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Back to the question: the season that will affect the stars of Denver, Utah and Portland - Walla! sport

2021-10-13T12:09:10.744Z

Jukic still needs confirmation that the Nuggets are a big enough team, Lillard is still looking for reasons to stay in the Blazers, Gover must prove that the Jazz concept has not yet collapsed



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Heating the Parquet: Opening a Season in the NBA

Returning to the question: the season that will affect the stars of Denver, Utah and Portland

Jukic still needs confirmation that the Nuggets are a big enough team, Lillard is still looking for reasons to stay in the Blazers, Gover must prove that the Jazz concept has not yet collapsed.

The NBA opening project is coming to the Northwest House, where the teams 'burden of proof is greater than the stars'

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  • Denver Nuggets

  • Utah Jazz

  • Portland Trailblazers

  • Minnesota Timberwolves

  • Oklahoma City Thunder

Assaf Ravitz

Wednesday, October 13, 2021, 3 p.m.

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Denver Nuggets: In the Presence of Greatness

Denver's passing season was marked by one winning card - the Joker. Nikola Jokic was the perfect offensive weapon throughout the season, a center who could run a game from anywhere and score in any way, an MVP selected 41st in the draft. The rest of the cards lined up around the Joker properly: Jamal Marie, who burst into a bubble, continued to look like the perfect partner for Pick v. Roll with Jokic; Michael Porter Jr., in his second season, developed into a very quality scorer; Aaron Gordon joined during the season to bolster the defense. Denver felt like a strong contender for the championship, until Jamal Marie tore the crossbar and this season’s story is over.



Marie's injury is also the starting point for the current season because he is expected to fit in only in her late stages. Players returning from a long injury usually need a lot of adaptation time, not at all sure that Marie will be effective enough already this year. Mike Malone will be comforted that he has a quality offensive roster even without his No. 2. Porter will continue to develop as a scorer, Will Barton will take on more, Monte Morris and Pecondo Campasso will come into play and maybe even rookie Bones Highland, a scorer with no range problem, will get a chance. The roster is talented and deep enough (even Bull Bull shows sparks of a rotation player, which is one of the good news of the season) to keep the Nuggets in the playoff picture, but without Marie at his peak it is impossible to think of going all the way.



Even if this season turns out to be lost, Denver can continue to be very encouraging. Jukic is officially a player who changes the fates of clubs, a phenomenon that makes everyone around him understand that he is in the presence of a great. The most important news this summer was that even the owners, the Kronki family, feel this presence, and have rarely opened their pockets for them to maintain the current staff. Porter got a maximum contract and Gordon got a big contract to stay, decisions are taken for granted given that Marie also got a maximum contract and Yukic will soon be able to sign a super-max contract. The Kronkis recognize an opportunity to build a great team and signal this to the rest of the club. In this context, perhaps the biggest problem with Marie's injury is that she hinders the club's ability to figure out if it is possible to build a contender around three attacking stars none of whom are great guards. The Nuggets' defense was reasonable in the regular season, but crashed in the playoffs with 122.1 points per 100 passers-by. Denver might understand,In the end, she needs a defensive ace alongside the Joker, and could have actually suited her to understand that now, with one of the best defensive players in the league asking for a trade.

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A player who changes fates, even without running for the championship.

Jukic (Photo: GettyImages, C. Morgan Engel)

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Utah Jazz: See you in April

Utah took over the regular season last year.

Kevin Snyder built a well-oiled machine, whose offense was based on multiple penetrations and spending on excellent three-pointers, and the defense was based on Rudy Guber's formidable presence in color.

In the playoffs Utah traveled to the second round, where it was eliminated by the Clippers. On the face of it, it was a great season for the Jazz, a modest team that was not considered a favorite to get far at the start of the season, but the feeling at the end was a big disappointment, even a kind of break.



This is because Utah was eliminated from the playoffs. First of all, she lost the last two games to the Clippers without Kwai Leonard, while collapsing professionally and mentally. But much more than that, this series left a feeling that whoever collapsed is the concept of the group. As in previous years, what worked in the regular season did not work in the playoffs, with an emphasis on Rudy Gover. Once the Clippers moved to a low lineup, with five outside shots, the French chin did not find itself. He turned the best defensive player in the league into a big burden that the attack exploits time after time, and failed to take advantage of the miss-match on the other side. The Jazz conceded 127.7 points per 100 passes against the Clippers, a figure almost inconceivably poor, probably from the third defense in the league in the regular season, with a defensive efficiency of 107.5. Nowadays it is impossible to go through an entire playoffs without meeting a team that can field an effective small ball lineup, and if Utah is unable to cope with that style it cannot be considered a senior team.



This year, nothing that will happen in the regular season will interest Utah, perhaps except for the season at Donovan Mitchell's MVP level.

The senior roster has been retained and Snyder's machine is set to continue from where it left off, but the Jazz's only test will be in the playoffs, the real season starting in April.

What can enable change?

Perhaps a change in Rudy's attitude is increasing himself, in his readiness and ability to develop some post game to take advantage of miss-matches.

But the real solution may be Rudy II - Rudy Gay who joined this summer.

The veteran forward is another effective outside player for the rotation, but he also has the ability to function as a chin in the small ball lineup, which is perhaps the main reason why he was signed.

Snyder will have to try the low lineups during the season, assuming he will need them in the playoffs.

It is not ideal to be based on a vehicle that does not include one of the two stars of the team, but in the case of Utah it is imperative that it have this option.

In the playoffs it has been proven again: no matter what happens in the regular season, the Jazz are not yet a senior team.

Rudy Gover (Photo: Reuters)

Portland Trailblazers: Last chance, probably

Utah is not the only team in the Northwest House that came out of the playoffs very disappointed after losing to an opponent with an injured star.

Portland were knocked out in the first round by Denver without Marie, and it turned out to be the fault line for Damian Lillard. After the loss Dame expressed public frustration, in a very unusual move for him, and management had no choice but to respond. As a very intriguing head coach, the substitution on the lines was Neil Olshei's most significant move this summer, and right now the club is pinning most of the hope for a change that will convince Dime to stay. The degree.



On a professional level, the story of Portland last season was a story of extreme gaps. The offense was second in the league, the defense penultimate; The top five, after the joining of Norman Powell and the return of CJ McCollum and Joseph Norkich from injuries, was one of the strongest in the league, the bench was one of the weakest. In the playoffs, the Blazers' top five had a net rating of 21.7, almost impossible to lose a series with such a figure, but Portland succeeded. The defense completely collapsed every time Carmelo Anthony and / or Anes Canter stepped on the floor. To Billaps' delight, Olshei was able to add to the squad Larry Nance Jr., a quality defensive inside player with outside shooting and passing ability. Nanes is expected to get most of the rest minutes of 3-5 positions next season, while providing an option for an interesting low five. The transition from five to six senior players is particularly significant and can cover much of the lost minutes.



From the preparation period it can be concluded that Billups plans to outline a new style in defense, and for some reason also in attack.

He wants the game to be based on more movement and team play, which is not sure to suit a squad of two scorers and a roll player.

The bench, with the exception of Anferni Simmons and Nasir Little who grow up every year and are set to take on a more significant role than ever this time around, is made up of solid veterans whose main job will be to plug holes in the regular season.

For the playoffs it might be worthwhile for Olshey to try to get another more significant outfielder, but in the case of the Blazers for the regular season could be of great significance.

A bad start to the season could rekindle Lillard's frustration and accelerate the trade request, which may just be a matter of time.

The hourglass is running out.

Lillard (Photo: GettyImages, Abbie Parr)

Minnesota Timberwolves: A Kind of Optimism.

Careful

The wolves are unable to get through a mess-free summer. This time, a week before the start of training, basketball president Gerson Rusas was fired following problematic relations with various people at the club, including his deputy Sachin Gupta who replaced him. The layoffs came in the midst of a lengthy sale process and were apparently accepted by the new owners: extraordinary entrepreneur Mark Lowry and former baseball player Alex Rodriguez. Which reached the playoffs only once since 2004.



But it seems that this time the external affairs have not seeped into the sector of the players and the professional team. Minnesota looks like a team that has reached this season with a particularly high level of readiness, and it starts with the stars. Carl Anthony Towns, after two difficult years in many ways, has lost weight and seems due to the leap that the entire league is waiting for from one of the most talented seniors in the world. Anthony Edwards, the first pick in the 2020 draft, is getting serious hype around the defensive upgrade he made in the summer. Edwards is a super athlete, his dunks are the most spectacular in the league, and he knows how to use his athleticism to get points. He finished the rookie season with 40 games in which he scored 23.5 points per game, but in unbelievable percentages. When you add DiAngelo Russell and Malik Beasley to them, you get four proven scorers.



Coach Chris Finch, who joined the team in the middle of last season, will try to connect those stars to the team.

He is expected to get Beasley off the bench, and will be able to split the minutes of Towns and Russell so he will never lack talent on the floor.

Finch changed the defensive method so that Towns would stay closer to the move in Pick N 'Roll, a method that seems more appropriate to him than trying to treat him like a classic chin that stays close to the ring.

The rest of the roster is loaded with defensive forwards two of whom will open in the top five, probably promising Jayden McDaniels and Jared Wonderblit.

Together with Patrick Beverly, who has reached the standard of the veteran leader who is supposed to sweep the youngsters in his fighting spirit, and the talented replacement chin Naz Reed, this is a deep staff from the seemingly.

There is potential here for a team worth a place in the play-off tournament, not a trivial matter in the West, but after years of shattered hopes the burden of proof is on it.

Worth a place in Play In?

Carl Anthony Towns (Photo: GettyImages)

Oklahoma City Thunder: This is where you accumulate assets

Sam Presti's version of the process is entering its second season, and there is still no unequivocal evidence that Presti remembers not living in a computer game whose goal is to garner as many draft picks as possible. In the coming years, OKC will have 12 first-round elections in addition to its own elections, along with an addition to the second-round elections and the possibility of substituting elections. No manager has ever owned so many future assets, and Presti is accumulating them so he can build attractive packages for any player he wants in the future. But in the meantime the goal is to get a superstar or two with the help of high picks. Last year the Thunder were unlucky in the lottery and they settled for the sixth pick, so they will try their luck again this year.



Until the next draw there will be this nuisance, which Presti has not been able to get an exemption from, in which five players have to be placed to play against five players of varying rivalry 82 times a year. If last year there was still Al Horford who helped win a few games before being sidelined, this time OKC got rid of such players before the start of the season. The sole purpose of the games will be to provide a stage for a collection of children most of whom will not be part of the club's future. It is a pity that this situation has caught two young people who are ready to be significant players in good teams already now. Shay Gilges Alexander is a budding superstar who has signed long-term at OKC and can only hope to have a real team around him by the middle of the decade. Lou Dort is a defense expert, who in his only playoff series has entered the veins of James Harden. Too bad every year Dort does not serve as Tony Allen of a great team, but at least he uses that period to work on his offensive abilities and become Tony Allen's version that he is not a hole in offense.



Which of the children should you keep an eye on?

For Alexei Pokushevsky, of course, a slender Saban Potter who plays basketball a little differently from the rest of the human race, it's better to just see him than try to explain how it works.

On the sixth pick Josh Gidi, leads a high ball with a wonderful passing ability that we will soon know if he is able to score and maintain at the NBA level right now.

Perhaps also about Darius Beasley and Tau Meldon, two very talented players who are still young enough to make a significant growth leap.

The gardener will continue to be 36-year-old Mark Deignolt, who if one day becomes a great coach these seasons will cloud his success rates.

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