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NBA 2023 Offseason Grades: Northwest Division

Northwest NBA

Blazers rookie Scoot Henderson is the future – and perhaps the present – of the franchise. (Photo: Lucas Peltier/USA Today Sports)

Northwest Division NBA
Portland Trailblazers rookie Scoot Henderson is the future – and perhaps the present – of the franchise. (Photo: Lucas Peltier/USA Today Sports)

NBA 2023 Offseason Grades: Northwest Division

As we await the start of NBA training camps, let’s look back at the offseason and assess how each team fared. Today, we’re examining the Northwest Division.

As always, we give a thankful nod to Hoopshype, whose diligence in collating NBA player movements make it so easy for us writers. In case you missed it, we’ve covered the Atlantic Division. We’ll take a look at the Central Division in a few days’ time.

Now let’s hop into our Northwest Division grades!

Denver Nuggets: C-

Major additions:

Major subtractions:

The Nuggets’ grade feels a little unfortunate, given that championship-winning teams often go through what Denver has just experienced, namely losing cheap role players who parlay their ring into cold hard cash.

Given the success of Christian Braun last campaign (and the hype around Peyton Watson), you can see why the Nuggets have placed their faith in their draft picks to round out the rotation. Given the inherent riskiness of playing rookies on a contending team, this could leave the Nuggets looking awfully thin, especially given two of their big three are not the most durable. It’s in that light – and only in that light – that the retaining of Reggie Jackson and DeAndre Jordan makes sense.

Minnesota Timberwolves: B

Major additions:

Major subtractions:

Minnesota made moves around the edges this offseason, moving replacement-level veterans for younger replacement-level veterans. They did do some nice work on draft night, nabbing the highly-rated Leonard Miller early in the 2nd round and getting good value in Jaylen Clark in the 50s.

Whilst their picks look solid, the Wolves primarily earned their grade not for who they gained or lost, but rather for who they retained: Anthony Edwards and Naz Reid.

Oklahoma City Thunder: B+

Major addition:

Major subtractions:

The ascendant Thunder didn’t really need to shake things up this offseason. That said, the moves they did make generally served a purpose.

Bertans and Oladipo were asset plays, acquired with sweeteners attached. At worst, they’ll serve as veteran mentors and/or trade fodder. Micic, a Euroleague star, is a low-risk gamble. White, who impressed for Australia at the recent World Cup, will serve as Josh Giddey’s off-court sidekick.

Cason Wallace was an interesting move, though. Clearly, the Kentucky guard is a serious talent. However, with Giddey, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Micic on the roster, where does he fit in?

Portland Trailblazers: B-

Major additions:

Major subtractions:

The Blazers clearly felt as though they were going to keep hold of Damian Lillard. Why else would you offer a gazillion dollars to Jerami Grant?

Once Dame eventually pulled the rug from under them, the Blazers pivoted well. Scoot Henderson fell into their laps at No. 3, whilst Kris Murray and Rayan Rupert represent excellent value for their respective draft slots. Moses Brown and Duop Reath (this writer has long campaigned for Reath to make an NBA roster) are worthy flyers for the backup centre role.

Once Portland eventually makes a Damian Lillard trade, they’ll be stocked with young assets and picks in order to expedite their rebuild.

Utah Jazz: A-

Major additions:

Major subtractions:

Danny Ainge making asset plays? Never!

John Collins finally got his move out of Atlanta, though for rather less than the Hawks would have hoped for. Throw in the all-upside trio of first-round picks made by the Jazz as well as underrated rebounding machine Omer Yurtseven, and the Jazz have enjoyed a very productive off-season.

As for what they gave up, Utah only surrendered the calcified Rudy Gay and a pair of low-potential bigs in Carey and Azubuike.

The only nit-pick on Utah’s off-season is that they didn’t acquire a clear game-changer. Then again, nobody envisioned Lauri Markkanen making an NBA All-Star team this time a year ago, either.

What do you think of our Northwest division grades? Let us know in the comments!


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