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-
- Julian Strawther (draft)
- Jalen Pickett (draft)
- Hunter Tyson (draft)
- Justin Holiday (free agent)
- Jay Huff (free agent)
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
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.
Oklahoma City Thunder: B+
- Davis Bertans (trade)
- Victor Oladipo (trade)
- Cason Wallace (draft)
- Keyontae Johnson (draft)
- Vasilije Micic (free agent)
- Jack White (free agent)
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.
Portland Trailblazers: B-
- Scoot Henderson (draft)
- Kris Murray (draft)
- Rayan Rupert (draft)
- Moses Brown (free agent)
- Duop Reath (free agent)
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-
- John Collins (trade)
- Taylor Hendricks (draft)
- Keyonte George (draft)
- Brice Sensabaugh (draft)
- Omer Yurtseven (free agent)
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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