Charlotte Under 38.5 Wins
They won 33 games last season (38 wins @ 82 games pace). So basically, the question here is, can they do equal or even better? I don’t think so… They were incredibly clutch last season (they had the best mark in the East in close games, decided by 3 points or fewer), and Terry Rozier is no Michael Jordan. They had some success in playing “smaller” lineups as it unlocked LaMelo Ball’s great vision in open court. They will try to do it again this season…With such style, it’s imperative to have good perimeter shooting…and the Hornets lost Davonte Graham in the offseason, while adding Ish Smith and Kelly Oubre, yikes!
Miami Over 48.5 Wins
The Heat had a very strange (not in a good way) last season, and yet they won 40 games (46 wins @ 82 games pace). Going from Nunn / debilitated Dragic to Kyle Lowry is probably the biggest position upgrade in this season for a team, and their starting lineup, if fully available, is going to be one of the best in the league. It looks like Tyler Herro is ready to make a big jump in his level of play, and the lack of perimeter depth of this team could be a bit negated if he really keeps his preseason play level. With a top 5 defense (that’s my expectation), the Heat will only need to be an average offensive team in order to win +50 games.
Phoenix Over 51.5 Wins | (Phoenix to win the division @ +200)
Few remember, but the Suns started last season 8-8, and their starting unit didn’t really have good, advanced metrics playing together, what a turnaround! In the end, the Suns had the best record in the league in games against winning teams. For this season, they kept basically the same team. They added a perimeter shooter in Landry Shamet, and a decent backup center in Javale McGee. Besides CP3, their core is very young and prime to keep developing. They should be the favorites to win their Division.
Memphis Over 41.5 Wins
The Grizzlies won 38 games last season (43 wins @ 82 games pace), so actually the market thinks they are going to be a worse team this season. I disagree on that for several reasons: Their division is bad with only 2 projected winning teams; Last season, they played most of the season without Jaren Jackson Jr.. They have a good coach/system, good continuity of players and good depth. This combination usually works very well in a long regular season.
New Orleans Under 38 Wins
How many games Zion Williamson will play this season? There’s a lot of drama already building up around him… The Pelicans depth on guards is very limited, full of unproven players or unidimensional players.