The Northwest Division may not have any of the top-tier championship contenders, but it certainly has nice depth and a host of teams expected to be in the thick of the playoff race in the Western Conference. Three teams all have a legitimate reason to believe that by the end of the season they will emerge with the Northwest Division crown. The Utah Jazz are the slight favorites heading into the season, but the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers are right there as well.
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- Utah Jazz +130
- Denver Nuggets +141
- Portland Trail Blazers +318
- Minnesota Timberwolves +4309
- Oklahoma City Thunder +9000
Northwest Division Odds Analysis
The Jazz have been a solid team the last couple of years and are hoping to take the next step and become a true contender in 2019-20. They made a big-time move this offseason, acquiring star point guard Mike Conley from the Grizzlies to round out a talented roster. Donovan Mitchell will also start in the backcourt, giving Utah a deadly duo. Rudy Gobert and Joe Ingles return to flank them, while Utah also added Emmanuel Mudiay and Bojan Bogdanovic to strengthen the roster. The Jazz have been good but not great in recent seasons but the addition of Conley has raised the expectations.
The Nuggets are the defending champions of the division. Nikola Jokic has transformed into one of the best big men in the NBA, while Jamal Murray is a key piece in the backcourt. Denver has impressive depth and plays at a fast pace, which can make it tough for opponents to keep up when the contests are played in the thin air of Colorado. The Nuggets are hoping that Michael Porter can be a difference-maker. He was hampered by a back injury last year but has a ton of potential and could really lift the team’s ceiling if he lives up to the hype.
The Trail Blazers made it further than anyone else in the division in last year’s playoffs, pushing all the way to the Western Conference Finals before falling to the Warriors. They return the dynamic backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, while Jusuf Nurkic returns after an injury cut his 2018-19 season short. The Blazers also added Hassan Whiteside, so there is a lot to like about this roster.
The Timberwolves would love to be in contention for the division crown but it seems unlikely. Karl-Anthony Towns is a legitimate superstar, but there is just not enough talent around him. Andrew WIggins has plateaued as a player, and unless he suddenly breaks out and becomes the star many expected, the T-Wolves will be short on firepower once again.
The Oklahoma City Thunder was used to winning division titles in recent years but has gone into rebuilding mode, dealing both Paul George and Russell Westbrook this offseason. They have a few good young players and a boatload of draft picks, but it’s going to take awhile to turn things around.
It’s easy to consider any of the top three teams to win the division, and based on the odds, it makes sense to go with the biggest underdog. The Blazers have a good team with plenty of experience, and they should be able to keep up with the Jazz and Nuggets all year long. Portland is a nice value selection at +318 odds to win the Northwest Division in 2019-20.
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