Key Offseason Additions – Donte DiVincenzo
Key Offseason Subtractions – Gary Payton II
They did it again! For the 4th time in 8 seasons, the Golden State Warriors were NBA champions. Steph Curry won finals MVP and played one of the better seasons in his career. Draymond Green looked fit and engaged for the first time in a few years. Klay Thompson was not the Klay of old, but showed flashes of greatness and made big shots for his team. Andrew Wiggins was a perfect jack of all trades for the Warriors. He guarded the best player on the opposing team most nights while also being a key contributor on offense. Jordan Poole made a huge leap forward in his game. It was a great season for one of the all time great NBA teams.
The band is back together for another run at a title, but the weight of success is getting to be awfully heavy for this team. Wiggins & Poole locked up big extensions over the summer and Draymond Green, who is due for an extension himself, decided to punch Jordan Poole in the face during a break at practice. The Warriors are likely the best franchise in the league to handle these problems, but there’s been a lot of off the court distractions. All that said, they just have to get through the regular season with everyone healthy and ideally a top 3 seed again in the Western Conference. That all seems fairly certain barring a catastrophic injury or more Draymond nonsense.
My projections agree with the market on this team at 52 wins. They’re the favorite or 2nd favorite to win the title depending on where you look. All of these numbers seem fair to me. Perhaps there’s some turmoil during the season and we get a chance to back the Warriors in the futures markets, but it’s unlikely that there’s ever value on Golden State this season.
Bets – None 🙁
Key Offseason Additions – Damion Lee
Key Offseason Subtractions – JaVale McGee
It was another great regular season followed by a disappointing postseason. Phoenix finished with 64 wins which was best in the league by 8. They were the #1 seed in the West for 4+ months of the season. Chris Paul & Devin Booker were all stars and Monty Williams was voted Coach of the Year. Deandre Ayton and Cameron Johnson both improved their games and the team looked ready for another shot at the title. Things were going smoothly for the Suns after winning the first 2 games of the Western Conference Finals, but that was the end of the good parts of their season. Luka Doncic and the Mavericks won 4 of the next 5 games sending the Suns home.
The bad is all back together to try again this year. Generally, the window for a team doesn’t stay open long and this is likely the last year if it’s even still open. The Ayton contract situation was less than great. There were whispers he wanted to be traded and ending up going into free agency, albeit restricted. The Suns did immediately match his offer, but it was surprising they didn’t extend him beforehand. Chris Paul is very much in decline and has looked broken down at the end of the last 2 seasons. It’s hard to think things will change in the postseason this year. Devin Booker should improve again this year and now that Ayton is locked up, he should feel settled and get back to working on his game as well. Cameron Johnson moves into the starting lineup which should bring more energy to the team, but can this team improve enough to finally get over the hump?
My projections like this team in the regular season and there’s little reason to expect anything else. There is enough star power to keep this team afloat through injuries. Phoenix will be a favorite almost every night, especially at home. I’m not going to be the over despite my numbers though. 2.5 is a decent edge, but not big enough for me to put down on a team at the closing of their window.
Bets – None 🙁
Key Offseason Additions – John Wall
Key Offseason Subtractions – Isaiah Hartenstein
It was an oddly impressive season for one of the 2 Los Angeles teams. Kawhi Leonard didn’t play a single game. Paul George played only 31 games. Ivica Zubac and Reggie Jackson were the only 2 players on the roster to start more than 55 games for the Clippers. Players were good in the mid 2010s like Eric Bledsoe, Nicolas Batum and Marcus Morris averaged 25+ minutes per game. Somehow that ragtag group of aging veterans and journeymen finished with a winning record and almost made the postseason. As the 8 seed, they were in the play in tournament and lost both games by just 9 points combined. The true revelation for the Clippers came from a man on the bench, their coach, Ty Lue. He was creative with lineups, embraced his players strengths, and made this team more than the sum of it’s parts. All in all, it was about as good as could be expected from what should have been a lost season without Kawhi and PG13.
Well, it looks like everyone is healthy this year and we get to see what this roster can do. Kawhi Leonard took all of last season to get his body right and even played some preseason games. Paul George was able to return at the very end of the season and should be 100% to start the year. Add those 2 to last season’s roster and it’s not hard to see why this team is one of the betting favorites to win the title. Ty Lue has proven to be a good coach in a league with few coaches that aren’t bad. If healthy and even 80% of their former selves, Kawhi & PG13 are one of the best start duos in the league on both ends of the floor. Like most teams, they could use some more shooting, but the roster is full of players who can play multiple positions and contribute offensively and defensively. Everything looks good on paper and we should finally get to see it on the hardwood.
My projections are just shy of the current RSW total, but still very optimistic about the Clippers. I’m certainly not betting against this team, but the market is very high on them already. If the seasons starts choppy as the team adjusts to shifting all that usage to Kawhi & Paul George, but there’s no injuries I will grab some futures on them to win the West and the title sometime in late January, early February.
Bets – None 🙁
Key Offseason Additions – Patrick Beverly, Thomas Bryant, Dennis Schröder, Lonnie Walker
Key Offseason Subtractions – Talen Horton-Tucker, Dwight Howard, Malik Monk, Carmelo Anthony
Hold on a second so I can get this out of my system…
BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA THEY MISSED THE PLAYOFFS BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA THEY TRADED 3 ROTATION PLAYERS FOR RUSSELL WESTBROOK BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA THEY COULDN’T EVEN WIN THE 34 GAMES TO GET INTO THE PLAY IN TOURNAMENT BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA #BestLakersSeasonEver
Ok, I will do my best to be objective going forward.
Man, what a great season, well for me, which means it was a very bad season for the Lakers. For the first time in 5 years, the won just 33 games. Anthony Davis missed more than half the season. LeBron James’ body finally showed signs of his almost 20 years in the league and played less than 60 games. To say it as nicely as one can say while being truthful, Russell Westbrook was a fucking disaster. There was little growth or flashes of goodness from the rest of the roster. All of this added up to Lakers missing their RSW total by more than 20 games and having their worst season in years.
The front office has tried like hell to trade Westbrook to the point of alienating him. He was not participating in team huddles in preseason games an is in consideration to be asked to stay home for the season like John Wall was last year. They also acquired Patrick Beverly who has very publicly mentioned how much he doesn’t like Westbrook. Oh, and Beverly hasn’t been a positive impact player for a few seasons. Thomas Bryant might be able to help if he can play more than 46 games for the second time in his 5 year career. I can neither deny nor confirm this, but Gregg Popovich may have actually helped Lonnie Walker pack and driven him to LA. I don’t want to underestimate the power of an angry LeBron James, but I’m also not optimistic about every other part of this team.
Under. Give me the under and plenty of it. My projections show a 4.5 game edge and I think it will be even worse than that. Yes, LeBron James is one of the best players to every pay basketball and had a long offseason to allow his body to heal and get stronger. Sure, Anthony Davis might 60+ games for the first time since his first season as a Laker. Even if all that does work, there’s just not enough talent on this roster or means of acquiring talent. They might be a winning team, but I’m hard pressed to believe they can get to 45 wins.
Bets – Under 44.5 Regular Season Wins
Key Offseason Additions – Keegan Murray (R), Kevin Huerter, Malik Monk,
Key Offseason Subtractions – Justin Holiday, Moe Harkless
For the 15th season in a row, the Sacramento Kings failed to win at least 40 games. De’Aaron Fox continued to stagnate. Harrison Barnes & Buddy Hield were fine, but just that and no more. Luke Walton got canned after 17 games. In one of the more fascinating, minor moves in the NBA last year, Sacramento traded Hield and their promising young guard, Tyrese Haliburton, to Indiana for Domantis Sabonis. Sacramento finally pulled the plug on the Marvin Bagley III era and sent him to Detroit for flack and some draft picks. The Kings were expected to be bad and there we bad, but in a much more interesting way than expected. For a team that wasn’t better than the 10th seed in the West from Thanksgiving through the end of the season, they made moves, won games they shouldn’t have won, and were mildly entertaining. But, you know, still losers.
Mike Brown, yes, THAT Mike Brown, is the new coach in town. He’s been an assistant in Indiana, San Antonio, and Washington over the last years. To say the least, I’m not optimistic about this coaching choice, although I’m somehow not pessimistic. Brown does not come in with a system or some preconceived notion about how HIS basketball teams should play, so perhaps he can look at this roster and make the best of it. It’s a fun team. The addition of Huerter should allow Fox more freedom to focus on scoring. Harrison Barnes has quietly had a nice pro career and does a lot of positive things each night. Keegan Murray is among the favorites to win rookie of the year and had a great preseason. Sabonis is not the center you want on defense, but he more than makes up for it on the offensive end of the floor. They may not win a lot of games, but boy should this team put up points. Hopefully all that scoring is enough to keep Kings’ fans happy.
My numbers are only 1 game off the RSW total market. This team has potential to be not bad and maybe they could even be good. They lack the top end star power to make the playoffs in a loaded Western Conference, but I expect them to be feisty each night.
Bets – None 🙁
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