Beyond the Toronto Raptors: Previewing a strong Northwest division

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Toronto Raptors

Toronto Raptors – Norman Powell (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Who are the Toronto Raptors competing with this season? We follow on our season previews with the strong Northwest Division.

As we continue to preview each rival for the Toronto Raptors this season, we move on to the Northwest Division, a collection of teams that have really raised their games over the last few years – though never all at once.

No division in the NBA is ever complete without a basement dweller, but the Northwest Division avoids that moniker this year. All five teams have reasonable expectations to make the playoffs, though some are more inclined to believe that they can than others.

In the grand scheme of things, divisions don’t really matter as much they used to. Teams are occasionally made to look foolish if they celebrate the conquering of their division. Conference titles and NBA championships are there to be celebrated – division titles not so much.

As a division, the Northwest has been consistently improving over the last few years. In the last four years, there have been four different winners, with the Denver Nuggets winning their first division title in nine years.

Once again, the division is up for grabs this year. The Nuggets will look to top the division once again, but the Portland Trail Blazers have been consistently good in the regular season, and the Utah Jazz could claim to be one of the best teams in the NBA this season.

Even both the Minnesota Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunder won’t project to be all that bad this season. The Thunder went through an offseason of real transition while the Timberwolves look like they are treading water – despite having one of the best young stars in the game.

Overall it’s a strong division that is anyone’s for the taking. Who looks like the top dog, though?

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