I was pretty happy when I found out that I'd been assigned the Northwest Division for the 2008/9 season. So here it is, worst to first baby!
4) Minnesota Timberwolves
Last season: 22-60
Wow, this team sucks. This team has been working on rebuilding since Garnett moved on, and it hasn't been easy so far. Jefferson banged up his knee in September, so he might not even be starting the season with the Wolves. There are high hopes for rookie Kevin Love, and the pickup of Mike Miller should help distribute the 'scoring' load a bit more, but this team is still destined for the basement. Like I said, this team sucks.
On another note, nba.com shows Mark Madsen as having no team for this season. The Wolves need to bring this guy back. He's always reminded my of "Lenny" from Of Mice and Men, but on Red Bull. Always wanted to do right, but just a bit simple.
3) Denver Nuggets
Last season: 50-32
I have wanted to get behind the Nuggets for a few years now, but I honestly have no idea what the hell this team is up to. For anyone who caught a Nuggets game last season (especially in the playoffs) you will remember that their defense resembled a high school team. It gets better, they got rid of their best defender (Camby) to save a little bank. I understand that they have a great duo in 'Melo and A.I, but it's not going to be nearly enough in the West. I love the way Iverson plays the game, but he's getting older and I think that this is the season where it really starts to show. This guy has more miles on him that most players with the same amount of games because he's a warrior. With 'Melo flossing some new Gold, he might be inspired to take this team to the next level, but I just don't see it happening. However, they DO get the award for the most team tattoos, so that has got to count for something (not much).
On the bright side, The Birdman (Chris Anderson) is back in the NBA after a 2 year drug induced hiatus. This guy fucking rules. First of all, I've got to support any white dude that has the sack to enter the Dunk Contest at all, let alone twice. Then, to TOTALLY shit the bed during the actual competition to the point where other players were laughing made it that much better. I'm with you Birdman, but let's see if you can fly as high without your "special pipe".
2) Portland Trailblazers
Last season: 41-41
This team surprised everyone last year by going on that long winning streak. Most of all, I think that the Blazers surprised themselves. With Oden going down before the season started, things were looking pretty bleak for this team. They stepped it up a notch with Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge leading the charge. Brandon Roy had a great season and really came into his own. No one wants to see a player get injured, but Oden being injured last season gave Roy the room to grow, and it will help the team in the long run.
Oh ya, and Greg Oden is going to play this season. I've been waiting patiently to see this guy in action, so personally I can't wait. I think that he will live up to the hype, and it will be great to have another young big man in the league with so much potential. For a guy who was born in 1988, he looks kinda old but I like his hat.
1) Utah Jazz
Last season: 54-28
The Jazz will be winning this division again unless the Blazers decide to go balls out and take over the NBA this season instead of one of the next few. Deron Williams performed well again last season, and continues to look more and more confident running the team. Jerry Sloan has been a great coach for the Jazz, and I don't expect that to change this season. The Jazz have a decent 3 ball game with Korver and Okur, and the pickup of Brevin Knight will provide some much needed rest for Williams at PG. Boozer continued to be dominant in the post again last season, and after tasting a little Gold of his own expect him to work even harder. I'm not really sure what to say about Kirilenko. I love the nickname AK-47, but he's been all over the place in recent seasons. AK-47 needs to start playing a little dirtier (see Bruce Bowen), get more aggressive on D, and turn himself into a stopper. If he can grab a few board as well and score a couple points, that would be a bonus.
You have probably noticed by now that there are only 4 teams in this divisional review. That's because in my NBA, the Seattle Supersonics still exist. I think that Shawn Kemp should step up and start a new Sonics franchise using his own children.
It's funny to see how things work out sometimes. Aubrey McClendonn is the guy behind moving the Sonics out of Seattle, and it seems that the people of Seattle will be able to sleep a little better at night now that karma seems to have slapped him around a bit after losing $1.86 billion in recent months. Eat a dick buddy.
This review wouldn't be complete without some words on Kevin Durant, but I feel that he requires his own post on account of a shitty owner and shitty teammates.
Next Column: "A Letter to Kevin Durant"...