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NBA 2017/18 Predictions – Northwest Division

Oklahoma City Thunder


Starting Five

PG: Russell Westbrook

SG: Andre Roberson

SF: Paul George

PF: Carmelo Anthony

C: Steven Adams

Key Reserves:

Patrick Patterson, Jerami Grant, Terrance Fergusson


Is this the year for OKC to finally make it to the NBA finals? Well first they are going to have to get past the Warriors and maybe some other sneaky western teams that show up in playoff time. But on paper with the current MVP as your point guard and the addition of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, maybe it’s their time to shine. George brings some needed help scoring wise for Westbrook and some defence were as Melo just brings scoring but no D. See Denver circa 2007. Can the Thunder move to next level, possibly? They have some questions with their bigs, Adams is good on D but limited scoring wise. But in the West anything can happen if you have a strong core so the guys at OKC need to gel soon. Another season of good but no cigar will not bode well for Westbrook who has done it all and given his all. They need to deliver now!


Prediction for Season: 1st in Northwest


Portland Trailblazers


Starting Five

PG: Damien Lillard

SG: CJ McCollum

SF: Maurice Harkless

PF: Noah Vonleh

C: Jusuf Nurkic

Key Reserves:

Ed Davis, Al-Farouq Aminu, Meyers Leonard


With Nurkic in the middle, things have now clicked for the Blazers. Once seen as the close but no cigar team (second reference to cigars), they are coming close to a push for contention in the top of the West. But they need to continue on the form at they showed at the end of last season. With the backcourt already set, can Nurkic be that third star that teams need to form a vital core? Time will tell and if they can keep that momentum going then it could all come together for this team. Questions still remain with the frontcourt but with a slightly stronger bench this could help the starters when things get tough in ultra-competitive Northwest. Bring back Uncle Cliff for some bench strength. OK, Jerome Kersey as well. Oh we can’t, RIP Jerome (and Duckworth).


Prediction for Season: 2nd in Northwest


Minnesota Timberwolves


Starting Five

PG: Jeff Teague

SG: Andrew Wiggins

SF: Jimmy Butler

PF: Gorgui Deng

C: Karl Anthony-Towns

Key Reserves:

Taj Gibson, Shabazz Muhammad, Jamal Crawford


The Timberwolves are now set to take the next step. The step of winning more games than losing. Is it possible for this team to now win more than 42 games? On paper, absolutely. With the young core of KAT and Wiggins a year older and experienced, Jimmy Butler will be a fantastic influence on these young guns. With Rubio now moving on and having a PG that can stretch defences with some well needed range, the Timberwolves are looking dangerous in the West. If only they can get more out of Wiggins, maybe some Luc Longley mongrel? Actually no they need more. More like KG mongrel then. The Wolves bench is much better with the additions of Crawford and Gibson and Thibs could be ready to take these guys to the promised land sooner, rather than later. Maybe not time to celebrate just yet but things are heading in the right direction. Cigars at the ready. Woh woh, slow down chief.


Prediction for Season: 3rd in Northwest


Denver Nuggets


Starting Five

PG: Emmanuel Mudiay

SG: Garry Harris

SF: Wilson Chandler

PF: Paul Millsap

C: Nikola Jokic

Key Reserves:

Jamal Murray, Kenneth Faried, Will Barton


The Nuggets have steadily improved over the last two seasons with a surprise break out year from centre Jokic. The Joker has put down his tennis racquet and is now serving up some great passes to his guards led by Garry Harris. Harris has improved dramatically and now that he is re-signed, the Nuggets have a young core that is looking good. Mixed in with some veterans of Wilson Chandler and the new addition of the All-star Millsap, this will give the Nuggets a good mix across the board. Together with a strong bench, the Nuggets are starting to hit their strides in the 3rd season with coach Malone. They still need to work out who the PG of the future is. Mudiay is not a good shooter and needs to improve facilitating. Murray was tried at PG also but seems to be more a shooter than distributor. And will Faried be around to be that spark of the bench that is needed with any playoff bound team. Questions, Questions. But at least they will be exciting to watch. Sounds like how a certain Pacific team that turned into a championship cigar smoking group started. Let’s not get too excited, but just think about it 🙂


Prediction for Season: 4th in Nortwest


Utah Jazz


Starting Five

PG: Ricky Rubio

SG: Rodney Hood

SF: Joe Ingles

PF: Derrick Favours

C: Rudy Gobert

Key Reserves:

Joe Johnson, Dante Exum, Alec Burks


A team that has been built on the draft finally got rewarded last season with a playoff apperance that was 1 win away from Western Conference finals. With Rudy Gobert becoming a monster in the paint, the Jazz were looking good. To loose their 20+ point scorer Hayward is a massive kick in the guts and the Jazz will need to find a new identity and a new way to win. Not to say the Jazz will stink it up either, especially if Gobert becomes an Allstar and Rowdy Rodney Hood turns it up to become an elite guard, the Jazz will need to find answers for the hole Hayward leaves at small forward. With Ricky Rubio now joining the team, PG duties will be covered. Shooting is still a concern for Rubio but if Hood, Ingles and veteran Joe Johnson can spead the floor with their range then that should hide it. Still the Jazz will not be the team they were last year and the Northwest is getting better by the year with other teams retooling and pushing for playoff spots. The Jazz may fall short unless Rudy puts everyone on his Arc de Triompe shoulders and carrys a huge load. Cigars anyone?


Prediction for Season: 5th in Northwest

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