Northwest Notes: KAT, Westbrook, Rubio, Jazz

The Timberwolves‘ moves this offseason have drastically improved the team and put the organization in a position to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2004. The acquisition of Jimmy Butler and the free agency signing of Jeff Teague fusing with the current core of Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns poses a serious threat to the Western Conference.

Towns spoke to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News to clarify his recent comments in which he referred to the Timberwolves as a budding dynasty. The former Rookie of the Year cited the Warriors, Spurs, and Cavaliers as real dynasties but maintained confidence in winning with Minnesota’s upgraded roster.

“For me, what everyone needs to know is that we’ve made great moves,” Towns said. “We made great moves to make ourselves better. I have been very fortunate to be with such a great franchise and the organization is going to do so well from here on out. I think we are building a team that has a great sense of what it wants to be, and also adding players who ooze greatness and ooze winning, it’s just something that is contagious.”

The team’s quest for improvement has been noticed by other stars, most prominently disgruntled Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, who reportedly listed Minnesota as one of his four preferred destinations if he was traded. Playing in the same conference with the defending champion Warriors and perennial powerhouse Spurs will be difficult but a young, athletic, and hungry Minnesota squad could see a drastic improvement in 2017/18.

Below are additional notes around the Northwest Division:

  • Reigning NBA MVP Russell Westbrook recently visited Oklahoma City but he is not in the Thunder‘s home city to sign an extension, Brett Dawson of the Oklahoman writes. Westbrook, a Los Angeles native, primarily spends his summers in California but is known to visit OKC periodically during the offseason, Dawson adds.
  • Newest Jazz point guard Ricky Rubio no longer has to worry about trade talk after the deal that brought him Minnesota to Utah. After years of rumors involving Rubio, the six-year NBA veteran tells Ryan McDonald of The Deseret News that he was happy to be dealt to “an organization that really believed in me.”
  • After the losses of Gordon Hayward and George Hill, the Jazz may have an issue with spacing and three-point shooting next season, Benjamin Nehic of The Desert News writes. Utah’s spacing with its current roster is projected to dip and with less effective outside shooters, the team may have to adopt a new primary scoring method.
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16 thoughts on “Northwest Notes: KAT, Westbrook, Rubio, Jazz

  1. Dionis

    Hood is a sniper, and Ingles can also make the 3. The Jazz might actually be even better depending on how much bigger of a role Gobert can take offensively. If Gobert can develop a jumpshot the Jazz would still be top 5 out West, Snyder must be salivating of coaching Ricky Rubio.

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  2. Dude, you’re trolling surely?! They’ll be good for the 8th seed, if they’re lucky.

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  3. Well, I want some of what you’re having.
    If they’re top 5, we’ll assume that’s behind GSW, SAS, HOU and then LAC/POR/MIN
    They then have a battle on their hands against DEN, NOP, MEM, and whoever you leave out of the LAC/POR/MIN triumvirate jostling for 4/5.
    You don’t lose Hayward, Hill and Diaw and expect to play the same brand of ball when all you have is Favors, Gobert, Hood, Ingles and Rubio as your starting five.
    Dream on Dionis

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    • AGAVE

      jbl…good view.
      May be why Hayward moved on.
      More open opportunities in East for him excel

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    • Grant
      Grant

      Forgot OKC lol. Honestly it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they had a season similar to last years Nuggets which would probably be on par with 9th or 10th in the conference considering who improved. Their main competition will be LAC/POR/DEN/MEM/NO for the playoffs. I feel like GSW, SAS, HOU,OKC, MIN are a pretty set top 5 without injuries

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  4. I don’t even think they’ll be better than PHX or DAL, c’mon man

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    • Philly Fan

      They won’t be as bad as Phoenix. Utah has a slow pace and lock up on defense. With both their pace and defense slowing teams down, they’ll be a 8-10 team.

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  5. formerlyz

    I see Utah as potentially a 6-10 team this year. I don’t think they’re totally killed by losing Hayward and Hill b/c of their depth, and potential step ups from certain guys, as well as good spot up shooters for Rubio. That being said, they’ll be in that group of teams fighting it out for those spots. They could have a chance to recover next year or the year after though

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  6. H.Henderson

    Warriors-Spurs-Rockets-Thunder- all are locked 1-4. 5-8 will be: Blazzers-Timberwolves-Pelicans-Grizzlies. Threats to steal the eighth seed are: Clippers-Mavericks-Lakers-Nuggets-Suns. The Jazz and Kings will more than likely be out of the playoff run next season. Hope they own their picks.

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    • H.Henderson

      My reasoning for my predictions is that the Warriors locked in their core. Spurs are the real threat to the Warriors. Thunder, Timberwolves, and Rockets all improved. Everyone else made minor adjustments, but the Kings Jazz got worse by losing their star players. At least for the Kings it was at last years trade deadline and received accommodations for Cousins. The Jazz lost Hayward outright.

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      • GuruGray

        You can’t actually believe that the Lakers will be better than the Jazz next year

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