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OKC Thunder: Breaking down the changes in the NBA's Northwest Division

Darnell Mayberry takes a look at the changes and outlook for most of the Northwest Division's teams.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: September 23, 2012
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Key losses: Devin Harris, C.J. Miles, Josh Howard.

Outlook: Harris was a disappointment in Utah, and now that he's gone Williams should have the reins with a chance to show how much he has left as a starter after excelling in a sixth man's role last year. The Jazz, meanwhile, are a young team that should take the next step and continue its climb up the Western Conference ladder. Utah should land somewhere between the sixth seed and eighth seed.

MINNESOTA

Key additions: Brandon Roy, Andrei Kirilenko, Chase Budinger.

Key losses: Michael Beasley. Darko Milicic, Brad Miller, Anthony Randolph.

Outlook: On March 12, the Wolves were 22-21. Minnesota then finished 4-19 while forced to play the final 25 games without Ricky Rubio. But the Wolves should be even better this year when Rubio returns and now have a good chance at making the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

PORTLAND

Key additions: Damian Lillard, Meyers Leonard, Victor Claver, Jared Jeffries, Ronnie Price.

Key losses: Jamal Crawford, Raymond Felton, Kurt Thomas.

Outlook: The Blazers could be a surprise team or could struggle. They have a ton of young talent, but how quickly that talent develops will determine how successful they'll be this season. A playoff berth this year, however, seems a tall task in the West.

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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