This has been an…interesting offseason in The Association.
It got off to a scorching hot start with the NBA draft, which saw Paolo Banchero shoot to the top of the draft boards out of nowhere. And then, we got to the good ol’ tampering days in the lead-up to the moratorium period.
But a Kevin Durant trade request came out of left field and brought the offseason to a screeching halt. And the fallout of his request has left the league in an odd state as we all await what happens next.
Amid the brief pause in Chaos as we await a resolution in Brooklyn, its a good time to reset and see where the league’s Franchises stand.
As the teams are currently constructed, let’s run through whether or not each team can find a way to hit its win total projections.
All odds via Tipico Sportsbook.
Milwaukee Bucks – O/U 52.5 wins
(David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)
This feels like an easy one to me. The Bucks probably aren’t about to win better than 70 percent of their games as they did during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons. But even in 2020-21 and 2021-22, they were knocking on the doorstep of what would be 53-win seasons despite dealing with covid. Milwaukee might be the best team out East, and those teams usually finish with outstanding records.
Phoenix Suns – O/U 52.5 wins
(Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
There are plenty of jokes to make about the Suns and the way their 2021-22 season ended. And honestly, they’re called for. But Chris Paul-led teams always deliver during the regular season. Another step forward from their young stars seems possible, as well.
LA Clippers – O/U 52.5 wins
(Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)
This one was tough, despite my belief that the Clippers are the best team in the Western Conference. Injuries are always the big thing with them, and I could see a lot of rest and load management for Kawhi Leonard coming off an ACL injury, and Paul George who has had his share of health concerns in recent years. But ultimately, they’re too deep of a team to really suffer, and under Ty Lue, they showed a year ago how they can stack wins regardless of who is on the court.
Dallas Mavericks – O/U 48.5 wins
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
I don’t see it. I hardly saw it last year, although they proved to be much better than I thought. Losing Jalen Brunson’s production in a year in which the Western Conference has reloaded is tough.
Memphis Grizzlies – O/U 49.5 wins
(Joe Rondone-USA TODAY Sports)
Sorry, Grizzlies fans, regression is on the way this regular season. Jaren Jackson Jr. is potentially going to miss the first quarter of the season as he recovers from foot surgery. If you couple that with the possibility of Ja Morant missing some time, I’d bet Memphis doesn’t hit 50 wins. However, that doesn’t mean their ceiling is any lower come playoff time, if healthy.
Philadelphia 76ers – O/U 49.5 wins
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Philadelphia over the last five seasons:
2019-20 (shortened season): 43-30 (projects to 48 wins over 82 games)
2020-21 (shortened season): 49-23 (projects to 56 wins over 82 games)
The Sixers will arguably have its best roster in the Joel Embiid era. Over 49.5 wins should be pretty easy.
Denver Nuggets: O/U 49.5 wins
(Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)
Truth be told, I’m not quite sure I’m as hyped on the Nuggets as most in the media are. Maybe I’m just a casual in that regard. But this is already a near-50-win team with Nikola Jokic basically on his own. Even 50 percent of health from MPJ or Jamal Murray should be enough to exceed the win total.
Minnesota Timberwolves – O/U 47.5 wins
(Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports)
I know the T’Wolves paid A LOT for Rudy Gobert. But if we’re leaving draft picks out of this and strictly talking about the current roster, they should be better than the 46-win team they were a season ago. Ant Edwards will take another leap forward, which helps.
Charlotte Hornets – O/U 37.5 wins
(Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports)
Buzz City will not be buzzing in the 2022-23 season. They didn’t get better this offseason. In fact, they probably got worse.
Washington Wizards – O/U 35.5 wins
(AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Eh, 36 wins is a pretty low bar. I guess if Brad Beal is healthy, he and Kyle Kuzma can help lead this team to one more win than it had last season.
Brooklyn Nets – O/U 45.5 wins
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Go ahead and take the under. The bet is that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are both gone before the trade deadline. The remaining players and those brought in in a potential trade won’t get to 46 wins. But this is all if some trades go down.
New Orleans Pelicans – O/U 44.5 wins
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
If you follow me, you’ll know that I’m a believer in the Pels. Healthy Zion. Good Coach in Willie Green. The Emerging superstardom of Brandon Ingram. And the momentum from last postseason? Sign me up.
Atlanta Hawks – O/U 45.5 wins
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Are the Hawks the same team who went to the Eastern Conference Finals two seasons ago? Probably not. Are they the team who scratched and clawed their way to the Playoffs via the Play-In Tournament? Also, probably not. They’re somewhere in the middle, and after the acquisition of Dejounte Murray, there’s a more positive upside with ATL.
Los Angeles Lakers – O/U 46.5
(Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Forty-seven is a lot of wins for these Lakers. The Lakers with potentially another superstar named Kyrie Irving? Still no, even though the postseason ceiling obviously raises.
Utah Jazz – O/U 33.5 wins
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
The Jazz will be in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes. Danny Ainge isn’t going to let this team win a bunch of games.
Chicago Bulls – O/U 43.5 wins
(AP Photo/Morry Gash)
I have legitimate concerns about Lonzo Ball’s knee — a meniscus injury shouldn’t have him sidelined for this long. Obviously, he’s a huge piece. But the Bulls are basically running it back with presumably better health from Pat Williams and Alex Caruso. Easy Over.
Cleveland Cavaliers – O/U 42.5 wins
(Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports)
Young players getting better season by season? Yup. This young Cavs core will be better than a season ago. So, yeah. Bet the over.
Portland Trail Blazers – O/U 40.5 wins
(Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports)
I’m not really a fan of what the Blazers did this offseason. To be fair, they are better. But I’m not sure how much better than the Blazers of recent years.
Detroit Pistons – O/U 28.5 wins
(Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Quick. the Pistons are still a year away, which is fine. They will be a fun team to watch, though.
Orlando Magic – O/U 25.5 wins
(Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports)
I hate to be the guy who keeps shooting down the young, Rebuilding teams who have finally got some actual Talent on the roster. But, here I am. Lots of talent on this team but too many similar players. Maybe a trade helps them consolidate and figure out who they want to be.
Oklahoma City Thunder – O/U 26.5 wins
(Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports)
Even though they’re young, I do think this OKC team is talented enough to sniff around 30 wins. They’re also still a while away from anything more.
Houston Rockets – Over 24.5 wins
(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
I want to do it, but I can’t bring myself to take it over. The West is just too deep this year and wins are going to be hard to come by throughout the year. This team is still extremely young.
Boston Celtics – O/U 56.5 wins
(Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)
Whew, 57 wins is a lot to ask for. But the way Boston dominated the second part of the season and the run it put together during the Playoffs makes me optimistic this number of wins can be reached. And the C’s added Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari for basically nothing? Sure, let’s do it.
Miami Heat – Over 49.5 wins
(Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports)
The Heat are primed to take a step back during the 2022-23 season. Another year older for Kyle Lowry and the subtraction of PJ Tucker ultimately forced Miami to finish with a wins total somewhere in the 40s.
New York Knicks – O/U 39.5 wins
(Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
Call me crazy but I really like what the Knicks did this summer. Their flashy signing was Jalen Brunson, who will be a very nice addition to the starting lineup. But even an underrated signing of Isaiah Hartenstein will be beneficial. We’ll see what happens regarding a Donovan Mitchell trade.
Toronto Raptors – O/U 45.5 wins
(Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
Nick Nurse is one of the best coaches in the NBA. With or without KD, he’ll figure out how to make this team a contender in the East.
Sacramento Kings – O/U 33.5 wins
(Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports)
The Kings should clear this. Thirty-four is not asking for a lot, and when you take a look at this team on paper, under new head Coach Mike Brown, some regular-season success seems inevitable.
Indiana Pacers – O/U 23.5 wins
(Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports)
The Pacers are finally going all the way in on a rebuild (I think?), but even 24 wins seems like something their Talent will get them. Although, probably not many more than that.
San Antonio Spurs – O/U 23.5 wins
(AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Say it with me: Victor. Wembenyama.
Golden State Warriors – O/U 51.5 wins
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
I’m done betting against the Warriors. I just am. I like Klay in another year removed from injury. Jonathan Kaminga and James Wiseman will move up the Dubs’ regular-season floor. Steph is still Steph. Yeah, take the Over.
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