Capsule previews of the NBA's Northwest Division

Published on NewsOK Modified: October 28, 2013 at 3:55 pm •  Published: October 28, 2013
Advertisement
;

A look at the Northwest Division teams as they head into the 2013-14 season, in predicted order of finish:

___

OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

LAST SEASON: 60-22, lost to Memphis 4-1 in the second round.

STARTING FIVE: G Russell Westbrook (23.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 7.4 apg), G Thabo Sefolosha (7.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.3 spg), F Kevin Durant (28.1 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 4.6 apg), F Serge Ibaka (13.2 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 3.0 bpg), C Kendrick Perkins (4.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.1 bpg).

KEY ADDITIONS: C Steven Adams (draft, Pittsburgh), F Andre Roberson (draft, Colorado), F Ryan Gomes (free agent, Artland Dragons, Germany).

KEY LOSSES: G Kevin Martin (free agent, Timberwolves).

COACH: Scott Brooks, sixth season with Thunder; 234-147.

EYES ON: Westbrook. The talented point guard is expected to miss the first few weeks of the season while recovering from his second surgery on his right knee since originally suffering the injury in a first-round playoff win over Houston. When healthy, the dynamic Westbrook is among the elite point guards in the NBA. His health and progress of backup Reggie Jackson are likely the best signs of whether the Thunder will return to championship contender.

OUTLOOK: Oklahoma City believes last season's early playoff exit was an aberration because of its inability to adjust without Westbrook on the court. The Thunder have had plenty of time to practice without the point guard since, and — with Durant once again leading the way — Oklahoma City expects nothing short of a return to the NBA Finals this season.

___

DENVER NUGGETS

LAST SEASON: 57-25, lost to Golden State Warriors 4-2 in first round.

STARTING FIVE: G Ty Lawson (16.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 6.9 apg), G Randy Foye (10.8 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 2.0 apg), F Wilson Chandler (13.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.3 apg), F Kenneth Faried (11.5 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 1.0 bpg), C JaVale McGee (9.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.0 bpg).

KEY ADDITIONS: G Foye (sign-and-trade, Jazz). F Darrell Arthur (trade, Grizzlies), F J.J. Hickson (free agent, Trail Blazers), G Nate Robinson (free agent, Bulls).

KEY LOSSES: G/F Andre Iguodala (sign and trade, Warriors), F Corey Brewer (free agent, Timberwolves), C Kosta Koufos (trade, Grizzlies).

COACH: Brian Shaw, first season with Nuggets, first season overall.

EYES ON: Lawson. Shaw is counting on Lawson to make a big leap this season in leadership. He's also hoping his speedy point guard gets off to a fast start. Usually, Lawson begins a season solidly enough, only to find an extra gear later in the year. "We're trying to figure out how to jump-start that and get him to take off where he ended up at the end of last season," Shaw explained.

OUTLOOK: Shaw is stepping in for George Karl, who led the Nuggets to a franchise-record 57 wins last season and was named the NBA Coach of the Year, only to be fired. Karl's squad was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs for a fourth straight season. It might take some time for the team to transition from Karl's fast-paced approach to Shaw's more traditional half-court style. The Nuggets may also get a boost sometime in December when Danilo Gallinari returns from a knee injury.

___

PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS

LAST SEASON: 33-49, missed playoffs.

STARTING FIVE: G Damian Lillard (19 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 6.5 apg) G Wesley Matthews (14.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.5 apg), F Nicolas Batum (14.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 4.9 apg), F LaMarcus Aldridge (21.1 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 2.6 apg), C Robin Lopez (11.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 0.8 apg).

KEY ADDITIONS: C Robin Lopez (trade, Pelicans), G C.J. McCollum (draft, No. 10), F Thomas Robinson (trade, Rockets), G Earl Watson (free agent, Jazz), G Mo Williams (free agent, Jazz), F Dorell Wright (free agent, 76ers).



Trending Now


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    The 19th-century health scare that told women to worry about "bicycle face"
  2. 2
    Sex Valley: Tech's booming prostitution trade
  3. 3
    Colorado Is Consuming Way More Pot Than Anyone Ever Believed
  4. 4
    What Dan Gilbert said to LeBron James to get him to return to Cleveland
  5. 5
    Female Yahoo Exec Sued By a Female Employee for Sexual Harassment
+ show more