Stocked with some of the NBA's most up-and-coming teams, along with one of its recent title contenders, the Northwest Division may be in considerable flux this season.
The Utah Jazz are rebuilding the right way—by losing a lot of games while also giving intriguing youngsters copious minutes. Remember, an incredibly talented 2014 draft and free-agent class await, as do much better days.
In the middle, the Portland Trail Blazers and Minnesota Timberwolves are deeper and more dangerous than ever before, but their real problem (health) still looms as an ongoing concern. With the Denver Nuggets undergoing radical internal changes, however, there's every reason to believe that the door is open for a lower playoff berth if the right team can capitalize.
Then, there's the Oklahoma City Thunder, long masters of the Central playground. But is their supremacy slipping just a bit? Their win-now starting lineup is both waiting on Russell Westbrook's return and for their "developmental" bench carry him while they do so. They face a tougher climb than ever before, but few teams have more youth, upside and sheer talent than the Thunder do.
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We'll preview the key storylines for the entire division while predicting the outcome and final standings, and we're especially interested to hear your take on the situation in the comments section!
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