We looked at the over/under win totals for each teams and did our own betting on them. Win totals were provided by our friends in Vegas.
Teams listed in order of 2013-14 finish
Indiana Pacers 32.5
Dan: Over, but not by much. Paul George is questionable this season, no Born Ready (Lance Stephenson), and you’ve still got Hibbert doing whatever it is he does. George Hill, Hibbert and David West will have to carry the load, and if this were 2009 David West, they might have a chance.
Bryce: Over. Too much of the nucleus is still there.
Miami Heat 43.5
Dan: Over. They lost LeBron, but not all is lost in South Beach. The sign Luol Deng, keep Chris Bosh and keep Dwyane Wade. Spoelstra will get the most out of his guys and now they’ve got a chip on his shoulder. Interesting matchup should they meet the Cavs in the playoffs.
Bryce: Over. LeBron may be able to turn playoff pretenders into championship contenders, but that doesn’t mean the Heat can no longer mean business. The core and principles are still there, as well as playoff hopes.
Toronto Raptors 49.5
D: Under. They kept maybe the most coveted PG this off-season in Kyle Lowry signed a 4-year deal to stay, while Toronto returns almost their entire roster. DeMar DeRozan took a huge step forward last season, while center Jonas Valanciunas is poised for a great year of his own, simply because not many can matchup with a 7-footer. They run into some bad luck and a bit of a regression to fall below 49.5 wins.
B: Under. I have them as the 4 seed and guess how many wins last years number 4 seed in the east had……49.
Chicago Bulls 55.5
D: Over. The Bulls are the challengers to the Cavs in the east, and challenge them they will. They’ll grab the 1-seed, not look good against the Cavs in the regular season, but take the conference in the playoffs. Pau Gasol fills a void as Chicago matches up great with Cleveland. They have the defenders on the wing, as a Thibodeau team always does, while Derrick Rose will be the man in Chicago once again, playing 70+ games. They’ll push the 60-win mark.
B: Over. I want to say under by just 2 or 3 games, but I’m thinking mathematically I can’t have them as my two seed and have them under 55.5 wins.
Washington Wizards 49.5 (pre-Beal injury)
D: Under. The Wiz kids had a magical season last year, getting a top-4 seed in the playoffs. Paul Pierce come to Washington for 15 veteran minutes off the bench per game, but may be in a starting role without Bradley Beal for about 2 months with a wrist injury. John Wall has to have a huge first two months to get the Wiz in prime position, and he just got his own signature shoe, so big things better be in store.
B: Under. Paul could add a unique boost to a younger group, but I still have them as my last team from the outside looking in.
Brooklyn Nets 41.5
D: Under. The Lionel Hollins era is underway in Brooklyn, while the front office got Jason Kidd out to Milwaukee. Hollins’ teams (see: Memphis) are always tough and well coached, with a focus on the big men. That means Brook Lopez, KG, and Mason Plumlee will be huge down low, playing inside out with foreign shooters-a-plenty on the outside. Those big guys won’t be able to keep up a full great season to get them into the mid-40’s in wins.
B: Under. Young coach with a veteran team typically doesn’t work-go figure Jason Kidd couldn’t get the job done. Nets are close, but not close enough.
Charlotte Hornets 45.5
D: Under. Everyone is hopping on the Charlotte bandwagon, making them a cool top-5 pick in the East. Let’s take it easy on that talk because we remember that Born Ready (Lance Stephenson) is now on the team. I am definitely not on the Stephenson train and he’s a little too much for a team to handle; talented, no question, but the dude has to get outside of his own head. They lost Josh McRoberts who was a great asset for the Hornets, but Al Jefferson will pick up the slack after his most improved player season in 13-14. PJ Hairston will be a ROY sleeper playing both guard positions.
Atlanta Hawks 40.5
D: Under. Jeff Teague, Kent Bazemore, Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap, and Al Horford will make a small starting lineup, but should be effective and athletic, getting good matchups with most opponents this year. Bazemore is looking for a breakout season after showing flashes with the Lakers over the last month of the season last year. There isn’t a focal point necessarily on this team, but Atlanta has rarely had one of those anyways. 3-and-D guy Thabo Sefolosha will provide good minutes off the bench, but they’ll ultimately fall short of the 8-seed in the East.
New York Knicks 40.5
D: Under. Phil Jackson will get this team into the playoffs, and not much else, beyond Carmelo. Amar’e Stoudemire is the highest paid player on the roster, which may tell you all you need to know about their bench, not very good to say the least (although they do have the Greek Freak 2). JR Smith will be a great second option but there’s very little help outside of that.. Looking at this roster…if Melo doesn’t average 75 PPG, these Knicks won’t make the playoffs. I rescind my earlier statement.
B: Over. Were the two seed two years ago and now Phil Jackson is running the organization. Stoudemire and Bargnani kill the cap space, Derek Fisher comes in as a first year head coach and the Knicks are caught between rebuilding and playoff contender.
Cleveland Cavaliers 58.5
D: Over. LeBron made everyone outside of Cleveland sad by returning home, and the Cavs added depth around him, including Kevin Love and a bunch of old guys to fill out the bench. That being said, the Cavs will need some time to adjust to each other in regular season basketball, remember the 2010-11 Miami Heat that started 9-8 and grabbed the 2-seed? Defense and rebounding will be the key for CLE as they were for LeBron’s Heat. This team is Miami north, but Irving’s development is not where Wade’s was when LeBron came calling. Time will tell on the roster’s age, and the gelling of the team, but I can’t imagine them getting to the 1-seed past the Bulls. Same problems the Heat had with the Pacers over the last 4 years; the difference is the Bulls are better than those Indy teams.
B: Over. The point Dan is overlooking is that Kyrie is a better point guard and complement to LeBron than Dwyane Wade ever could be. Yeah, mostly because Kyrie Irving is a point guard and he’ll be driving the lane and passing to create openings, not competing for touches and points. And Kevin Love actually wants to play down low and rebound the basketball, when Chris Bosh really preferred to play around the elbows aka outside the key. Love 12.2 RPG through his 5.5 year career, while Bosh only twice has averaged over 10 RPG (8.7/game over his career). That means LeBron doesn’t have to creep inside and can stay outside, where he’s a bigger threat.
Detroit Pistons 36.5
@B1ders: Over. The Pistons had a quiet but busy off season. I say that because a lot of moves were made to improve the depth and shooting, and boy were the Pistons willing to pay for shooting. Jodie Meeks got himself $18 million dollars (!!!). Meeks was the biggest name in a group of smaller free agent moves. The Stones even missed out on one of the best lotteries in years as their only pick was (now the best mustache in basketball) Spencer Dinwiddie in the second round. I guess that is the price of getting Ben Gordon off your roster. The move to cause the most excitement in Mo-town is the hiring of the Coach/GM/Man/Boss, Stan Van Gundy. This team has two players considered “uncoachable” in Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings. If SVG can harness the magic he had in Orlando (pun absolutely intended), we won’t see 4+ three point attempts a game from Smith. Andre Drummond does provide SVG with a dominant center similar to the one he had in Orlando before that center chased him out. This team is talented enough to win a playoff series or two if Gundy can steady the ship.
Boston Celtics 26.5
D: Over. We haven’t heard from our buddy Rajon Rondo in quite a while, and he’s the key for the Celtics this year. They did good things in the draft with Marcus Smart (a Rondo replacement?), and King James Young, a kid with tons of potential. It’s not an overpowering roster in terms of star presence, but a solid young core gives the Celtics a chance to be good for the next 5+ years, with or, more likely, without Rondo. They have to find/acquire some size inside besides Tyler Zeller & Kelly Olynyk, but the backcourt is solid. This team has much more talent than a 26-win bunch, and they’ll get into the 30’s.
B: Over. I think Dan is being optimistic here, maybe overly optimistic. Rondo is proving to us he is either exiting his prime or he was a system point guard all along. A point guard may be the key for the Celtics this year, but Rondo will not be the one to get the engine to turn over. I think the Celtics win over 26 but less than 32.
Orlando Magic 28.5
D: Under. No way this team get more wins than Boston above, especially with what we saw last year. Oladipo is due for a sophomore slump, but the team definitely has a solid young core, while Tobias Harris is a budding star in this league. They get docked points for giving Ben Gordon $4.5 million per year. In fact, I think this team finishes with the worst record in the entire NBA, outside of maybe Philly. The Magic just aren’t up to a level of competition yet, even in the weaker East. Young guys like Elfrid Payton, Aaron Gordon, Devyn Marble, Tobias Harris, Mo Harkless, and Oladipo will be fine in 3 years, just not in 2014. 4 guys on the roster over 25 years of age, there’s your Orlando stat.
B: Under. The Magic are one small step ahead of the 76ers. Oladipo is not due for a sophomore slump, rather a repeat of his ROY-contending numbers he put up. The Hoosier and Jayhawk alum, Ben Gordon, combine for an average 35 points a game between the two, but no bones with that actually contributing to wins.
Philadelphia 76ers 15.5
D: Over. It’s really hard to win only 15 games in the NBA, you almost have to try and be that bad. The Bucks won 19 last year for an example. Just two guys over 25 years old on the roster, and that’s Jason Richardson and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute leading the charge. The ages of the starter will be 23, 28, 21, 20, & 21, how’s that for a young lineup. All that being said, KJ McDaniels might win the rookie of the year with the playing time he’ll get this year, while the others will be thrown right into the fire to learn, no better way to do it. These guys will be the worst in the East, but they’ll push to get to that 20-win mark. Matchups favor their athletic big men, and the talent on the outside, with reigning ROY Michael Carter-Williams, can help them get to 20.
B: Under. Worst team in NBA history right here. Not a ton of talent mixed in with the youth here.
Milwaukee Bucks 24.5
D: Over. They’ll win between 26-30 games with the youngest team since………last year’s Bucks. ROY favorite Jabari Parker will do it all for this team, while Jason Kidd will provide them a nice young head coach to look to after the ownership change. An in-shape OJ Mayo will provide much-needed bench depth, while they have a ton of guys who can play the 1, 2 & 3 positions. They can play big when the Greek Freak plays the point, as we’ve seen in the preseason, and they can play small and put Parker and Giannis at the 4-5 spots. Lots of talent for a young team who are on the rise to be certain. They’ll be sellers at the trade deadline and have some guys to get pieces for. The future is bright in Milwaukee. Definitely over.
B: Over. Full of young talent, even in their head coach. Jason Kidd’s effect is still up in the air-rumors about a bad attitude in Brooklyn may be cause for concern for the near future. Until then, Kidd has failed upwards and you have to respect that.
Dan’s 8 Eastern Conference playoff teams (in seed-order):
Chicago, Cleveland, Toronto, Miami, Washington, Detroit, Charlotte, Atlanta
Bryce’s 8 Eastern Conference playoff teams (in seed-order):
Cleveland, Chicago, Miami, Toronto, Indiana, Detroit, New York, Milwaukee
Teams listed in order of 2013-14 finish
(Only Dan this time)
San Antonio Spurs 56.5
Over. The Spurs were supposed to be over the hill as of 5 years ago now; they still aren’t there. They play solid team basketball and don’t beat themselves, which is the key to winning close games in the league. They’ll surprise everyone again and match their 62-win total from last season, grabbing that 1-seed on the way. They may not have a single All-Star if not for the fan vote, but this team just knows how to play, with each other and in this league today. Having the most creative coach, matchup-wise, in the league doesn’t hurt things either. These players love the guy and that’s obvious when you see them play.
Oklahoma City Thunder 57.5 (pre-Durant injury)
Under. The 57.5 were before Durant broke his foot to set him back and keep him out almost 2 months. He will most likely be back before then (think early December), but the first 30 games will be where we learn exactly what kind of team this OKC unit is. They survived without Russell Westbrook last season, but that was easy; surviving without Durant will be the real test. Once Durant comes back it may also take a while for Westbrook to remember how to play with him after being the guy for the first month plus of the year. They have tons of young talent on the bench to fill in, but it would take 3-4 of those guys to make up for losing Durant. I’m looking at you, Perry Jones.
Los Angeles Clippers 55.5
Over. I think this team finally will have it figured out. Year 2 of Doc Rivers will be a key for this team, getting his system in. Getting a hopefully-healthy CP3 will also be big for this team, although there were some internal talks that Paul wasn’t everything he was cracked up to be last year. Rivers is one of about 5 coaches in the NBA with a championship pedigree and he’s a great, great coach. This team is finally figuring out that Blake Griffin can do more than dunk, DeAndre Jordan is one of the best big men left, and the bench is as deep as any in the association right now. Defense was always a key for them, giving up hundreds and hundreds of points each night, especially in the GSW playoff series. It will get fixed to the tune of NBA finals front-runner, and one of about 5 teams that have the talent to win the title. Watch out for this team to challenge the Spurs for that 1-seed.
Houston Rockets 49.5
Over. The biggest losers of the off-season will have to replace a starter after Chandler Parsons took big money from Dallas and made the move there. They won 54 last season and Parsons was not worth 5 wins overall, but stepping into that role will look to be Trevor Ariza, who came over from Washington. They were the early favorites to win Chris Bosh, but missed on him as well. If we didn’t know already that Harden and Howard would be the go-to guys, you’ll know this season. PGs Patrick Beverley and Isaiah Canaan will have to be great for this team to get past a tough opponent in the first round because that’s the real wild card position on the team. We know what these other guys will do, but those running the point will be a question mark. That being said, they’ll get at least 50 wins this year.
Portland Trail Blazers 48.5
Over. Another 54-game winner last season, they beat the 4-seed Rockets in the first round of the playoffs in a great series. The Blazers rely maybe a little too much on PG Damian Lillard and give him a ton of minutes, but so far it has paid off for this team. They love, love, love to get up and down the floor, averaging the 4th most PPG in the league last year at 106.7. The problem is, they allowed the 8th most in the league as well, at 102.8, not good. No, this team’s specialty is not defense, but to win the in the playoffs you have to at least look like you know what you’re doing. LaMarcus Aldridge and Lillard combined for 50+ points every night, giving them a fantastic 1-2 punch. This team is another that just knows how to play together with their entire roster. The bench is a nice mix of young and old, athletic and specialist players. The main problem is that Portland is in the west, where they would be a top-3 seed in the east.
Golden State Warriors 50.5
Under. A surprising firing of Mark Jackson after the playoffs last year will not go unnoticed, as this team will not get to the 50-win mark under first-year HC Steve Kerr. Kerr is an offensive mind, and has great weapons on the outside. Again, they get up and down the floor with great shooting, something a little different than most team because they average almost 105 PPG on fewer possessions with their 3PT percentage. It’s exciting to watch, but so far has not translated into playoff success, one reason Jackson is not there anymore. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson carry this team too much, and need to rely on other guys to knock down shots regularly. Aaron Craft is on the roster, so I can’t put them over 50.5 wins.
Memphis Grizzlies 48.5
Under. They gave OKC a good series in the first round last season, but came up short. The Grizz were a great defensive team that had tons of trouble scoring the basketball on a consistent basis. That kind of game can work in the playoffs, but the regular season is where this team has to get to work on offense. The usual suspects are all there in Memphis, playing that physical down-low game that just wears teams out. The reason I went under is because they struggle to score the ball in crucial situations. I’m excited to see a guy that knows how to score in a lot of different way coming off the bench in Jordan Adams, their first-round pick from UCLA. They’ll give whoever they play in the playoffs a great series, but that’s all I can guarantee.
Dallas Mavericks 49.5
Over. An expensive Chandler Parson pickup will hopefully pay off for this team who grabbed the 8-seed last year after fighting with a few other teams for that spot. Jameer Nelson and Raymond Felton will pick up the PG duties where Jose Calderon left off, addition by subtractions in my opinion. Surprisingly this team was 8th in PPG last season at 104, even at their advancing age. A rejuvenated Monta Ellis who finally made the playoffs last season will be hungry and have targets to get the ball to, or opportunities with a stretched floor (Thanks, Chandler) to drive the lane, a hobby of his. 51 wins will be good for the 6-seed in Dallas.
Phoenix Suns 42.5
Under. Last year may have been a bit of a ‘lucky’ season for Phoenix, maybe or maybe not because of their great new uniforms. Either way, they gave Eric Bledsoe a big contract because they had to. This Suns team was not great at anything besides scoring, averaging the 7th-most points in the NBA, but very average at passing, rebounding and on defense. Isaiah Thomas comes over from Sacramento in the off-season as their only real pick up, besides rookie TJ Warren. I just don’t know if there’s enough talent on the roster to repeat the season they had last year. Right now, they’re out of the playoffs looking in. They finish .500 on the year.
Minnesota Timberwolves 25.5
Under. How much fun will this team be in 3-4 years? Right now, though, they’ll look to develop the young talent they acquired via the draft and trades in the off-season. I would be surprised if last year’s starter at SG gets any minutes anytime soon with both Wiggins and draft pick Zach LeVine playing the same spot. This year the tag team will have to be Rubio to Thaddeus Young, who they got from the 76ers in a trade. That doesn’t sound as nice as Rubio to Andrew Wiggins does it? Wait 3 years and we’ll see.
Denver Nuggets 40.5
Over. Speed, fast, up-tempo, however you want to say it, that’s what this team is and will continue to be this year. A fast and good rebounding team won’t last in a physical and high-scoring western conference, but Denver can get young guys like Kenneth Faried and Mozgov touches down low. Faried showed his worth this summer on team USA, but that looked like an effort thing, which is just the kind of player he is. This team will win 41 games and finish .500, out of the playoffs by a handful of games, sound familiar?
New Orleans Pelicans 41.5
Over. This team seems like a run of the mill, middle of the pack, NBA team. That’s what they have been, but after a disappointing year last season, they’ll look to pick it up. This team will challenge but fall short of the 8-seed in the west. Jrue Holiday was hurt for some of last season and Tyreke Evans forgot how to play after getting moved to the bench. A healthy Holiday and starting Evans will be key, along with the next big thing, Anthony Davis. This will be his breakout season, and will average 24 & 12 for this New Orleans team. Omer Asik coming over from Houston gives them a guy they can rely on down low and get Davis back to his natural PF position. This is a team I would hate to see on my schedule in the west.
Sacramento Kings 30.5
Over. Bad luck and a bad organization have plagued the on-court talent in Sacramento, but this year feels different for the Kings. Boogie Cousins had a great team USA summer, while the front office actually made some moves, signing Rudy Gay and Darren Collison to an extension and a free agent deal. They’ll have to play small some of the time to get Ben McLemore and Nik Stauskas on the floor together, but that won’t be a huge issue. They’ve been steadily improving over the last handful of years, culminating with a 35-win effort this year. Baby steps.
Los Angeles Lakers 31.5
Under. I want to say over just because Kobe is pissed at the world, but this team is so bad. Terrible/bad/awful were these guys on defense last season that they can only go up from there. The ball didn’t stick because Kobe was not on the floor for them and were a top-5 assist team last year. Don’t expect that this season. Nick Young will be a 6th man of the year again in 14-15 because not many other will be scoring for this team. The brought in Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer, with neither of them starting after the first month. barring injury. An old Kobe and an old Steve Nash don’t solve many problems for LA, but Julius Randle will end up starting over Boozer for the majority of the season and could be a darkhorse for ROY. They’ll push that 30-win mark hard though.
Utah Jazz 25.5
Under. Worst team in the NBA in the 2014-15 season. They were 25th or worse in everything but points allowed in the NBA last season, where they were 18th. They won 25 games last season, but will be Philly west this year, winning maybe 20 games. They keep Gordon Hayward, otherwise they’d really be in trouble after thinking long and hard about Charlotte’s offer to him. Trey Burke has some work to do at the PG position and they need to get Dante Exum on the court with the starting unit. All that makes Utah my favorites for worst team in the league this year. congratulations.
Dan’s 8 Western Conference playoff teams (in seed-order):
San Antonio, LA Clippers, OKC, Houston, Portland, Dallas, Golden State, Memphis
Bryce’s Western Conference playoff teams (in seed-order):
San Antonio, LA Clippers, OKC, Golden State, Portland, Houston, Dallas, Phoenix
DAN’S PLAYOFF PICKS
Eastern Finals: Bulls over Cavs
Western Finals: Clippers over Thunder
NBA Finals: Clippers over Bulls