The Western Conference’s Northwest Division is one of the closest to call divisions in the entire NBA. The reason isn’t necessarily because it is filled with great teams, but more because there is no one great team and a bunch of pretty good teams instead. This one could go down to the wire and it’s bound to be the series that has people complaining about division winners getting a top three seed. A lot can happen between now and then, but let’s take a look at where we are right now.
The only team we can cross off is the Denver Nuggers +2200. They have a nice collection of young talent and they should be able to steal some wins throughout the season, but they are just not good enough to win close to 50 games which is likely what it will take to take this division.
The Minnesota Timberwolves +800 are an interesting proposition as they have a great coach in Tom Thibodeau and some amazing young talent in Karl Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Zach Lavine. This was the trendy pick before the season started, but the Wolves haven’t come out swinging like everyone expected them to. The offense can look lost at times, especially in fourth quarters, and the defense is nothing like the defenses we’ve come to expect from Tom Thibodeau. They should improve and I think they’ll make a run for the playoffs, but not a run for the division.
It’s crazy that the Portland Trailblazers +240 aren’t the favorite here. The way they played in the playoffs last year made everyone think that they were on the verge of breaking through in a big way this year. The big problem has been Evan Turner whose on/off numbers have been abysmal:
|On − Off||POR||49%||-.129||-14.2||-2.0||-1.1||+4.4||-25.5|
Figuring that out will be the key and the sooner they do that, the sooner that they have a chance at this division. For now, I’m off them.
The fun pick is the Oklahoma City Thunder +200. Everyone is in love with what Russell Westbrook is doing this season as he is averaging nearly a triple double per game thus far this season. They are a fun team, but it just doesn’t feel like they have enough shooting and they are 100% reliant on Westbrook having a good night. If anything happens to him at any point, they are screwed.
My personal favorite is the Utah Jazz +200. They are just starting to run together with George Hill at the point guard, but he is such a huge upgrade for them over last year’s team and last year’s team fell just short of the playoffs. This could be a big breakout year for Gordon Hayward. I think this team is poised to make a leap as they are deep and have a great defense.
2017 Northwest Division Betting Odds
- Oklahoma City Thunder +200
- Utah Jazz +200
- Portland +240
- Minnesota +800
- Denver Nuggets +2200