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NBA Opening Day: Western Conference Preview

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

by Joel Rodriguez



Western Conference:

This was actually a little easier than the East.


Golden State Warriors: o/u 66.5 wins

They are going to win the title. I don’t know what else to say about them. I just know this will happen. I can see them losing more games than last year and people saying Durant makes them worse… Whatever. It would be nice if they found a big man who can protect the rim for about 20 minutes a game. Either way, no one in the west is going to beat them or be the 1st seed. We are all waiting for Round 3 against Cleveland.

Over at 67 wins.


Los Angeles Clippers o/u 53.5 wins

If they can ever get out of their own way, this is the 2nd most talented team in the West. This might also be their last chance to make a big run together, as Blake and CP3 are both free agents. They have every element you would want in a team. Maybe a little more shooting or scoring from the wings, but that is about it.

Over at 58 wins


San Antonio Spurs o/u 58.5 wins

I wanted to put this team 4th. They are aging, they are slow, they don’t have a lot of spacing, Tony Parker is cooked and probably not a starter in this league anymore. They have a good top 3 though and they don’t lose at home. It should be enough to keep people thinking they are a threat only to be bounced by the 2nd round.

Under at 57


Houston Rockets o/u 44 wins

This team is tailor made for Mike D’Antoni. They have a player who is all about high usage but still kicks the ball out. They have a stretch four who can knock down 3-4 3’s a game easy, they have bigs who share the ball and don’t need to score to make an impact, they have guys who can knock down that corner 3… Perfect team for him. If they buy into it, they will kill the Vegas predictions. I also would love to see them play GS in the playoffs, just to see a 150-143 playoff game.

Over at 52


Utah Jazz o/u 49 wins

This is the most fun boring team in the league. Gordon Hayward is probably going to opt out, which is interesting, because he is terrific and entering his prime. Injuries… that is the only thing that kept them out of the playoffs last year. Not going to happen to this team. They have more veteran depth, the young guys should be better, and Rudy Gobert is ready to dominate everything in the post on defense. They do need to move Favors though. Trey Lyles just fits better. I can see them being the team to give Golden State the most trouble in a few years. Not this year though.

PUSH at 49


Portland Trailblazers o/u 45.5 wins

This is where the Western Conference starts to drop. We used to see 50 win teams be an 8 seed. Not the case anymore. Portland is a solid team with a crazy-high payroll, mainly on guys who still have really good basketball ahead of them. They overachieved and while they are still a postseason team, I do not see much progression here. Utah and Houston are better.

Under at 45


Oklahoma City Thunder o/u 43.5 wins

There will be very few times I want to be wrong. This is one. I want to see OKC as an 8 seed for one very obvious reason. It can very well be anti-climatic, but I wanna see it anyway. This is guaranteed to happen. Russell Westbrook is going to put up numbers we have never seen from a PG his size. He more than anyone in this league has a set of fans who irrationally fall in love with these stats and forget about EVERYTHING ELSE. OKC is going to give up a lot of points this year. They might be able to make up the scoring from a combination of Oladipo, Adams, and Kanter, but they just lost a top 3 player in this league. That is never good. It will be fun to see if Westbrook can give us a 20-20-20 game. but that is all this team is good for. I still wanna see him attack GS though.

Under at 42 wins


Minnesota Timberwolves o/u 40.5 wins

I am sipping this Kool-Aid. Tom Thibodeau is back in the league coaching probably the most exciting team outside of Golden State. We are all expecting them to do well and push for a playoff spot. I have them in. I think Ricky Rubio is underrated. He helps Minnesota more than he hurts them. Towns should keep getting better and proving to be the alpha of the team and Wiggins is a problem in his own right. No reason why they shouldn’t at least fight for the 8th seed.

Under at 40 wins



Memphis Grizzlies o/u 42.5 wins

This is a team that always seems to find a way in no matter how hard they get hit with the injury bug. Don’t see it this year. They should have let Conley go and started over. It was a good time to make that move. Instead, they have Conley and Gasol locked in for a few years with nothing to really show for it. They might still get in. The Grizz and the Mavs seem to always make it happen, but I think their run is over.

Under at 39


Dallas Mavericks o/u 38.5 wins

Another team you used to be able to pencil in somewhere in the top 8. I don’t see it. Harrison Barnes might be more available than Chandler Parsons, but he is not a better player. Bogut should be fine. Dirk is an all-time great. I want to put him in the playoffs again but I do not think he has the talent this time around. I wouldn’t be surprised though. Rick Carlisle is the best coach in the league in my view. He gets the most out of everyone.

Under at 37


Denver Nuggets o/u 37 wins

This might be the most underrated team in the whole league. They have a lot of talent that has yet to be fulfilled. They kinda remind me of Orlando a bit, just they haven’t made that all-in trade yet. They also have what a friend of mine likes to call an “All Medicaid” team. They are always hurt and scrambling for more players. If they can somehow put it all together, they can win some games. I am going to be conservative with them, but I can see them making a push.

Under at 35 wins


Phoenix Suns o/u 30 wins

Why does it feel like Phoenix always has a logjam at the guard spot? How do they keep getting all these good guards and do not benefit from it? Booker, Knight, Bledsoe. They can all ball. Len should be better too. Tyson Chandler was that one signing every summer that screamed buyers remorse ( NOAH THIS YEAR) and now they are stuck with him. I cannot see them making any headway in this conference. Sorry.

Under at 28


New Orleans Pelicans o/u 37 wins

This team stinks. Jrue is out indefinitely to take care of his wife. Ty Evans is finished. Anthony Davis is always hurt. Buddy has the ROY all to himself. Tim Frazier is going to be a big assist guy too until Jrue comes back, but who cares?

Under at 27


Sacramento Kings o/u 34 wins

No one gives a shit about this team. DeMarcus Cousins might finally put it all together and lead them to an 8 seed, or he might be 20 seconds away from punching Dave Joerger in the face. They need an overhaul in the worst way.

Under at 26 wins


Los Angeles Lakers o/u 24.5

D’Angelo Russell! He is gonna have a Jeremy Lin type of year. All types of usage. Walton is going to let him ball and he is going to thrive. They still need a little more time though. They might have the worst record in the West, but their future is brighter than a few teams I have above them. Just have to keep drafting well.

Under at 23 wins.


Eastern Conference Preview


Joel Rodriguez, for War Room Sports

NBA Opening Day: Eastern Conference Preview

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

by Joel Rodriguez




This is how I see everything happening in the regular season.

Eastern Conference:


Cleveland Cavaliers o/u 56.5 wins

Maybe a tiny letdown to start the season as they finally got that elusive title, but no one in the Eastern Conference can challenge them just yet. Maybe the Celtics can in a year or two depending on who they get with Brooklyn’s pick, but not yet.

Over at 58 wins.


Boston Celtics: o/u 52.5 wins

I absolutely hate that I absolutely love how well they play. They share the ball. They have guys who get after you on defense. They play a deep rotation nightly. They have a tremendous coach. They need someone to make Isiah their number 2 or 3 guy though. As long as he is their 1st or 2nd option they can’t take over Cleveland. That is not a knock on Thomas either. He can play. He is just not that guy.

Under at 52 wins


Toronto Raptors o/u 50.5 wins

They get better every single year. That might change this year, but they should still be good enough to land a top 3 or 4 spot in the East. Signing Bismack was a great move. Losing him is going to hurt later in the year. Lowry might regress a little, Jonas might improve some. DeRozan will keep every 90’s basketball fan happy with his mid range jumpers and lack of 3 point shooting.

Under at 50 wins.


Indiana Pacers o/u 44.5 wins

Had a really good offseason as far as acquiring talent on paper. Not sure if Jeff Teague is a good fit for them. He and Monta are a little redundant. They are also going to have some spacing issues, especially when Myles is not on the floor. Still, they have a top 10 player in Paul George and Myles Turner is for real. They should have home court first round.

Over at 48 wins


Atlanta Hawks o/u 43.5 wins

Always underrated in Vegas. Dennis Schroder can ball guys. He is going to be very good. Paul Millsap is on the right team, because he is criminally underrated too. They still have shooting, they still share the ball and Dennis will attack the basket and the opposing PG in a way Teague could not. They might even be a little higher than this. Dwight is as per usual, the too talented to be X Factor, but still the X Factor.

Over at 46 wins.


Detroit Pistons o/u 44.5 wins

If you have ever talked to me about basketball, you know how much I love Reggie Jackson. Him being hurt is going to hurt the team for a bit, but Ish Smith should shoot over 40 percent just enough to keep them afloat until he gets back. They also have Andre Drummond, who is a monster for 3.5 quarters. Tobias Harris should pick up the scoring slack while Reg is gone. Stanley Johnson is money off the bench and KCP might have one more year of improvement in him. This was the toughest team for me to gauge. I can see them anywhere from 3-7. They are a playoff team though. No doubt about it.

Over at 46


Charlotte Hornets o/u 42.5 wins

They have probably the best defensive coach in the EC, if not the NBA. They still have most of their core intact. Losing Lin sucks, but they should still be good. The team is much better offensively when Kaminsky is on the floor. If he can be somewhat competent on defense they are going to be fine. This is where I started to realize the Eastern Conference is pretty good. When I first did this in my head, I had Charlotte a lot higher than this. I can’t justify putting them ahead of these other teams though.

Over at 44.


Orlando Magic o/u 37.5 wins

I think this is the year we see that improvement. I really wish they had a PG who can knock down a jumper, but Elfrid Payton does a lot of things well. They have enough talent to make the playoffs and I believe they will. Trading Vuc for some shooting/firepower can help seal that. They gave Biyombo a bag and traded for Ibaka, who I am assuming they will try and keep. Vuc gotta go. By the way, they need to find a way to not auto correct Ibaka with Obama. That is enough. I can see Milwaukee and Chicago taking this spot too. Orlando didn’t necessarily get better trading Oladipo for Ibaka, I just think this is the year it comes together for them a little bit. Aaron Gordon is a nice breakout candidate too.

Over at 41 wins


Now for the not so good teams:

Chicago Bulls o/u 38.5 wins

These guys are weird. They have decided to completely abandon the pace and space game dominating the league now. Their projected starting 5, Rondo, Wade, Butler, Gibson and Lopez.. None of them outside of Butler can really space the floor and you don’t really want Butler hanging out shooting six 3’s a game either. Wade and Rondo in the backcourt will be interesting to see, too. It is one thing for Wade to play off of LeBron and succeed. Bron is a threat to score and get to the line. It is another thing to play off the ball next to someone who does not look to score. He is also a prime candidate to lose to father time this year, be it by injury or his play… I just do not see it with them making the playoffs. If they do, they will be gone quickly

Over at 39 wins


Miami Heat o/u 34.5 wins

I think this team is a little better than we are giving them credit for. I expect them to run a little more this year with Wade and Bosh gone. Dragic should get a ton of usage and will play well. I can also see Riley deciding to tank, trading Dragic for some expiring deals and getting a high pick in a loaded draft. He has done it before. If they do not do that, I expect them to battle with Chicago and Orlando for a playoff spot. Oh yeah… Whiteside is gonna OD this year with his stat padding.

Over at 39 wins


Milwaukee Bucks o/u 34.5 wins

Milwaukee, Washington and the Knicks can all be interchangeable. I picked Milwaukee first because I want to talk about the “Greek Freak”. He might be my favorite player in the NBA. If he can ever make his jumper respectable, we have a new top 5 player in the league. He is that good. Jabari Parker is also doing his best early Melo impression. Kid is a monster on the blocks and should get better. Teletovic should get all types of minutes on this team too, because they have absolutely no shooting and need spacing to help out Giannis and Parker. They can make the playoffs and mess up all of my predictions. So can Chicago. So can Washington… Middleton being hurt is awful. They were primed for a rebound year but I don’t see it yet. Might be a blessing. A lottery pick to go with Jabari and Giannis might be a bad thing for the East moving forward.

Over at 38 wins.


New York Knicks o/u 38.5 wins

I don’t want to talk about them, but it is only fair. They went out and got guys who will get their last big payday with New York in Lee and Noah. Lee and Afflalo have different styles of play but will have the same type of impact. They are both role players and I do not see Lee adding wins Afflalo couldn’t. Noah wants to be here and he wants this to work. You can tell. The man is a leader and will get the most out of his body and his teammates while he is on the floor. I am just not sure he is good enough anymore to be more than that. Rose is an upgrade from Calderon. He attacks the basket. He gets to the line more. He will help. I just don’t think it is enough for what some of us are expecting. For all of this alleged grit and energy Brandon Jennings brings, it will not mask the fact that he will shoot 35% from the floor this year and take bad shots. It is what he is. KP should get better. Melo should still be good. They are just too risky with injury and do not have the depth to compete yet.

Under at 37 wins.


Washington Wizards O/U 42.5 wins

Man, this team is hard to predict. I love John Wall. I think his knees are failing him though… Slowly. It is not on some epic Derrick Rose kinda deal, but it is happening. If he can somehow develop a catch and shoot game, it will help him immensely. Bradley Beal is going to take about 19 shots per game this year. It is good for his numbers, but it is an indictment on the team. They literally have nothing else. Gortat is good money but aging… Otto Porter has been another Georgetown bust… This team needs a mini blowup.

Under at 34 wins


Brooklyn Nets o/u 20.5 wins

Jeremy Lin is going to put up monster numbers this year. Brook Lopez should get his too and Rondae Hollis Jefferson has the makings of one of those glue guy/big time defensive player on a title team player… But this ain’t no title team. This team is doomed.
I am hoping they stick with Kenny Atkinson though. He has been deserving of a HC job for a long time.

Over at 21 wins


Philadelphia 76ers o/u 24.5

How are they going to win 25 games? I have been looking super foolish on Embiid for a bit now. I am still a believer… He is the truth. If he is over his injury life, he is going to kill and Philly is on to something once Ben gets back… But he will probably have his minutes reduced to start. One more year, Sixer fans.


Western Conference Preview


Joel Rodriguez, for War Room Sports