The NBA has become a sprawling juggernaut, spanning out over the globe. The core of the league is still 30 teams playing Basketball games in North America. In order to manage this massive fixture list that spans more than a continent, the 30 NBA teams have traditionally been split into Divisions.
How many NBA teams are in the Northwest division? There are 5 teams in the NBA’s Northwest Division; The Utah Jazz, Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers and The Minnesota Timberwolves. They compete in the Western Conference of the NBA.
The Division system has been around since the inception of the NBA in the 1940’s. The Northwest Division was formed in 2004 originally consisting of 5 teams; Utah Jazz, Denver Nuggets, Seattle Supersonics, Portland Trail Blazers and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Northwest Division is currently made up of the following 5 NBA teams;
- Utah Jazz
- Denver Nuggets
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Portland Trail Blazers
- Minnesota Timberwolves
The Northwest is the newest division in the NBA, being formed in 2004 following the NBA’s final expansion to date – the inclusion of the Bobcats. As such the Franchises remain the same as the day the division was founded, save for one significant change.
Just four seasons after the inception of the Northwest Division, ahead of the start of the 2008-09 season the Seattle Supersonics moved to Oklahoma and changed their franchise name to Oklahoma City Thunder. While this meant that the historic and beloved Seattle Supersonics franchise would effectively cease to exist, they kept their historic record and place in the Northwest Division.
The Northwest Division has remained in its current form since 2008.
Historically the most successful team in the Northwest Division has been the Oklahoma City Thunder. Technically the Thunder themselves are tied with the Nuggets with 5 Northwest Division titles each. However the inaugural Division title was won under the Thunders previous moniker, putting them ahead on 6 titles as of the end of the 2020-21 season. 5 of these titles were won while MVP Kevin Durant was with the Franchise. They have not managed to win the Division title since he moved to the Golden State Warriors in 2016.
While it is not common practice to hang divisional banners and the goal of any competent NBA Franchise is to win the Larry O’brien trophy, there is a certain pride fans can take from knowing they are the best franchise in their Division that year. It’s always good to outdo your neighbors.