Unfortunately, Greg Oden is going to be sidelined with knee problems for the entirety of the 2007-08 season. I say unfortunately because I really did want to see what the Portland Trailblazers, with the ancient looking big man and the rest of their young team, could really do this season. However, the one thing that Greg does have going for him in his favor is youth (presumably). Just look at Amare Stoudemire. He took his time, and a whole NBA season, to recover from a similar surgery and he was able to return to an All-NBA status. So here’s to hoping that Oden can do the same because not being able to enjoy such a promising NBA career would not only be a tragedy for Oden, but also for the rest of us who enjoy watching quality lowpost play. But on the other hand, the Nuggets shouldn’t have to worry about the Blazers too much because I am pretty sure that any noise out of the great northwest is going to be nothing more than static out of the basement of the division.
And as for the Nuggets biggest competition out of the great state of Utah…
The reports of discontent from Andrei Kirilenko are certainly enough to shake any Jazz fan to the core. He is reportedly willing to give up a full-size pick-up truck worth of Benjamins just to get the hell out of the great state of Utah. And I know what you’re about to say, “But AK-47 didn’t even have that great of a season last year, Doc”, and in these sentiments you would be partially correct, but what you are overlooking is AK’s impact that doesn’t make it into the box score. Kirilenko is a player that does all the little things both offensively and defensively that annoys, disrupts, and destroys continuity of the Jazz opponent. So, in any event, if the reports of Andrei not willing to play for the Jazz for any compensation due end up being true it is a good thing for the Nuggets.
And what about that situation up in Washington?
All the most current reports are leaning towards Seattle not having a basketball team in the next couple of years. The team’s ownership is still trying to bail on the final two years of their lease at Key Arena and nothing makes a team move faster than it’s ownership wanting out. Period. Now, they do have the most obvious favorite for NBA Rookie of the Year in Kevin Durant. But, what they do not have is anyone on the roster to compensate for Durant’s offensive skills on the defensive end, and trust me; they’re going to need it. The youngster may be the next best thing to George Gervin the NBA has seen since basketballs had three colors, but on defense, well, Wes Unseld he is not. And there is no way that he is going to make up for the Sonics management trading both Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis in just his first year in the NBA.
And who can forget the Timberwolves?
Sure they have a completely new team. Sure Al Jefferson is a beast. And sure they have little to no clearly defined player roles, but what is Kevin McHale going to do when the T-Wolves drop 10 out of their first 15 games and the finger pointing starts? Because the way that I see it is all the problems that all those former Celtics tried to leave in Boston are almost certainly going to follow the same cast of characters to the frigid lands of Minnesota. And without Kevin Garnett’s wide shoulders to carry the load...
Probably not the Nuggets or anyone else in the NBA.
So, the Northwest Division could arguably be the most twisted division in the entire NBA. Injuries, malcontented players, owners wanting change in scenery, and the departure of two All-Star caliber players from Seattle all seemingly mean good things for the Nuggets. But in keeping things honest, the Nuggets have their own problems to figure out. Fortunately, we seemingly have all the answers, (pun intended), in one shape or form.