Monday, October 27, 2008

NBA Preview; Northwest Division

Utah Jazz
Coach: Jerry Sloan
Projected Finish: 57-25
Projected Starters
C – Mehmut Okur (14.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 0.4 bpg)
PF – Carlos Boozer (21.1 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 0.5 bpg)
SF – Andrei Kirilenko (11.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 4.0 apg)
SG – Ronnie Brewer (12.0 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.8 apg)
PG – Deron Williams (18.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 10.5 apg)
Key Reserves
F- Paul Milsap (8.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.0 apg)
F- C.J. Miles (5.0 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 0.9 apg)
Deron Williams will start the season on the injured list, but should be back after the first two or three regular season games. They have two Team USA members in Boozer and Williams, plus the always dangerous Andrei Kirilenko. Amazingly Jerry Sloan's message never gets old, even though he is the longest tenured coach in the Association.

Portland Trail Blazers
Coach: Nate McMillan
Projected Finish: 50-32
Projected Starters
C – Greg Oden (DNP injury)
PF – LaMarcus Aldridge (17.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.2 bpg)
SF –Travis Outlaw (13.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.3 apg)
SG –Brandon Roy (19.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 5.8 apg)
PG – Steve Blake (8.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 5.1 apg)
Key Reserves
G- Jerryd Bayless (Rookie)
C- Joel Przybilla ( 4.8 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1.2 bpg)
They were the "feel good" story of the first half of last season, before fading down the stretch and missing the playoffs. A healthy Greg Oden, along with rookies Bayless, Sergio Rodriguez, and Nicolas Batum should give the Blazers a much better end result this season.

Denver Nuggets
Coach: George Karl
Projected Finish: 48-34
Projected Starters
C – Nene (5.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 0.3 bpg)
PF – Kenyon Martin (12.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.2 bpg)
SF – Carmelo Anthony (25.7 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 3.4 apg)
SG – Allen Iverson (26.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 7.1 apg)
PG – Anthony Carter (7.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 5.5 apg)
Key Reserves
F/G - Linas Kleiza (11.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg. 1.2 apg)
G- J.R. Smith (12.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.7 apg)
The Denver Nuggets are a team that may be heading on the downward slope of the NBA mountain. This team has some major issues. When times are going good, you can not find a better teammate than A.I. However when things turn sour, Iverson's attitude usually does also. Nene is recovering from cancer, K-Mart has had an attitude since playing for Bobby Huggins. Carmelo looked like he would end up in another city, at the beginning of the Summer. Team management assured Anthony, and his agent no move would be made this season. Unlike Utah's Jerry Sloan, George Karl's message does get lost after a few seasons. Milwaukee, and Seattle can attest to that.

Oklahoma City Thunder
Coach: P.J. Carlesimo
Projected Finish: 24-58
Projected Starters
C – Nick Collison (9.8 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 0.8bpg)
PF – Chris Wilcox (13.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 0.6 bpg)
SF – Jeff Green (10.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.5 apg)
SG – Kevin Durant (20.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.4 apg)
PG – Earl Watson (10.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 6.8 apg)
Key Reserves
G- Russell Westbrook (Rookie)
F/C- Johan Petro (6.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 0.6 bpg)
Could somebody please tell David Stern OKC is not in the Northwest? "The Team Formerly Known As The Seattle SuperSonics" have a lot of young talent on their roster. However it will take some time for them to become a cohesive unit. P.J. Carlesimo may not be the right coach to take this group to the next level.

Minnesota Timberwolves
Coach: Randy Wittman
Projected Finish: 22-60
Projected Starters
C – Al Jefferson (21.0 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 1.5 bpg)
PF – Kevin Love (Rookie)
SF – Ryan Gomes (12.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.8 apg)
SG – Mike Miller (16.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 3.4 apg)
PG – Randy Foye (13.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 4.2 apg)
Key Reserves
G- Sebastain Telfair (9.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 5.9 apg)
G/F-Corey Brewer (5.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.4 apg)
Anoter team where the individual pieces are greater than the combined sum. There is talent on the T-Wolves roster, as they head into year two of the post Garnett era. Love will bust his tail, Miller is a talent, but again this is a long term project not an over night success story. Randy Wittman, is one of the nicest guys you could ever meet, but he is not a head coach. He would have problems leading people out of a phone booth.

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