The NBA’s Western Conference, Northeast Division has to be considered one of the best with 4 of the 5 teams likely headed to the playoffs once again. The Kevin Durant led OKC Thunder, will likely lead the pack but will be challenged by the Denver Nuggets (if Carmelo stays) and a young Portland Trail Blazer team. Even the dependable Utah Jazz could end up winning this division.
Additions: Cole Aldrich, Morris Peterson, Daequan Cook
Subtractions: Etan Thomas
The Oklahoma City Thunder seemingly came out of nowhere last year and be a dominant force in the NBA. Kevin Durant is a beast and will only get better. Fans in OKC are also excited to see what young talented players like Serge Ibaka and James Harden can bring to the table with increased minutes.
Ticket Demand: B
The OKC Thunder are an exciting young team with a NBA superstar in Kevin Durant. Ticket demand would be an A+ is this team was in a major market that had a history with the NBA. Be that as it may, OKC fans should be intrigued by this team.
Additions: Al Harrington, Shelden Williams
Subtractions: Malik Allen, Joey Graham, Johan Petro
As long as Carmelo Anthony is still a member, the Denver Nuggets will be one of the top teams in the Western Conference. Along with “melo, the Nuggets also have solid pieces in place with Nene, Harrington, and Chauncey Billups. That said, the core of this team is not getting any younger and are likely on the decline.
Ticket Demand: B+
The Nuggets have one of the most exciting players in the NBA in Carmelo Anthony (for the time being) but Denver is not exactly the best basketball market.
Additions: Wesley Matthews
Subtractions: Juwan Howard, Martell Webster, Luke Babbitt, Armon Johnson
The Portland Trail Blazers could be one of the teams that improve the most this season. They have one of the best guards in the NBA with Brandon Roy to go along with a stellar power forward in LaMarcus Aldridge. If Greg Oden can stay healthy and live up to his enormous potential, the NBA Finals are not out of the question.
Ticket Demand: B+
The Trail Blazers have a young and exciting team in a fairly large market. If the Blazers take a step forward this year as we expect, tickets could be in big demand.
#4 Utah Jazz
Additions: Al Jefferson, Raja Bell, Francisco Elson
Subtractions: Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver, Wesley Matthews, Kosta Koufos
It seems the Utah Jazz lose key players year after year but somehow Jerry Sloan keeps putting together playoff caliber teams. Sloan should once again be able to surround Deron Williams and Andrei Kirilenko with a solid support casting that will once again be consistently good.
Ticket Demand: B-
The Utah Jazz have perhaps the best point guard in the game with Deron Williams but Salt Lake City is a subpar basketball market and are not expected to contend for a NBA title.
Additions: Wesley Johnson, Michael Beasley, Martell Webster, Luke Ridnour
Subtractions: Ramon Sessions, Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes
The Timberwolves have been cellar dwellars since Kevin Garnett left the team and its hard to imagine things changing much this season. That said, the Timberwolves acquired former 1st round pick Michael Beasley and if he ever turns out to be the player everyone thought he could be they future might be just a little brighter. Apparently has cleaned up his act and is more focused – only time will tell.
Ticket Demand: C+
Minnesota hasn’t had much to be excited about in some time and that is clearly reflected in their ticket demand. If Beasley can become a star, things might look up a bit but the Timberwolves will have a hard time giving away tickets.