The Northwest division was represented well this last playoffs, with the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz joining the Western Conference winner, the Oklahoma City Thunder, in the post season fun. Just missing out were the Portland Trail Blazers who had a ton of injuries, and the Minnesota Timberwolves, who lost their starting point guard for half the season.For the most part, each of these teams got BETTER over the off-season.
The previous decade, from 2002-03 till last season marked a strong run by Pacific teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns, and South West teams like the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs. The Northwest division had not fared that well during the last decade, but the ascent of these five teams are apparent. Led by the Thunder, who were Finalists, the other four teams look to make strong plays for the post season.
It isn't crazy to assume that HALF the playoff teams representing the Western Conference this 2012-13 season will be from our division. It isn't crazy to assume that this decade will be the decade of the Northwest division. OKC is super strong and just coming into their peak. Denver was part of a block buster deal and just picked up Andre Iguodala while their young, athletic center studied under Hakeem Olajuwon this off-season. Portland has all the money in the world, and drafted a potential stud in Damian Lillard. Minnesota is full of solid talent. And our Jazz, well, our Jazz have both youth and cap space, and will not be ignored by future free agents.
Yes, this decade is ours.