst division in the NBA this year? I think that’s a very real possibility. The one team that I feel safe in saying should win at least 50 games and coast into the postseason is Denver, led by my man Carmelo Anthony. I talked to someone close to Melo the other day and they mentioned the possibility of him leading the NBA in scoring this season, because his game just continues becoming more and more complete. You might prefer a different player, just stop sleeping.

Ah, Utah! Jerry Sloan is fired up, the Jazz have Kirilenko healthy again and Deron Williams quietly put together a solid rookie year. I also really like Memo Okur, who has been consistently underrated. I’m not sure how Ronnie Brewer will fit in here, but he might have been my favorite lottery guy from this year’s Draft–I’ve always found him a very complete player.

The last few weeks, reading the T-Wolves stories in the Minnesota players, there’s always a lot of stuff about the Wolves hoping so-and-so develops into a three point threat or that so-and-so will turn out to be better than they expected. Say this for them: There’s really no expectations, so all they can do is go up.

I know Portland still gets hated on a lot, but I like Nate McMillan, and I like the way they’ve settled on Jarrett Jack as point guard and Brandon Roy as their two guard. They’re going to build around these guys, but until they do something with Darius Miles and Zach Randolph, it’s like there’s two teams there.

I feel bad for the Sonics fans, because their starting center tore his ACL and the team might be gone a year from now. It’s not a healthy situation for anyone involved.

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  • B

    Its good to finally see somebody agree with me that the sonics will be worse than my blazers!!!! ray allen is the schnizz!!!

  • Ray Allen

    Ray Allen is amazing and no matter what he’s going to lead with Rashard and Lewis to become one of the best. Watch out for them this year.

  • http://www.nuggdoctor.blogspot.com Nick AKA The Nugg Doctor

    I like the fact that you agree with me on the Nuggets winning at least 50 games this year. Melo is as real as real gets!

  • MD Shuai

    I can’t wait for Darius Miles to be gone; he’s been nothing but an underacheiving drain of money and waste of a roster spot his whole career; and Zach Randolph puts up solid numbers, but the dude needs to learn how to pass more often; then again, with more people to pass it to, maybe he can. He needs to realize that he isn’t as valuable a player as he thinks he is, and start playing. Hard. He does that, keep him. If he’s the same as last season, send him with Miles to Minnesota for KG. Hmm… that sounds sweet; except he has already refused to play in Portland.

  • kdubb

    Yes, this year is gonna be Melo’s coming out party. He was a real leader of team USA this summer and has matured a lot.
    I could’ve told you that about Darius Miles about 4 years ago when he was on the cover of Slam. He’s a punk man. A gangly-ass waste of money for sure. He’s the anti-Melo. Poor work ethic and immature.

  • Kadobeye Dan

    Well well, what can I say .. that will only happen if the Nuggets’ new offensive scheme works the way they want it to. Then yes they’ll be a great 50+ WIN team to watch and enjoy. Melo has a door opening to become one of the top three scorers in the league (HE WAS ONLY .7 PPG AWAY FROM THE TOP 5 LAST YEAR)**.


  • josecuervoesmuybueno

    milk carton: MARTELL WEBSTER

  • http://www.duchoeny.com Ryan Duchoeny

    I want Denver team to win championship 2007. I love Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson…..they in blue line and they are amazing….(I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!) go denver go go nuggets)

  • leah

    think cArMeLo and A.I. Is ThE BeSt

  • Danny

    this yaer the Blazers are going to make it to the playoffs with the combo of Roy and Randolph they cant be stoped

  • http://leads-mlm.thesimplicitycycle.com Joey