One more day, just one more day until the 2015-16 NBA season is upon us. With the dawn of the new season we lay to rest the off-season ‘what-if’s’, the arbitrary rankings, and the 10,000 interviews claiming they’ve never seen, “insert a player of your choosing here” in better shape stories.
It would appear this our last chance to speculate without criticism, to forecast without fact, and to share without cynicism. What we have here is the perfect opportunity to lay out a few pre-season predictions.
Vegas has released their win lines for the following season; the title odds, and more importantly their over/under win totals are available here. With that said, I’ve scoured the Twittisphere to assemble a hoop-head panel willing to give you their takes on the 15-16 franchise win totals.
I’ve broken the voters choices into two columns, the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference. So, without further adieu:
The Eastern Conference:
The Atlanta Hawks:
Losing DeMarre Carroll hurts, in-fact it hurts more than the Atlanta faithful want to admit. Fluke is an ugly word, but nevertheless, fluke does come to mind when I look back at the Hawks 60 win season. Aside from losing their best perimeter defender, I do wonder about Atlanta’s, specifically Al Horford’s health this season. The big man missed the majority of the 2013-14 season playing in only 29 games, two years previously in 2011-12 he only got out on the court for a depressing 11 contests. The Hawks won’t sniff 50 wins if the two year plague once again holds Horford out of the line-up for an extended period of time. – Josh Eberley, Editor at Hoopscritic.com.
The Boston Celtics:
“They were one of the top 10 teams record-wise in the NBA following the break, and have one of the best coaches in the game.” – Justin Termine, Host of NBA Today on
@siriusxmnbaSirius 207, XM 86… Host @CineSport.
The Brooklyn Nets:
“People forget the Nets had the same record as the Atlanta Hawks past the All-Star break. While they lost some pieces, I personally don’t credit that rise in production to the ailing Deron Williams or a Coach K favourite.” J.E.
The Charlotte Hornets:
“Under 32.5. Michael Kidd Gilchrist’s injury is a killer for their defense and their new focus on three pointers isn’t a great fit for the roster.” – Brian Geltzeiler, Founder of hoopscritic.com. Host on Sirius XM NBA Radio. Contributor at The Cauldron. NBA Analyst/Insider at 120 Sports.
The Chicago Bulls:
“I gave the Bulls a couple of extra wins because I believe they are going to start relying on Jimmy Butler a whole lot more, making it Butler’s team and no longer the franchise of Derrick Rose. Joakim Noah will bounce back from his disappointing season last year and get back to being the rebounding machine he is. The Bulls depth is something that should help them compete with the beasts of the East especially with the drafting of Bobby Portis. I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out. Do I think they will be in the NBA finals? No. But they’ll make it interesting.” – Jamie Thomas, Sportsnet Central/NFL Gameday host, Sportsnet.ca writer.
The Cleveland Cavaliers:
“The Cavaliers added some veteran help at the point guard position in Mo Williams, they brought back all their guys, Dan Gilbert is all in. This team needs to win a title, because if the ship sinks the dreams of Akron, and the wallet of Dan Gilbert go with it. I don’t know how many more years LeBron James will have in the best player conversation, but this will be one of them, give me the over.” – J.E.
The Detroit Pistons:
“Year two of the Stan Van Gundy era sports a roster that is much more suited to playing Stan’s four out one in system on offense with lots of three pointers. Also, now starring in the role of Dwight Howard is Andre Drummond. I’m a believer, give me the over.” – B.G.
The Indiana Pacers:
“The Pacers off-season moves were, well, they were something. I concede that, adding Monta Ellis to an already shot heavy back court was puzzling, and Paul George seems less than stoked to be running the power-forward position. With all that said, when George Hill was in the line-up the Pacers were a playoff team, Paul George looked good in pre-season, and I don’t mind being the sole panel member running with the over.” – J.E.
The Miami Heat:
“If healthy, which is always a big question with Dwyane Wade teams, they have the best starting 5 in the East. Over.” – J.T.
The Milwaukee Bucks:
“Over 43.5. Besides for the roster upgrades of adding Jabari Parker back and signing Greg Monroe, this is a young group that will benefit greatly from the improvement of existing players.” – B.G.
The New York Knicks:
“The Knicks won just 17 games last year, and their biggest impact additions for the near future were Robin Lopez and Aaron Afflalo… Those guys along with a healthy Melo mean a jump, but they didn’t exactly bring in Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and James Worthy… Under.” – J.T.
The Orlando Magic:
“The point of brining in Scott Skiles is to make a big jump in your first year with a young team… He did it in Phoenix, Chicago, and Milwaukee, and I expect it here as well… Expect improvements from Victor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon, and the defense in general… Over.” – J.T.
The Philadelphia 76ers:
“There’s not enough NBA quality players here and the ones they do have, albeit are talented, but don’t fit head coach Brett Brown’s space and pace up tempo style.” – B.G.
The Toronto Raptors:
“Go Blue Jays! Canadians were really excited about #ComeTogether for a couple of weeks, but now that that is dead and done with, the true north strong and free is back to the beloved #WeTheNorth campaign. Kyle Lowry looked good this pre-season, DeMarre Carroll was a monstrous signing for Toronto for a whole schwack of reasons. Firstly, he’s a good player. Secondly, Toronto never signs good players. Thirdly, it move Terrence Ross back to the bench where he belongs. The Raptors are going to make the over because Canada needs them to do it, but also because they got better this off-season and they’ve won 48 games each of the past two seasons.” – J.E.
The Washington Wizards:
“The loss of Pierce will hurt, but if Otto Porter can continue what he did in April then they should be able to equal last year’s 46 wins… Over.” – J.T.
The Western Conference:
The Dallas Mavericks:
“Who is this team guarding? They nearly set the record for most 3PM allowed in NBA history last year and their best defender, Wes Matthews, is coming off a torn achilles.” – Noah Coslov, CineSport Host & Managing Editor, Host on
@SiriusXMNBA, CBS Sports Network play-by-play.
The Denver Nuggets:
“The atmosphere will be better, and so will Kenneth Faried, but the main goal of the season is to develop Emmanuel Mudiay, and rookie PG’s in the West have no chance.. Under.” – J.T.
The Golden State Warriors:
Starting the season without Steve Kerr makes the loss of Alvin Gentry sting. It’s going to be more of a grind for the Warriors because as champions, they’re going to get everyone’s best. Under.” – B.G.
The Houston Rockets:
“The Houston Rockets have a lot of asterisks heading into next season. Can James Harden continue on at an MVP level? Can he co-exist with Ty Lawson? Can Ty Lawson figure out Uber? Can Dwight Howard stay healthy? I’m a gambler at heart so I’m going to say yes. I think the Rockets put it all together this season and top the proposed 54.5.” – J.E.
The Los Angeles Clippers:
“Some teams in the NBA get deeper and more talented and still finish with a worse record than their previous season. I just don’t see that being the case for the Clippers, who won 56 games last year and then added Paul Pierce, Lance Stephenson, Josh Smith and Wesley Johnson, among others, this summer to bolster a backup unit in need of an overhaul. The additions should allow for a fresher starting unit, which remains one of the strongest and most efficient in the league, and should result in a Clippers group at least one or two wins better than it was last season.” – Rowan Kavner, Digital Content Coordinator | LA Clippers.
The Los Angeles Lakers:
“This could also be the over/under on games played for Kobe… Wins don’t matter as much this year as developing that young talent.. Under.” – J.T.
The Memphis Grizzlies:
“The league’s big focus on three pointers should be a benefit to the Grizzlies in the regular season, they’re defensively capable of limiting teams behind the arc. They get hurt in the playoffs because they’re not a good three point shooting team. Over.” – B.G.
The Minnesota Timberwolves:
“Over 25.5. This is a very talented young team who will take their lumps early, but will have a big learning curve over the course of a long season. Head coach Sam Mitchell is going to give up wins early in the name of developing the young guys, but that will pay dividends later in the season.” – B.G.
*Condolences to Flip Saunders family, friends, and NBA community at large who enjoyed the genius of a true basketball devotee.
The New Orleans Pelicans:
“Under 47.5. They’re going to struggle early because of all the injuries and it’s important to note that Anthony Davis has never played 70 games in a season in his three year career.” – B.G.
The Oklahoma City Thunder:
“Under 57.5. New head coach Billy Donovan will make this team better but there are still too many players on this roster who only contribute on one end of the floor. Hard to win big with guys like Enes Kanter, Dion Waiters, and Andre Roberson slated to be key contributors.” – B.G.
The Phoenix Suns:
“The Suns will be fun. Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight, Markieff Morris, and Tyson Chandler is an electric core unit. They have been sitting on some young talent and I think they do what the Suns of late have done, hang around and just miss the playoffs. They’ll need more than the proposed 36.5 if they plan to do that.” – J.E.
The Portland Trail Blazers:
“The only thing about this team over 26.5, could be shot attempts per game from Lillard… I expect a big step forward from CJ McCollum, but a big step back from the team… Wouldn’t be surprised with worst record in NBA…” – J.T.
The Sacramento Kings:
“If we take injuries out of the conversation I don’t think any team has a higher ceiling or lower basement than the 2015-16 Shaqramento Kings. It’ll be fun either way, if Rajon Rondo, George Karl, and DeMarcus Cousins predictably combust into a big ol mess the internet wins. If they don’t and by some stroke of genius Vlade Divac is on to something they’ll be a lovable Cinderall story, win-win.” – J.E.
The San Antonio Spurs:
“They may have won the offseason, but they can’t beat father time… I’m done projecting when Duncan will fall off a cliff, but Parker already has… If he looks like the Parker from the playoffs and Euro-Basket, then SA may have more trouble than people think…” – J.T.
The Utah Jazz:
“The average age of a Utah Jazz player last season was 23.4, making them the second-youngest team in the NBA (behind the Philadelphia 76ers. Every key member of the core was 25 or younger, meaning they’re all still a few years away from their prime. And yet, they had the best Defensive Rating in the league (94.8) and played at a 54-win pace after the All-Star Break. Barring injury, there’s no reason to think they won’t at least pick up where they left off.” – Andrew Bailey, Columnist at Bleacher Report.
Sincere thanks to all contributors:
Andrew Bailey – NBA columnist for Bleacher Report. @AndrewDBailey
Noah Coslov – CineSport Host & Managing Editor, Host on
@SiriusXMNBA, CBS Sports Network play-by-play. @NoahCoslov
Brian Geltzeiler – Founder of HoopsCritic.com. Host on Sirius XM NBA Radio. Contributor at The Cauldron. NBA Analyst/Insider at 120 Sports. @HoopsCritic
Rowan Kavner – Covering all things
& last but not least,
Jamie Thomas – Sportsnet Central/NFL Gameday host, Sportsnet.ca writer. @SNJamieWThomas