How Many Teams Are in the Northwest Division?

Well, the quick answer is:

The Northwest division in the NBA consists of five teams and they are: the Denver Nuggets, the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Portland Trail Blazers, and the Utah Jazz.

The NBA has a set structure that typically gets broken down into two conferences: the east and the west. However, the structure is much more nuanced than it first appears. There are actually various divisions within each conference that further group all teams together.

The following sections break down one such area in the Northwest Division. It will cover how many teams are in the grouping, how those teams got there, as well as the history of the division as a whole.

A League Divided

The NBA has gone through many changes since the merger back in the late 1950’s. That’s because, despite all of their efforts, planning a season is much, much harder than it looks. 

While things went smoothly for a while after the merger in the late 1950’s, expansion came with a few issues. Most notably, there were too many teams. Expanding quickly is great for revenue, but it creates several logistical nightmares as well.

To fix that, the NBA needed a way to quickly and easily put franchises together. By making sure all close teams stayed in the same area, they could cut down on travel and limit general expenses. It made it much easier for local journalists to get to the games as well.

Another bonus was the creation of inter-division rivalries. While those rivalries never really took shape in the way the league hoped they would, breaking up the larger conferences into more manageable parts made everything easier to run. That was their true goal, after all.

The Northwest

There are three divisions in the Western Conference. One of the most recent, the Northwest, came about like the above ones in that it was created during an expansion. Adding teams always requires some shifting, and that’s what happened here.

There are several reasons the division is unique, starting with the fact that it’s the most geographically expansive in basketball. There are five teams, and they all hail from a range of different places. They are the Blazers, Thunder, Nuggets, Jazz, and Timberwolves.

Looking at that spread, the Northwest contains organizations ranging from the west coast (Portland) through the midwest (Timberwolves) all the way out to Oklahoma City (Thunder). However, teams were a bit closer when the Thunder were the Seattle SuperSonics.

It’s a relatively new division that emerged during the 2004-2005 season after the NBA added the Charlotte Bobcats to create a 30 team league. All five organizations started out in this division, and they continue to play in it to this day. It’s unlikely to change any time soon.

A Weaker Region

The Northwest Division has many storied franchises, but it hasn’t seen a ton of success as a whole. In fact, out of the five teams only the Sonics (1979) and Blazers (1977) have a championship. Those runs, however, occurred nearly four decades ago.

Recently, the Nuggets, Blazers, and Jazz have shown flashes of success, but none of them have shown real consistency. The teams haven’t come close to getting to the Finals, nor have they shown the ability to win over an extended period of time.

All divisions have their weak points, but the Northwest has more than most. There’s still hope for the future, but there’s no doubt about needing room for improvement too.

Final Words

The Northwest Division is one of the more disappointing in the NBA. Though it’s seen some small bumps here and there, it doesn’t have a winning history. All of the teams hope that will shift one day, but there’s still a long way to go before any bring home a ring.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *