GH And Petey's Timberwolves Blog

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Western Conference - Northwest Division

The T-Wolves are the *clear* favorites in this division and it's really not that close. Denver had a great season last year with a hardworking group of overachievers that outhustled and surprised many teams on the way to victory. They have upgraded but unfortunately will have a much tougher road ahead as teams will not be penciling in automatic Ws on their schedules when they face Denver. Here is how I see it breaking down: Timberwolves, Nuggets, Jazz, Supersonics, Trailblazers.

Timberwolves - Their best offseason move which actually went unnoticed by me until embarassingly recently is the acquisition of Eddie Griffin who once upon a time not long ago was a treeeemendous prospect with huuuge upside. Since then he's been labeled as a head case who can't control himself. I think this is a great pick-up for the Wolves as KG is the level-headed mentor who can set Griffin straight. The biggest thing for the Wolves is keeping their key players healthy and making sure that if everyone is healthy, role players have a role to play (i.e. Wally 'Never Met a Shot He Didn't Take' Szczerbiak). Oh, and they need to dump Kandi for any big man with a pulse and the willingness to give 10%.

Nuggets - One of the true success stories (besides the Pistons) from last year. Not only do they work hard at both ends of the court and play team basketball but they have an exciting group of players and are fun to watch. Kenyon Martin can really make this a team that will be tough to play as he will act as an ultra aggressive defensive leader who also happens to be quite talented on the offesnive end. If Camby can stay healthy (a big if as his career has been plagued by injuries) then they will certainly make the playoffs again and may be able to contend for the 'ship. That is a tall order as their team is quite young and not used to playing against teams who are taking them seriously. Another question is whether 'Melo step his game up to the next level or if he'll become a Glenn Robinson scorer who fills the bucket but can't do much else for his team.

Jazz - They play basketball the right way and have to overpay mediocre talent because no one wants to play in Utah. I'd like to say that on paper they can't make the playoffs but if Jerry Sloan has taught me one thing it's that you can't count his teams out. I think the Jazz will sneak into the playoffs and be a huge pest to whichever team has to face them.

Supersonics - The drop-off from the Jazz to Sonics is pretty big but they do have *some* talent on their roster. Ray Allen has always had game but never found that superstar level -- maybe he'll find it now that he's Kobe's biggest rival. They also have Rashard Lewis who never became the high school draft stud that they were hoping for. He is a nice player but is making max money and he's not good enough to build a team around. I do have to give them a nod for signing Danny 'The Tank' Fortson -- a personal fav.

Trailblazers - It is more likely that their starting five will be in jail by the end of the season than playing in the NBA playoffs. 'Nuff said.

Yeah, so the T-wolves are lookin' set to take their division this year and will be a clear contender for the 'ship -- Go T-wolves!