NBA - October 18, 2019

NBA 2019-20 Season Preview Part IV

The fourth part of the NBA season preview

This is the fourth part of the ongoing NBA season preview series.  Each part is going to deal with one division. The roster changes of each team, the expectations coming into this season, what they might perform like, how season will end, their final win total at the end of regular season will be discussed. How the season ends, and their final win total are this author’s assumptions based on previous season, roster changes and injuries going into this season. In season injuries based on the player will dramatically affect and alter the prediction of a team.

The Northwest Division is the next division up for preview, consisting of the Denver Nuggets, the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Portland Trail Blazers and the Utah Jazz.

Denver Nuggets

  • Roster changes:
    • In:
      • Rookies: Bol Bol , Vlatko Cancar , Tyler Cook.
      • Trades/Free Agent Acquisitions: J. Dozier, Jerami Grant, Tyler Zeller.
    • Out:
      • Brandon Goodwin, Tyler Lydon, Trey Lyles, Isaiah Thomas, Thomas Welsh
    • Same as previous season:
      • Will Barton, Malik Beasley, Torrey Craig, Gary Harris, Juancho Hernangómez, Nikola Jokic, Paul Millsap, Monte Morris, Jamal Murray, Mason Plumlee, Michael Porter Jr., Jarred Vanderbilt.
  • Expectations coming into this season:
    • Losing a hard fought second round home series in the playoff last season, the Nuggets will be expected to take the next step this season. Having the best passing big man in the league in Nikola Jokic and a very good young core around him, great things can be expected from this team. An improved western conference with more star power might just stop this very good but non-superstar led team from taking that next step.
  • Expected performance this season:
    • They are a very young and fun team. They will top the regular season table in a loaded western conference. The Nuggets should once again lose in the second round of the playoffs.
  • Where they’ll end the season:
    • Top of the table in regular season and lose in the second round of playoffs.
  • Expected win total this season:
    • 56-26

Minnesota Timberwolves

  • Roster changes:
    • In:
      • Rookies: Jarrett Culver, Kelan Martin, Jordan McLaughlin, Jaylen Nowell, Naz Reid.
      • Trades/Free Agent Acquisitions: Jordan Bell, Treveon Graham, Jake Layman, Shabazz Napier, Noah Vonleh, Tyrone Wallace.
    • Out:
      • Jerryd Bayless, Mitch Creek, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, Tyus Jones, Cameron Reynolds, Derrick Rose, Dario Saric, Jared Terrell, Anthony Tolliver, C.J. Williams.
    • Same as previous season:
      • Keita Bates-Diop, Robert Covington, Gorgui Dieng, Josh Okogie, Jeff Teague, Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins.
  • Expectations coming into this season:
    • Last season was the season they were supposed to make the playoffs and make some noise there with Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. But, with Butler traded early last season, their season went from bad to worse and they promptly went on to miss the playoffs. With no major upgrade done to the starting XI, this season will once again be a repeat of the last season.
  • Expected performance this season:
    • They will once again just be outside the playoff spots in the western conference.
  • Where they’ll end the season:
    • Outside the playoff spots.
  • Expected win total this season:
    • 34-48

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Roster changes:
    • In:
      • Rookies: Darius Bazley, Luguentz Dort, Devon Hall.
      • Trades/Free Agent Acquisitions: Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Mike Muscala, Justin Patton, Chris Paul.
    • Out:
      • Jawun Evans, Raymond Felton, Paul George, Jerami Grant, Donte Grantham, Markieff Morris, Patrick Patterson, Russell Westbrook.
    • Same as previous season:
      • Steven Adams, Hamidou Diallo, Terrance Ferguson, Abdel Nader, Nerlens Noel, André Roberson, Dennis Schröder, Deonte Burton.
  • Expectations coming into this season:
    • No team lost more star power over the offseason than OKC. With the loss of their twin stars Russel Westbrook and Paul George, they are sure to suffer a massive drop in quality and finish outside the playoff spots this season. Though Chris Paul is a decent addition, he is not the Chris Paul he used to be. The Chris Paul situation is the most interesting thing about this year’s OKC.
  • Expected performance this season:
    • Finishing near the bottom of the table.
  • Where they’ll end the season:
    • Finishing near the bottom
  • Expected win total this season:
    • 30-52

Portland Trail Blazers

  • Roster changes:
    • In:
      • Rookies: Jaylen Hoard, Nassir Little.
      • Trades/Free Agent Acquisitions: Kent Bazemore, Troy Caupain, Pau Gasol, Mario Hezonja, London Perrantes, Anthony Tolliver, Hassan Whiteside.
    • Out:
      • Al-Farouq Aminu, Seth Curry, Moe Harkless, Enes Kanter, Jake Layman, Meyers Leonard, Evan Turner.
    • Same as previous season:
      • Zach Collins, Rodney Hood, Skal Labissiere, Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic, Anfernee Simons, Gary Trent Jr..
  • Expectations coming into this season:
    • Swept in the Western Conference finals by a banged up Warriors is sure going to hurt Damian Lillard and co. While they have done a decent job of shoring up the bench depth they have lost over the summer along with the addition of Hassan Whiteside, the improved western conference should lead to a familiar old tale.
  • Expected performance this season:
    • Last couple of seasons have proven that this team can certainly make the top of table in the regular season, this season won’t be it. They’ll finish in the lower half of the playoff spots.
  • Where they’ll end the season:
    • While the loss of Jusuf Nurkic to injury before the playoffs definetly contributed to their sweep in the WCF, this will be another also ran year for the boys from Rip City. First Round Playoff exit.
  • Expected win total this season:
    • 50-32

Utah Jazz

  • Roster changes:
    • In:
      • Rookies: William Howard, Stanton Kidd, Miye Oni, Nigel Williams-Goss, Jarrell Brantley.
      • Trades/Free Agent Acquisitions: Bojan Bogdanovic, Mike Conley, Ed Davis, Jeff Green, Emmanuel Mudiay, Justin Wright-Foreman.
    • Out:
      • Grayson Allen, Tyler Cavanaugh, Jae Crowder, Derrick Favors, Kyle Korver, Naz Mitrou-Long, Raul Neto, Ricky Rubio, Thabo Sefolosha, Ekpe Udoh.
    • Same as previous season:
      • Tony Bradley, Dante Exum, Rudy Gobert, Joe Ingles, Donovan Mitchell, Georges Niang, Royce O’Neale.
  • Expectations coming into this season:
    • Big things were expected of this team last season with reigning Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell who finished 2nd in the Rookie of the Year award in his rookie season 2 seasons ago. But, all those expectations fell flat in the playoffs last year. Their big weakness last season was the lack of shot creators on the team even with Ricky Rubio in it. This season they went and got Mike Conley who is sure to provide some impetus to this team offensively. Though the loss of outside shooting with Derrick Favors, Kyle Korver leaving this team is palpable.
  • Expected performance this season:
    • They will be near the top of the table this season but, once again fail to make any impact in the playoffs.
  • Where they’ll end the season:
    • First Round Playoff Exit
  • Expected win total this season:
    • 53-29

 

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