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NBA Early Season Impressions: Northwest Division

The NBA season is now two weeks in and there are so many story lines throughout the league. Here are my early season impressions of the northwest division.

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Denver Nuggets

The defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets are right back to being the best team in the western conference, if not the NBA. They are currently 7-1 and are executing at a very high level on both ends of the floor. The Nuggets are 10th in points per game, scoring 117 a night. They are fourth in defense, only giving up 106.1 points per game. They are already dealing with some obstacles as Jamal Murray is out with a hamstring injury and there is no timetable for his return. If any team can hold down the fort until their starting point guard comes back its the Nuggets.

Minnesota Timberwolves

The Minnesota Timberwolves have come out strong to start the season, currently 4-2. There are only two teams in the western conference with one loss, the Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks. Minnesota was the team who beat both of them. So, not only are the Timberwolves winning but they are beating the best of the best. They are doing it with their defense. Minnesota is ranked first in defense in the NBA, only giving up 101.2 points per game. Anthony Edwards is emerging as a superstar. He is averaging 28.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game. He has also been very efficient shooting 52% from the floor and 47% from the three. This team is SCARY!

Oklahoma City Thunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder came into this season with high expectations. They have Shai Gilgeous-Alexander coming off of a season where he was voted first team All-NBA. They also added Chet Holmgren who was the number two overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft. He missed all of last season with a foot injury. He looks to be worth the wait as he is averaging 17 points, eight rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game. The Thunder are a well oiled machine on offense with five players who are averaging double figures. The one thing this team is missing is consistency on the defensive end of the floor. Once they get that, the sky is the limit.

Portland Trailblazers

The Portland Trailblazers came into this season with low expectations. This is definitely a rebuilding year. This is the first season of the post Damian Lillard era. They are currently 3-4 and do have some positives to take away from this year so far. Portland has been a good defensive team so far, giving up 109.7 points per game. That is 10th best in the NBA. The problem is they don’t score enough points. They are 30th in points per game, scoring 104.3 a night. That will not cut it in today’s NBA. This is a process that will take a few years but there are some good things to look forward to.

Utah Jazz

The Utah Jazz are 2-6 and they are struggling on the defensive end of the floor. Utah is giving up 120.1 points per game, even the most dynamic offensive teams are not able to survive giving up that amount of points each night. On the bright side Lauri Markkanen continues to play at a high level after winning the Most Improved Player award last season. He is averaging 24 points per game, 8.8 rebounds per game, shooting 47% from the field and 43% from three. I’m afraid that Markkanen may be the only bright spot for the Jazz this season.

NBA Early Season Impressions: Southwest Division

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