Preseason prediction: Nuggets to take Northwest Division

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Editor's note: We asked our panel of NBA experts, "Who will win the Northwest Division?"

1. Denver Nuggets (9 votes)

J.A. Adande, ESPN.com: Can Melo and Iverson play 82 games the way they do for Team USA?

Jon Barry, ESPN: Carmelo Anthony's one of the top three one-on-one players in the game, and when this team gets a full training camp under its belt, it'll be solid. Adding Kenyon Martin could be a plus up front.

John Hollinger, ESPN.com: A tough call over the Jazz, but the Nuggies are just a guard away from being legit title aspirants.

Mark Jackson, ESPN: Kenyon Martin coming back will give them a burst. Iverson with a training camp behind him -- practice -- only makes them more cohesive.

Scoop Jackson, ESPN.com: Heaven or hell? It's all on Kenyon Martin.

Keith Lipscomb, ESPN.com Fantasy:
Don't run to Vegas with this one, because I hate to pick against a Jerry Sloan-coached team with talent. Camby's health is the key here.

Chris Palmer, ESPN Mag: Here's to hoping they can avoid turmoil and just play. Comeback K-Mart will make all the difference if he finally accepts his role.

Jalen Rose, ESPN: My pick to be the surprise team in the NBA. They're going to have A.I. for a full season. And Melo's motivated after seeing Wade and LeBron get to Finals.

David Thorpe, Scouts Inc.: Simply too much talent to ignore, and they feel great about how they finished last season. Kenyon Martin fits in nicely with this roster and makes this team awfully dangerous …
if it learns to share the ball.

Kiki Vandeweghe, ESPN: Perhaps the most talented team in league, 1 through 6. Lots of people have forgotten how good Kenyon Martin is. A very dangerous team.

2. Utah Jazz (8 votes)

Henry Abbott, ESPN.com's TrueHoop: One of my easier picks.

Chris Broussard, ESPN Mag: If Ronnie Brewer's preseason play is an indication of what's to come, the Jazz could join the hallowed threesome of San Antonio, Phoenix and Dallas as legitimate title contenders.

Ric Bucher, ESPN Mag: Deron Williams has the rare ability to make others better.

Chad Ford, ESPN.com: The Jazz were a Cinderella story last season. But if Deron Williams improves and Andrei Kirilenko bounces back, they could be a threat to everyone else in the West.

Jemele Hill, ESPN.com: The Boozer/Williams comparisons to Stockton/Malone are premature, but the Jazz are a better sleeper than Houston to win the West.

Jack Ramsay, ESPN Radio: They'll pick up where they left off last season. But they need Ronnie Brewer to step up and big seasons from Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer.

Chris Sheridan, ESPN.com: Tough to take these guys over Denver, which is due for a breakout season. But we're putting our faith in Jerry Sloan and Deron Williams, and we're guessing the thaw between Kirilenko and Sloan will last through May.

Marc Stein, ESPN.com: In what might be the most underrated divisional race, Carlos Boozer, Deron Williams and Co. are steadier than the flashier Nuggets. And that'll be the difference. I think.