New addition Dion Waiters will be the NBA’s latest reclamation project, writes Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman. The Thunder believe Waiters can help them overcome their early season deficit because his mentality is aligned with the team’s. “I’m excited about bringing Dion aboard,” teammate Kevin Durant said. “A guy that has a lot of toughness. Being from the East Coast, I know a lot about Philadelphia, South Philly, where he comes from. Those guys are tough and they play with an edge. And that’s what we need here.” Oklahoma City is 1-1 since Waiters joined the team and he is shooting 34.8% from the field in his first two games.
Here’s a look at the rest of the Northwest Division:
- One of the beneficiaries of the Timofey Mozgov trade will be the new starting center for the Nuggets, writes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. Jusuf Nurkic‘s teammates are optimistic that the rookie can thrive in his new role. “He’s going to have to learn,” said guard Arron Afflalo. “It’s tough getting thrown in there under these circumstances. Sometimes when you become a starter in the NBA, it’s kind of earned over time or there’s a transition period within a summer or something. But to have a trade go down and suddenly you’re starting, it may be a lot for him, but he’s a maturing kid at this moment. He’s got a lot of tools and hopefully he takes advantage of this opportunity.”
- Elijah Millsap, the newest member of the Jazz, is making a name for himself in Utah, writes Jody Genessy of the Deseret News. The younger brother of veteran Paul Millsap has played 71 minutes in three games and has shot the ball well from behind the arc since arriving in Utah on a 10-day contract. With his impressive play, another deal from the Jazz could be on the horizon for the 27-year-old rookie, but that is simply my speculation.
- The Wolves are struggling this season and mental errors plague the young team, writes Andy Greder of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Minnesota has lost 15 games in a row and currently resides in second place of our reverse standings with a record of 5-31.
- LaMarcus Aldridge needs to be mentioned more often when discussing the best big men in the league, opines Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. Turner argues that other players such as Blake Griffin, Anthony Davis and Kevin Love get unfairly mentioned ahead of Aldridge when the discussion of the best power forward in the league comes up. Griffin has never advanced farther in the playoffs than Aldridge has, while Davis and Love have yet to make the postseason. The Blazers currently sit atop the Northwest Division with a record of 29-8.