Has there ever been a more hyped NBA season than this one? Between LeBron finally getting the monkey off his back, the Nets moving to Brooklyn, the Lakers re-loading, the James Harden trade (why OKC, why?), and the overall talent level, the NBA is once again in a golden age with a ton of young players.
For our regular season preview, we’ll be predicting the final regular season standings. Leaning on the gambling readers of the blog, we’ll pick the over/under win totals for each of the top 8 seeds. (All over/under win totals are taken from the Las Vegas Hilton as of October 30th).
Without further ado…
1. Miami Heat – 61.5 total wins: OVER. Too much talent. Too much depth. All their starts squarely in their primes. With the additions of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, they will be able to space the floor even better than last year plus Mario Chalmers came on in the playoffs last year. 62-65 wins is the expectations here.
2. Boston Celtics – 51.5 total wins: OVER. This team is built for the playoffs, but with all their additions this offseason/people coming back from injury (Lee, Terry, Green, Wilcox, Bradley, Sullinger), they finally have the depth necessary for a higher regular season win total. It’s also fair to say KG and PP have a lot left in the tank. 55 wins and the second seed.
3. New York Knicks – 45 total wins: OVER. There isn’t much separation at all between the NYK and the next 3 teams but Carmelo is ready for a big season. Yes, all their additions are closer to being thrown in a nursing home than being able to carry the team, but with the addition by subtraction of Amare, who is the worst defender in the NBA, the NYK are capable of 49 wins and the 3rd seed.
4. Atlanta Hawks – 43 total wins: OVER. Trading Joe Johnson was a smart move as he was never going to carry them past the second round of the playoffs and his contract was the worst in the NBA (ok, maybe 1A to Amare’s 1B). They still have one of the better front lines in the eastern conference and will surprise some people this year. 47 wins.
5. Brooklyn Nets – 45.5 total wins: OVER. We’re completely sold on their jerseys but not on the overall talent level of this team. Brook Lopez is not a max contract type player and Joe Johnson just isn’t very good. Jay-Z’s 5684thpart time hobby settles for 46 wins and the 5th seed.
6. Indiana Pacers – 50.5 total wins: UNDER. Everything went right for the Pacers last year and this year things are already starting to go wrong. Danny Granger out indefinitely with knee issues, Darren Collison in Dallas, plus their depth isn’t as strong this year as last year. 44 wins.
7. Chicago Bulls – 47.5 total wins: UNDER. No D-Rose and you saw what that was like in losing to the 76ers last year. However, this team still has one of the best coaches in Thibs and best systems in the NBA. They will make the playoffs but won’t be full strength until next year. 44 wins.
8. Philadelphia 76ers – 46.5 total wins: UNDER. Andrew Bynum knee injuries are already starting to creep up even after he had the same super secret knee procedure Kobe Bryant had in Germany. Plus do it all SF Andre Iguodola is in Denver. Doug Collins does just enough to get them in, and just like last year, they make some noise in the playoffs again. 43 wins.
1. Oklahoma City Thunder – 59.5 total wins: OVER. Yes, the loss of James Harden is massive but they got a decent amount back in return from him and Kevin Martin can score. Still any team with KD and Westbrook is a good bet for 60 wins.
2. San Antonio Spurs – 56.5 total wins: OVER. The Spurs have the perfect mix of youth and veteran leadership, plus they have the best coach in the NBA. With another offseason for all their youth to get better and more comfortable, expect another big win total. Watch for Kawhi Leonard to make a big leap forward and push for first team All-Defense honors. 59 wins.
3. Los Angeles Lakers – 56.5 total wins: UNDER. Kobe is another year older and already has knee and foot issues. Steve Nash is leaving the magicians that are trainers in Phoenix. Dwight Howard is still having back issues. Mike Brown is a terrible coach. They are running a Princeton offense (which takes the ball out of Nash’s hands). Under, under, under. 52 wins.
4. Los Angeles Clippers – 50 total wins: OVER. Lob City has become must watch TV whenever they are on. With the high flyers on this team and the best pure PG in the NBA running the show, these Clippers finally push the Lakers for the division crown, and like everything else in their putrid history, fall just short. 51 wins.
5. Denver Nuggets – 52 total wins: UNDER. The Nuggets have probably the best 10 man rotation in the NBA, but they lack the front line talent of other Western Conference teams. Kenneth Faried is an absolute beast, but we see this team falling just short of expectations. 50 wins.
6. Memphis Grizzlies – 49 total wins: UNDER. The time for the Grizzlies to be a true contender has come and gone. Zach Randolph is back to giving half effort after having been paid, and they face a tough decision on what to go regarding Rudy Gay. While they will still clearly be in the top 6 this year, we see the Grizz falling short of expectations. 48 wins.
7. Houston Rockets – OFF. This line hasn’t been updated to reflect the James Harden trade as of this writing. What a move for Houston though. Getting a top 20 NBA player for quarters on the dollar and then signing him to a max deal to pair with Jeremy Lin? Not bad. Watch James Harden show what he can really become this year and average close to 23 ppg. 45 wins.
8. Utah Jazz – 44 total wins: OVER. Two words: frontline depth. The Jazz have so much of it they may have to make a move during the season for some guard help. That depth is good enough for 45 wins and the West’s 8th seed even without a move.