The 2015-2016 NBA season is underway and the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook has released projected win totals for all 30 teams. Fellow GSoM'ers Jeff Cheal, Bram Kincheloe and I look at which teams we expect to go over or under their projected win totals.
|TEAM||WIN TOTAL||TITLE ODDS|
|Golden State Warriors||60.5||9-2|
|Los Angeles Clippers||56.5||8-1|
|Los Angeles Lakers||29.5||200-1|
|New Orleans Pelicans||47.5||30-1|
|New York Knicks||31.5||200-1|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||57.5||6-1|
|Portland Trail Blazers||26.5||200-1|
|San Antonio Spurs||58.5||4-1|
From Top to Bottom
After a 67 regular season wins in 2014-2015, the Golden State Warriors (60.5) are projected to win the most games yet again, but can they conjure up a regular season as magical as last year?
"Under - I just think the physical and emotional strain of being the champion is a real thing. Every night, the opposing team will be gunning for them. Wednesday night in frigid Minnesota? Wiggins and Towns are gonna be COMING HARD. I hope I'm wrong, but I defintely could see them hitting the under." -BK
"Under - The West is too good, and even though we return back our roster in full there are too many swing games that won't go the Warriors way this year like they did last year. They will still be in the top 3 in the West (hopefully taking home the top spot again), but I think it will come with more parity and us getting to 56-57 wins."
Over 60 wins? Why the hell not. Sure the target is on the Dubs back, but they are the ones holding the rifle. Teams in the West spent their off season running their mouths and beefing up their rosters. Meanwhile Golden State essentially brought back the same roster from a team that won the third most games in a single season in NBA history. If the Warriors can stay healthy much like they did last season then they will have a great shot at eclipsing the 60 win mark. Plus, both Jeff and Bram said they would win under so I kind of have to say over.
On the flip side, the New York Knicks (31.5) won an NBA worst 17 games in 2014-2015. Melo is healthy, but can the Knicks improve by 15 wins after the worst season in franchise history?
"Under - lets pump the breaks on the Knicks. They do have a better roster. but they have a few too many question marks to grant them thirteen more wins for next year. It's a great start, but they would need more consistency before they reach the 30 win plateau."
Under - New York added Sideshow Bob doppleganger Robin Lopez in hopes of improving the second-worst rebounding team in the association last year. Even with a healthy Carmelo Anthony I think the team will continue to struggle scoring the ball under second year head coach Derek Fisher's triangle offense. Plus if Phil Jackson doesn't believe in his own pick, then why should we?
The Los Angeles Clippers are at a projected 56.5 wins this season after letting the Western Conference Semi's slip through their bitter fingers.
"Over - I hate doing it, but I think the Clippers are going to be good again this year. I think this will be one of their last shots. The front office has gone all in to get the core 3 the support they need, and are even willing to flip Jamal Crawford for another wing if the time is right. I think Lance Stephenson will be a train wreck for them, but I'm not sure it will matter. They are still good, and they will still win games."
Under - The Clippers starting five is one of the best in the NBA but their bench is a vast drop off. If Lance Stephenson can put his mind to playing great defense and letting CP3 and Blake Griffin handle the offense the Clippers will click. But much like last season I see the starters playing big minutes and eventually wearing down, much like they did in the playoffs last season. The Clippers are a 50 win team but I do not see them winning over 56.
The Memphis Grizzlies gave the Dubs an early scare in the Western Conference Semi's last season before Steve Kerr and Co. decided to pretend like Tony Allen wasn't on the court offensively. Their projected win total for this season is 50.5
"Over - the odds makers are picturing regression for the Grizzlies. Why? What would tell any one that they would lost almost 5 less games? This team will be good again as they always are because they play their style and not many teams can stop them. Mike Conley will continue to run the show, and they are still a trade away (Joe Johnson's landing spot, calling it now) from being even more of a threat."
Over - The Grizz are easily a 50 win team barring a catastrophic injury. Memphis added the always scrappy Matt Barnes to the mix who will fit nicely with the gritty defensive minded Grizzlies. Marc Gasol is still the best big man in the association and Mike Conley Jr. is quickly emerging as one of the premier PG's in the league. With their core in tact I believe Memphis finish with another 50 win season.
After an injury plagued 2014/15 campaign, the slim reaper Kevin Durant returns to an Oklahoma City Thunder squad who are projected to win 57.5 games this season
"Under - Brining back Durant should get you close to ten more wins on the season. While I love what this team is doing, there are too many good teams in the west to put everyone above 55 wins. I place them slightly below the Clippers, with them coming in at 52-53 wins and the 5th spot."
Under - I like the Thunder a lot and see them as a team primed to make a strong playoff push this season. With that being said, winning 58 games is a tall order for a team who just missed the playoffs from a year ago. The Thunder will get back one of the best players in the league in Durant. They have a very young, physical and skilled front court in Enes Kanter, Serge Ibaka, Steven Adams and Mitch McGary to match a scary good front court. With the Kevin Durant sweepstakes looming and a new coach in Billy Donovan, I don't see the Thunder winning 58 games.
The Houston Rockets lost to the eventual Champs in last season's Western Conference Finals. Houston is projected to win 54.5 games this season.
"Over - The Rockets are good. They are also deep. They are also hungry after the Warriors took them out last season. Ty Lawson is huge for them, and a healthy Dwight Howard will only mean one of the best 6-7 player rotations in the league. the 56-60 win range is a dangerous place to be, however it's hard to not picture this team doing not only very well, put pushing deep into the win column."
Over - Tell me if you've heard this before. The Rockets are good. They are also deep and extremely hungry. Much like the Warriors, the Rockets returned much of the same team, adding Ty Lawson and rookie Sam Dekker. Dare I say that the Warriors were.. fortunate to not have to face Patrick Beverly in last season's WCF. Beverly/Lawson is probably the best starter/backup combo at point guard in the NBA. Lawson will dip into Beverly's minutes and give the team a better chance at keeping the injury prone duo healthy throughout the season. I expect the Rockets to be one of the last four teams standing yet again this season.
My friends who are Sacramento Kings fans have been letting me know that this is the season the Kings make the step to the next level. But the Queens haven't won over their projected win total of 30.5 games since the 2007-2008 season.
"Under - this team is a few losses away from a collapse of dramatic proportions. Any time you put Rondo, Gay and Cousins on the court, you are just praying for continuity but expecting fireworks. I think they net back out at the 30 win mark, which is sad because the fans deserve more."
Under - I like the talent of the Kings roster but that does not always equate to wins. I can see the Kings playing really good basketball at stretches but I do not see them being able to take three out of five from a Golden State - Los Angeles - Houston - Memphis - San Antonio stretch of games. I think the Kings are a bad losing streak away from imploding with George Karl at the helm. DeMarcus Cousins is arguably one of the best offensive big men in the league and I am excited to see what Seth Curry can do.
Kobe is back for the Los Angeles Lakers. But can the aging superstar lift his squad over their projected 29.5 win total?
"Under - I realize Kobe is back. And I actually like Roy Hibbard on the roster. But you have a rookie point guard who still can't totally shoot, and a mix of young talent that can do small things but together can't do many great things. They will be better, but a jump of almost ten wins is a lot to ask for a young team."
Under - I think Julius Randle will be a top tier player in the league one day and Jordan Clarkson will continue to improve. But this is Kobe's team and that spells bad news for the Lakers. Off-season acquisition Roy Hibbert is 7'2" and has never averaged over eight rebounds a game in his career which completely boggles my brain. The loaded West will be relentless on the Lakers this season.
The Cleveland Cavaliers limped into the Finals last season under first year head coach David Blatt. The Cavs are projected to win 57.5 wins this season.
"Over - it is easy to forget the Cavs won 53 games last year with LeBron taking a huge sabbatical, the team getting off to a horrible start, and a roster lacking the mid-season reinforcements that now shape the starting five. This will be more of the same for the Cavs, with one of their deepest rosters in awhile. I still think they have another trade in them as well for a bench scorer... I think they hit 60 wins."
Under - This was a tough one for me. Like Jeff said this is one of the deeper rosters that has surrounded LeBron James in Cleveland for quite some time. But nothing points to Kyrie Irving playing an injury free season of basketball. I don't think winning 58 games is out of the question for the Cavs by any stretch of the imagination. But the young bottom feeders in the East are slowly improving.
The Chicago Bulls showed Tom Thibodeau the door last season and hired Iowa St. coach Fred Hoiberg. Can the Bulls win 50 games this season?
"Under - this team can only get older, and though not many teams in the East got that much better, I still picture more missed games from Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose. This doesn't mean they won't be a challenge in the playoffs, but I do think it means they don't hit the 50 win mark again."
Over - Injuries are also a concern for the Bulls. If they can stay healthy throughout the season I think this team is capable of a 50 wins in the East. Nikola Mirotić is a very good offensive player who will give the Bulls a much needed scoring punch. It will be interesting to see how Hoiberg does in his jump to the NBA.
The Atlanta Hawks were at times considered the best team in the NBA last season. As Maury would say, the NBA playoffs determined that was a lie. The Hawks are projected at 49.5 wins this season.
"Over - the East is soft past the top 4, and Atlanta returns back their core with another year to run the system, Where Eastern teams got worse, even Atlanta will stay toward the top and 49.5 wins shouldn't be a challenge even after losing Carroll in free agency."
Under - Losing Carroll was huge for the Hawks. He showed up for Atlanta when they needed it last season and served as a spark plug for them. The addition of Tiago Spitter from San Antonio will help, but the Hawks still lack at the small forward position. As the #1 seed in the East from a season ago, Atlanta will be playing with a target on their back in 2015/16.
The Milwaukee Bucks took the Bulls to six games in the first round of the playoffs last season and look to build under second year coach Jason Kidd. Can the Bucks top their projected 43.5 wins this season?
"Under - Is there room left on the Bucks bandwagon at this point? They are the popular choice for the "leap" this year, and while I do like their roster and they will be better just by getting Jabari Parker back, they still need to break through the ceiling. They still seem immature to me, and I'm not entirely sure I am afraid of them out on the court yet. I picture an identical campaign to last year, which will still end in a playoff blowout."
Over - The Bucks are young and outside of the Cavaliers and Bulls I think the East is pretty open. Jason Kidd will be coaching in this league for years to come. The young core of Giannas Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker and Michael Carter-Williams (if healthy) should be good enough to win 44 games in the East.
The Boston Celtics squeeked into the playoffs last season with only 40 wins. Their projected win total is 43.5 wins this season.
"Under - Giving Boston five more games in the books requires you to put faith that Amir Johnson, a full year of Isaiah Thomas, and the addition of Daivd Lee will round out this team. As they look better on paper, I'm not entirely sure they can play enough defense to keep teams off their backs. Sure - Jae Crowder was a great court presence in their own Draymond Green role, but this team looks more like a mash of talents that Brad Stevens will try to find a common ground with. I picture an identical year to last year, with the under being more realistic."
Under - The Celtics didn't bring any talent that would scream a dramatic improvement over last season. Boston added David Lee, Amir Johnson and rookie R.J. Hunter. I see them winning between 33-43 games this season.
The Detroit Pistons are projected to win 33.5 games this season and have not made the playoffs since the 2008-2009 season.
"Over - I like the Pistons. I think their roster is solid, they understand their direction and they have a good core that will win games. Even after losing Monroe, I think the starting five now makes more sense and the team is in better shape. A healthy Brandon Jennings brings a huge scorer off the bench, and I love Stanley Johnson. I picture playoffs for the Pistons, with a solid season leading closer to 40 wins."
Over - I too see this team winning over 40 wins this season and making a playoff push in the East. I think Andre Drummond has the potential to lead the league in rebounding and solidify himself as an elite big in the NBA. I still think the Pistons paid way too much for Reggie Jackson making his growth essential to the team's improvement.
The Orlando Magic have been in rebuilding mode for quite some time. Is this the season they make the push and meet their projected win total of 32.5 games?
"Over - The Magic are fun to watch. I love the roster with the young talent they have, I think they play hard, and they will surprise people. They will also lose games they should dominate, and that scares me to take the over. But any time you get to play the Nets and 76ers so many times, luck will be on your side. I'm pushing for the over and a flirtation with the 8th spot."
Over - The Magic have a slew of young talent that can compete at the NBA level. Elfrid Payton will continue to play his game and run the team along with Victor Oladipo and Nikola Vučević. I don't see why 33 wins for the Magic is out of the realm of possibility.
Comment below with the teams you see winning over or under their projected win total for this season!