Thursday, October 26, 2006

NBA Preview 2006-2007: Northwest Division

Click for each preview:
Awards and Playoffs

Each team is scored on a 1-10 scale based on its projected starting lineup, bench, head coach and general manager. The maximum score possible is 80.

Overall scores, brief summaries and franchise outlooks will predict how a team performs this upcoming season.

A final preview article will predict regular-season awards, playoff results and the eventual NBA champion.

Denver Nuggets

C: Marcus Camby (9)
PF: Kenyon Martin (8)
SF: Carmelo Anthony (10)
SG: JR Smith (7)
PG: Andre Miller (8.5)
Bench: NenĂª, Earl Boykins, Julius Hodge, Joe Smith (6.5)
Coach: George Karl (8.5)
GM: Mark Warkentien (6)
Overall: 63.5
Summary: Carmelo should finally make an All-Star team, and deservedly so. Miller is still a solid PG. It will be catastrophic for Denver if the perpetually fragile Camby and/or Martin are out for an extended time. NenĂª is the best option off the bench and he missed last season with a leg injury. A new environment may do wonders for JR Smith.
Outlook: Injury-proneness plus a weak bench spells doom for the Nuggets.

Minnesota Timberwolves
C: Mark Blount (6.5)
PF: Kevin Garnett (10)
SF: Ricky Davis (7.5)
SG: Rashad McCants (7.5)
PG: Mike James (8)
Bench: Randy Foye, Trenton Hassell, Troy Hudson, Marko Jaric, Bracey Wright, Craig Smith (7)
Coach: Terry Stotts (7)
GM: Kevin McHale (6.5)
Overall: 60
Poor KG once again will put up stellar stats despite the subpar supporting cast. James is a huge upgrade at the point over Jaric, but can he get the rock to Garnett enough? If not, Foye will have to step up. McCants will likely spend time in the NBDL to start the season. Blount and Davis may be more trouble than they’re worth.
Outlook: KG may want out real soon; McHale may be out even sooner.

Portland Trailblazers
C: Joel Przybilla (7.5)
PF: Zach Randolph (8)
SF: Darius Miles (7)
SG: Martell Webster (6.5)
PG: Jarrett Jack (7)
Bench: Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Sergio Rodriguez, Jamaal Magloire, Juan Dixon, Raef LaFrentz, Travis Outlaw (9)
Coach: Nate McMillan (8)
GM: Steve Patterson (8)
Overall: 61
Randolph and Miles are the franchise players despite both having less-than-superstar talent. Przybilla provides a workman-like attitude at center. The promising Aldrigdge will miss the first part of the season due to injury. Roy is the frontrunner for ROY honors and Rodriquez may surprise people. Reports say Magloire looks sluggish.
Outlook: Building for the future means suffering for the present.

Seattle Supersonics
C: Robert Swift (7)
PF: Chris Wilcox (8)
SF: Rashard Lewis (8.5)
SG: Ray Allen (9.5)
PG: Luke Ridnour (8)
Bench: Earl Watson, Johan Petro, Danny Fortson, Nick Collison, Damien Wilkins, Kareem Rush, Mouhamed Sene (7.5)
Coach: Bob Weiss (6.5)
GM: Rick Sund (8)
Overall: 63
Allen may be the world's purest jump shooter. Lewis is a great complimentary to Ray's perimeter game. Swift should flourish in his third season. Ridnour and Watson can both man the point position. Wilcox still shows lots of promise, as does Sene. Petro, Fortson and Collision provide size off the bench as well. There's absolutely no defense to speak of whatsover on this squad.
Outlook: No defense, no playoffs.

Utah Jazz
C: Mehmet Okur (8)
PF: Carlos Boozer (8.5)
SF: Andrei Kirilenko (9.5)
SG: Gordon Giricek (7)
PG: Deron Williams (7.5)
Bench: Ronnie Brewer, Derek Fisher, Dee Brown, Matt Harpring, Paul Millsap, Jarrod Collins (8)
Coach: Jerry Sloan (8.5)
GM: Kevin O’Connor (9)
Overall: 66
If the injury bug stays away, the Jazz will flourish. Kirilenko fills up the stat sheet every night. Boozer provides a great post-game while Okur's got touch on his shots. Williams will continue to grow into a solid court general. Brewer has great athleticism coming off the bench. Millsap was a rebounding beast in college and should control the boards in a limited role.
The year's biggest surprise or yet another letdown: there's no in between for Utah.

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