Over/Under 50 wins for the Cavaliers?
With the exciting return of King James, the Cavs have a lot to look forward to in the upcoming NBA season. With all the excitement that comes with the return of the king (and his knights, Mike Miller, James Jones, and possibly Ray Allen) and number one overall pick Andrew Wiggins, expectations are drastically increased for this fringe playoff team just a year ago.
The Cavs did not reach 50 wins just thrice in LeBron’s first tour with the Cavaliers and never dipped below 54 with the Heat (with the exception of the lockout shortened 2011-2012 season, in which they were on pace to win about 61 games in a full 82 game season), so you would expect the new and improved supporting cast around him (I.E. Kyrie Irving) would like to maintain the season win total above 50.
The possible addition of Kevin Love would completely sell me on the Cavs being a 60 win team next season, but we can’t assume that will happen yet.
Despite that, I am going to go ahead and say OVER- the Cavs grab 55 games this season.
Over/ Under 45 wins for the Heat?
This gets a little more difficult than the previous question. With the loss of LeBron, the Heat are no longer the perennial contenders that both their fans and the NBA world is used to. Still, they have a lot of talent on their roster, and some new guys like Josh McRoberts, Luol Deng, and Danny Granger should help pad the loss of James.
They are fighting in a difficult division, with Charlotte and Washington looking to make noise and Atlanta always in the mix for the playoffs, but I think they will survive the Eastern conference bottomfeeders and put out a solid season.
I still believe that a starting lineup of Chalmers, Wade, Deng, McRoberts, and Bosh is a great playoff team and in a easy Eastern conference, the Heat can easily get 45, maybe 50 wins out of the roster they have now.
OVER: 45-50 wins for this Heat squad.
Over/ Under 30 PPG for Kevin Durant?
The Thunder continue to get worse and worse each season.
They traded James Harden for Kevin Martin, a downgrade, a few years ago, and then lost the sharpshooter to free agency for nothing. Then, this offseason, they lost Thabo Sefolosha and replaced him with specialist Anthony Morrow. They missed out on the Pau Gasol sweepstakes. Overall, the Thunder just have not been successful in recent offseasons.
With the exception of Serge Ibaka, the Thunder have been unable to piece together a supporting cast around Durant and Westbrook that can contend for a championship. The Thunder need some more valuable pieces if they really want to be a contender in the blisteringly difficult Western conference. But, until then, the team relies on Durant and his all around game – scoring, rebounding, and distributing.
So, what happens when a team relies on two players for their whole offense? Those guys score a lot.
So, of course, Durant will likely score a lot this season, similar to last season.
But, can Durant keep up the same production as last year, putting up 32 points a game? I just don’t see it. Losing talent like Sefolosha and Caron Butler and leadership in Derek Fisher will allow opposing defenses to key on Durant all game long. I see Durant still leading the league in PPG, but 30 is just too much. Last season was the first time since the 2009-2010 season that Durant was even able to average over 30 ppg for a season.
So, all in all, UNDER: I see Durant scoring 28-29 points a night.
Over/ Under 20 PPG for Jabari Parker?
Jabari Parker is in the best position of all 2014 rookies.
He is likely to be the number one option right off the bat for the lowly Bucks squad. He is a special guy with a special talent — shot creation. That is exactly what the Bucks need.
So, even with all of his talent and the fantastic position he is in, is he a 20 PPG guy? I just don’t know. Lets look at some talented NBA guys who failed to hit the 20 PPG mark last season. Chris Paul, John Wall, Arron Afflalo, Klay Thompson, Monta Ellis, Dwight Howard. All those guys failed to hit the 20 PPG mark. Do you really think that Parker will have a bigger role on offense than guys like these, especially in his first year in the NBA?
I doubt it.
Also, with some guys who love to shoot already on the roster (O.J. Mayo, Brandon Knight, Ersan Ilyasova) as well as playing with another talented player loaded with potential on the wing (Giannis Antetokounmpo), Parker won’t be a 20 PPG guy, but he will certainly light up the box score on a near nightly basis.
UNDER: 18-19 PPG for the young buck.
Over/ Under 50 games played for Derrick Rose?
Derrick Rose has been proving a lot of haters wrong this offseason, showing off that his freakish athleticism is back and better than ever during FIBA preparations with team USA. But, will Mr. Kneeless remain completely healthy for this whole NBA season?
I have no doubt Rose will miss quite a few games with assorted injuries, as many players do, but the big thing is if his knees (or lack thereof) will hold up. Can they really withstand a whole season of wear and tear after not being used in real game situations for so long?
I honestly believe they can and will. Rose has been rehabbing and working out intensely all summer, so to say that he won’t last would be discouraging and unsupported. One of the main reasons Rose struggled so much even when he was on the court was because he rushed his rehab process. As a result, his knees were not 100% and his game suffered.
Not this time. Rose has shown off his freakish speed and hops this offseason and looks pretty durable for the upcoming season.
OVER: I see Rose playing in 60-70 games for the new and improved Bulls this season.
Over/ Under 2 All Star for the Charlotte Hornets?
Two 2013-2014 all star snubs find themselves on the same roster this year. Lance Stephenson and Al Jefferson both deserved all star nods last year, and neither received. So, will that change this year?
Well, one thing is for sure. Al Jefferson will finally get recognition as being the most productive center in the league and get his own all star spot for the Eastern conference. No question about that. But, with Lance Stephenson being given the keys to the Hornets offense, will he also produce as much as Big Al did in his first year in Charlotte?
That is a question that cannot be answered yet. I see Lance getting around 19 PPG as the starting shooting guard in Charlotte, but if it is an all star worthy year is still a mystery.
Also, with the emergence of DeMar DeRozan and Bradley Beal as two of the best shooting guards in the league who just so happen to play in the East, as well as the popularity of Dwyane Wade when it comes time to vote for All-Stars, and its difficult to see Lance making the cut, regardless of whether or not he deserves it.
My guess, UNDER: I say Al Jefferson finds himself in the all star game, but Lance gets to watch at home.
Over/ Under 3 seed for Washington?
Washington got a lot better or a lot worse this offseason, depending on how much you think Paul Pierce still has in the tank. I say the addition of him, as well as strengthening the bench with rebounding monsters DeJuan Blair and Kris Humphries on team friendly deals made them much better as a whole.
The Wiz earned the 5th spot last season in the Eastern conference playoffs. Can they claim a top 3 spot this year?
I don’t think so.
The Raptors, Cavs, and Bulls are the three best teams in the East, and I would say those three squads occupy the top three seeds. But, don’t fret Wizard fans, I see the Wizards coming in at number four, right in front of Charlotte at 5.
UNDER: The Wiz are a great team, but they don’t edge out Toronto at number three.
Over/ Under 3 seed for Dallas?
Dallas had the best offseason they could ask for.
They got Chandler Parsons on a big deal that keeps him in Dallas for three years, they resigned Dirk Nowitzki on a bargain deal, and got Tyson Chandler back from NY. Other deals included signing defensive savant Al Farouq Aminu to a nice two year deal, Richard Jefferson to a one year deal, Jameer Nelson to a reasonable deal, and bringing Raymond Felton over in the Chandler deal.
Now, the former eight seed who gave the NBA champion Spurs the biggest challenge of all their playoff series, find themselves in a position to overtake the former champions.
With all these masterful roster moves, I don’t see Dallas sinking below a three seed, and have them set to be the one or two seed out West. I know this a huge change in the Western conference power struggle, but Dallas is too deep and has too many special pieces to work with.
With Dirk’s ability to thrive in old age, Monta Ellis’s scoring prowess, Tyson Chandler’s defensive presence, and Chandler Parson’s potential, growth, and do-it-all talent, the Mav’s are poised to make a serious run at the title while dominating the powerful Western Conference.
OVER: I see Dallas going into the playoffs as the number one or number two team out West.
Disagree with a prediction? Let your voice be heard in the comment section below.