General NBA

Predicting a Few Uncertain 2019-20 Over/Unders

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With most of the dust settled in what many will categorize as the most unpredictable offseason in NBA history, I hereby present you with some of my favorite win total (over/under) picks for this upcoming NBA season. (All win totals according to FanDuel Sportsbook)

Knicks

Number: 27.5

Pick: Over

After a 2018-19 season in which the Knicks finished with an unimpressive record of 17-65, New York became one of the most intriguing teams to watch heading into the offseason. Surrounded with rumors of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, New York swung and missed on all its top free agent targets. Following this and what some Knick fans would consider to be an embarrassing effort on the front office’s part, they decided to go in a different direction.

They kept their 3rd overall pick, using it to select R.J. Barrett. They pursued a young, borderline All-Star in Julius Randle, and added lots of veteran talent. Players like Taj Gibson, Elfrid Payton, Marcus Morris, and Wayne Ellington will work alongside New York’s young core. This mix of experience and youth will provide New York with a nice veteran presence off the bench. They also have proven guys to help guide the youngsters through the ebbs and flows of the long NBA season.

The growth of young players on this roster will prove vital throughout the season. Dennis Smith Jr., Mitchell Robinson, Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina, Damyean Dotson and others are expected to make jumps this season. In essence, the Knicks have gotten better this offseason. Picking them to win a mere 28 games in a top-heavy conference seems like a no brainer.

Magic

Number: 40.5

Pick: Under

Oh the Magic, one of the most puzzling teams of recent NBA history. Orlando had a very uninteresting offseason to say the least.

Let’s keep this short and sweet. The Magic’s roster has not changed much from last year’s 42-40 showing. With a crazy offseason going on around them, the Magic decided to stand pat and make minimal moves. They re-signed their All-Star big man Nikola Vucevic, as well as Terrance Ross, a sixth man of the year candidate year in and year out.

They chose to accompany these moves with the addition of high-level defender Al-Farouq Aminu. The Magic are deep, young, and could provide the East with a sleeper to sneak into the playoffs, but I simply do not see it. Therefore, I chose the under.

Warriors

Number: 47.5

Pick: Under

One of the marquee teams in the NBA over nearly the past decade, the Warriors experienced major changes to their roster this offseason. Not only was Golden State upset in the NBA Finals by Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors, but it dealt with injuries to key pieces. Lengthy injuries to Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins and Klay Thompson forced top brass to make some very difficult decisions.

The biggest move of the entire offseason was losing Durant to the Brooklyn Nets. This was accompanied by Cousins and Quinn Cook choosing to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. Suddenly, the Warriors saw themselves in a very tough situation.

All the while, Thompson – one of the best two guards in the NBA and one of the greatest shooters of all time – is going to be out until at least the All-Star break, according to multiple reports. With all of this, Golden State will look to lean on Curry, Draymond Green and newly acquired All-Star point guard D’Angelo Russell.

On paper this looks to be one of the most dynamic starting lineups in the NBA. However, with Thompson out more than half of the year I feel as if the Warriors may struggle out of the gate. Curry and Russell still have to learn how to play alongside one another in the early going as well. Just how powerful and spread out the talent is in the Western Conference is remains a factor. Night in and night out, the Warriors will be going up against at least two All-Stars.

Thunder

Number: 32.5

Pick: Over

Talk about completely pivoting a team’s focus in one year. The Oklahoma City Thunder went from a serious contender in the Western Conference to a team with a plethora of bad contracts, and seem to be on the brink of a rebuild. In a wild offseason where they lost their two All-Stars in Paul George and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder have completely shifted the focus of the franchise towards the future.

The Thunder have managed to stockpile an insane amount of draft capital for the future. They sent Westbrook to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Chris Paul and a plethora of draft picks. That deal followed one that sent George to the Los Angeles Clippers for a package including Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari and five first-round picks. And while they continuously try to shop Chris Paul around the league, his contract and age make him a tough sell.

The Run That Became OKC’s Demise

After all of the shuffling of the roster, Oklahoma City still presents itself with a very formidable starting lineup. Paul, Gilgeous-Alexander, Gallinari, Steven Adams, and Andre Roberson are a tough bunch. It helps that Dennis Schroder and Nerlens Noel are available off the bench as well. The first half of the season will be a tell-tale sign as to what the organization plans to do going forward. Maybe they believe they can compete now, or maybe they will look to trade some of their older guys for more draft capital. All that said, I believe that 32.5 wins is too low for this starting five, even in a stacked Western Conference.

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