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2020-2021 NBA Win Totals: Western Conference Preview

December 15, 2020by Lobo Grande0
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2020-2021 NBA Win Totals: Western Conference Preview

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NBA Western Conference Win Totals 2020-2021: Luka Dončić - Dallas Mavericks

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Northwest Division

Denver Nuggets

2019-2020 Record: 46-27
Additions: Facundo Campazzo, JaMychal Green, Zeke Nnaji, R.J. Hampton, Isaiah Hartenstein
Subtractions: Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee, Torrey Craig
Total Wins: 43.5

The Nugs are now a fixture atop the NBA Western Conference regular-season standings but have yet to close out the big one. They are a talented young team who saw the emergence of Jamal Murray in The Bubble, and glimpses of stardom from their young buck Michael Porter Jr. Thankfully, the focus of this article isn’t playoff predictions.

They’ve taken some lumps these past few weeks for their mediocre offseason that consisted of letting Jerami Grant walk away and not exactly signing his replacement. Grant is a nice player, but I don’t think he is making or breaking this win total. The Nuggets have stayed towards the top of the West because of their star power with Jokić and Murray, but also because of their depth. Yes, no doubt it is a loss, but if a guy like MPJ can really take the leap, I think they’ll be just fine.

They made a sneaky nice pick in the draft with R.J. Hampton, once a hyped-up top-5 pick, who now has overseas experience and could potentially be plugged right into an NBA offense. The regular season MVPs hit the over here.

Bet: OVER 43.5, 2 Stacks

Oklahoma City Thunder

2019-2020 Record: 44-28
Additions: Al Horford, George Hill, Ty Jerome, Trevor Ariza, Kenrich Williams, Frank Jackson, Darius Miller, T.J. Leaf, Aleksej Pokuševski, Théo Maledon
Subtractions: Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari, Steven Adams, Dennis Schröder, Nerlens Noel, Terrance Ferguson, Abdel Nader
Total Wins: 26

Where do we even start with this team? I mean, just look at all those offseason transactions!

Sam Presti has been consistently praised over the past few years for piling up draft picks and other assets to build a future winner in OKC, and rightfully so. The Thunder are in a prime position to be a contender in the future, but this isn’t 2023.

We are living in the now, and the reality is that this team lost basically their entire starting lineup. Sure, they added a few pieces in Horford and George Hill, but they aren’t replacing CP3, Danilo, Adams, and Schröder. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw SGA sneak onto the All-Star team this year because he is basically sharing the floor with a high school JV team – who else is going to put up stats?

I don’t think this team is shocking the world again this season.

Bet: UNDER 26, 3 Stacks

Utah Jazz

2019-2020 Record: 44-28
Additions: Derrick Favors, Udoka Azubuike
Subtractions: Tony Bradley, Ed Davis
Total Wins: 43

Ah, the Utah Jazz. The latest and greatest “blew a 3-1 lead” punchline. It feels like just yesterday that they blew that lead to a surging Jamal Murray and the Nuggets, and that’s basically because it was. Damn, 2020 is weird.

You can pretty much plug this team into the 5 or 6 seed in the West, which is where they have been each of the past 4 seasons. Like their divisional friends in Denver, they are always around but aren’t quite good enough to really be a threat to the big dogs.

Not much changed with this roster in the offseason, and I don’t see a ton changing with their win total either. The big differentiator for them is of course Donovan Mitchell. “Spida” is one of the most exciting young players in the game and has shown signs of true greatness. Is this the year he really takes that jump and makes this team a true contender?

In reality, I think this win total comes down to a few fluky games at the end of the regular season, and it’s tough to have a serious lean one way or the other. I will lean slightly under but for a very small wager.

Bet: UNDER 43, 1 Stack

Portland Trail Blazers

2019-2020 Record: 35-39
Additions: Robert Covington, Derrick Jones Jr., Enes Kanter, Harry Giles III
Subtractions: Trevor Ariza, Hassan Whiteside, Mario Hezonja
Total Wins: 40.5

Portland has been deemed somewhat of a darling of the 2020 offseason by NBA Twitter and NBA analysts all over the Internet streets. “They traded two first-round picks for Covington – this team is really going for it this year!”

Sorry, I ain’t buying it. Do you set yourself up in a position to eat crow anytime you are betting against a player like Damian Lillard? Of course, but I’m willing to take that risk.

I just don’t see these offseason pickups being enough to push them over the hump. I get it – you see 40.5 as the number and think to yourself, “how is that number so low? This is an easy W.” It does sound easy, right?

Well, this team plays in a little conference called the West, where even the bottom-feeders will give you trouble on a random Tuesday night. I just don’t trust this team to win games if Dame goes cold or if something happens to him.

Bet: UNDER 40.5, 3.5 Stacks

Minnesota Timberwolves

2019-2020 Record: 19-45
Additions: Anthony Edwards, Ricky Rubio
Subtractions: James Johnson
Total Wins: 30

It’s hard for me to look at a roster like Minnesota’s and realistically think they will get over the 30-win mark.

Listen, I am a huge Ricky Rubio fan. I think he’s one of the more underrated guys in the NBA and I think he will absolutely make this team better as a true point guard. Sadly, I just don’t think it puts them over the hump.

The core star power of KAT and D-Lo is solid, but it just isn’t enough to compete out West. Rubio is a great third piece but beyond that, I don’t love much about this team. If it weren’t for Malik Beasley, this team would have a very hard time making headlines.

Anthony Edwards is a talented kid no doubt, but it was a huge red flag for me when he downplayed his passion for basketball before the draft. A true star devotes his time and energy to the game, and statements like that make me think there could be bust potential here. Even if you don’t love hoops, why say that? Just questionable decision-making.

Bet: UNDER 30, 3 Stacks

Pacific Division

Los Angeles Lakers

2019-2020 Record: 52-19
Additions: Montrezl Harrell, Wesley Matthews, Dennis Schröder, Marc Gasol
Subtractions: Danny Green, Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee, Avery Bradley, Dwight Howard
Total Wins: 48

At first glance, 48 wins looks like a really difficult number to achieve in a shortened, 72-game season. Then I look at what the Lakers did last season, and what they did in the offseason, and it’s hard not to be excited about this number.

On paper, this team gets to 49 wins easily. The only things possibly stopping them are injuries or the dreaded load management. But when dealing with a team this good, I’m not sure load management makes too much of a difference.

Sure, LeBron may sit out his fair share of games to get some extra rest, especially towards the end of the season. But the LakeShow have a bunch of guys that they can plug and play to at least mitigate the damage.

A lot of people are not sold on the Harrell signing because he isn’t someone that you can trust to play crunch time minutes in a playoff game. That may be true, but it doesn’t affect what we are talking about here today. And they lost Rondo. Sure, but they picked up Schroeder, who is arguably more capable and provides a nice, smart PG to get the ball into the hands of the stars. The reality is that this team got better in just about every aspect and is poised to make another title run. I’ll be pounding the over here.

Bet: OVER 48, 5 Stacks

Los Angeles Clippers

2019-2020 Record: 49-23
Additions: Serge Ibaka, Luke Kennard
Subtractions: Montrezl Harrell, JaMychal Green, Landry Shamet, Rodney McGruder
Total Wins: 47

Now, over to little brother. I want to like this over, I really do, but it’s hard for me.

I may be in the minority, but I believe that Serge Ibaka is actually an upgrade over Montrezl Harrell. He brings playoff experience and is a nice compliment to his old friend Kawhi. However, I’m not confident it’s enough.

The regular season in the NBA is a grind – even when shortened to 72 games. We’ve seen so many times in the past few years how superstars are given nights off to rest up and stay healthy for the playoffs. Unlike their buddies across the way, this really hurts the Clips. Ibaka is a great pickup and should come up big when this team really needs him in the playoffs. As far as the regular season is concerned, I’m not sure how much he affects this win total.

There are reports swirling that Lou Williams may be on the outs and that there is some trouble in paradise within this locker room. Add in the fact that Paul George looked like a shell of himself most of the time in The Bubble, and I’m fading the Clips this season.

Bet: UNDER 47, 2 Stacks

Phoenix Suns

2019-2020 Record: 34-39
Additions: Chris Paul, Jae Crowder, Langston Galloway, E'Twaun Moore, Abdel Nader, Jalen Smith
Subtractions: Ricky Rubio, Kelly Oubre Jr., Ty Jerome, Jalen Lecque, Aron Baynes
Total Wins: 38

Phoenix is another team that has NBA Twitter going GAGA. And I’m right there going crazy with ‘em.

The Suns showed out in The Bubble, going undefeated and just missing out on the playoffs. They rode that momentum into a blockbuster move by luring Chris Paul to Phoenix. Yes, they lost my boy Rubio, but CP3 is a clear upgrade and changes the whole dynamic of this team. Beyond just Paul, I like the signings they made with Crowder and Galloway (on the cheap).

Lob city is on its way to Arizona with Paul throwing up lobs to Deandre Ayton, who will benefit the most from this acquisition. Devin Booker will also reap the rewards of CP3 by getting open looks and not having a target on just his back. This will be one of the more fun League Pass teams this season and I’m looking forward to rooting on some Ws.

Bet: OVER 38, 3.5 Stacks

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Sacramento Kings

2019-2020 Record: 31-41
Additions: Tyrese Haliburton, Hassan Whiteside
Subtractions: Bogdan Bogdanović, Kent Bazemore, Harry Giles III, Alex Len
Total Wins: 29

Bogdan Bogdanović (just an incredible name) became one of the most talked-about players this offseason, and not because of what he is going to do in a Kings uniform. Sacramento lost Bogdan to free agency and was left without having anyone to fill the void.

On the flip side, they did get very lucky that Tyrese Haliburton fell to them at number 12 in the draft. I think he is an NBA-ready player who can come in and log some serious minutes for them. I will be watching this team out of interest in him and De’Aaron Fox, but otherwise, there isn’t a ton to watch for here.

Add in the fact that Buddy Hield is halfway out the door and who is the number-two option on this team? Marvin Bagley hasn’t proven that he can be that guy, and I think 29 wins is a long shot for this team.

Bet: UNDER 29, 4 Stacks

Golden State Warriors

2019-2020 Record: 15-50
Additions: Kelly Oubre Jr., Kent Bazemore, Brad Wanamaker, James Wiseman, Nico Mannion
Subtractions: Ky Bowman
Total Wins: 39

KLAY NOOOOO!!! I was so excited to have the Splash Brothers back in action and to see the Warriors come back to complete relevance this season. I hope Klay gets better soon and we can see him back at full strength draining three after three.

Turning the focus back to this season, I think the Warriors can be successful and be back in the swing of things, as long as the studs stay healthy. Obviously, this team rides or dies with Steph Curry. If he’s back at 100%, he is more than capable of carrying this team and bringing back the Warriors of old.

They made some nice moves to get him some help by adding Kelly Oubre Jr. and Kent Bazemore and drafting James Wiseman. Oubre could absolutely be a case of a great talent stuck in a not-so-great situation, and I’m excited to see what he can do playing with a player like Steph.

Wiseman was one of the highest-rated prospects heading into Memphis and although we didn’t get to see as much of him as we wanted to, I think he gets put into a great situation in Golden State with a coach like Steve Kerr and number 30 running the offense. It’s hard to bet big here with the injury questions, but I’m not going against the Warriors.

Bet: OVER 39, 1.5 Stacks

Southwest Division

Houston Rockets

2019-2020 Record: 44-28
Additions: Christian Wood, DeMarcus Cousins, Sterling Brown, John Wall
Subtractions: Robert Covington, Jeff Green, Austin Rivers, Russell Westbrook
Total Wins: 34.5

The Rockets stole headlines recently by trading Russell Westbrook to the Wizards for John Wall. It was obvious that things just weren’t working with him in Houston.

Look, no one is going to argue with you that Wall is an excellent talent, but the dude just hasn’t been able to stay healthy. He says he’s back at 100% and ready for battle this season, and I hope that is true, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

The big beard – I mean elephant – in the room is that James Harden is unhappy and wants to play somewhere else, that somewhere else being Brooklyn or more recently, Philly. It’s unclear whether the new Rockets management will give in to his request for a trade, and they have resisted it up to this point. But obviously, if they end up caving, that flips this whole Houston season on its head.

Aside from the superstars, I liked the pickups of Christian Wood and Boogie. Add in what could possibly be a healthy John Wall and assume that Harden is playing, and I’d take the over here.

Bet: OVER 34.5, 2.5 Stacks

Dallas Mavericks

2019-2020 Record: 43-32
Additions: Josh Richardson, James Johnson, Wes Iwundu, Josh Green, Tyrell Terry, Tyler Bey
Subtractions: Seth Curry, Delon Wright, Justin Jackson
Total Wins: 41.5

If you’ve read my stuff before, you know I am the leader of the Luka fanboys. I am all-in on Luka, and he can do no wrong in my book. So I think you could probably guess where I’m going with this pick.

Yes, Kristaps is hurt, again, but I’m not sure that slows the Mavs down too much. They went 11-7 without him in the lineup last season. It’s the Luka show, and I think this is the year he inserts himself into the MVP picture as a realistic candidate.

Do I love the supporting cast? No, I don’t, but they seem to compliment him well enough to win games. They didn’t make the sexiest additions this offseason with guys like Josh Richardson and James Johnson, but Richardson is a guy who can come in and make an immediate impact and make this team better than it was before.

The number is a little bit steep here for the Mavs, and I may have my fanboy glasses blinding me I will admit but give me the over on Luka.

Bet: OVER 41.5, 1.5 Stacks

Memphis Grizzlies

2019-2020 Record: 34-39
Additions: Mario Hezonja, Desmond Bane, Xavier Tillman Sr.
Subtractions: Josh Jackson
Total Wins: 30

Possibly second on my list of young stud crushes is Ja Morant. I absolutely loved him coming out of college, and he did not disappoint in his rookie campaign. He made an immediate impact by winning Rookie of the Year and instantly bringing Memphis back to relevancy.

I believe the Griz are one of the better up-and-coming teams in the NBA, but I worry about them this season.

Morant will undoubtedly take a leap in his second year, but he will be missing his main running mate, Jaren Jackson Jr., at least for a few weeks to start the season. Jackson, who I also really like, is coming off a meniscus tear and won’t be rushed back onto the court.

They did trade up in the draft to try and stop some of the damage, so we will see if those picks can come in and give this team some immediate help. Memphis has been very solid as of late with their draft picks, so that isn’t out of the question. Bane and Tillman could log some important minutes right away, but it will be tough to fill the shoes of Jackson and recently acquired Justice Winslow.

I like the potential of this team, but in the tough Western Conference, I can’t bet on them to make the leap just yet.

Bet: UNDER 30, 2 Stacks

San Antonio Spurs

2019-2020 Record: 32-39
Additions: Devin Vassell, Tre Jones
Subtractions: Bryn Forbes, Marco Belinelli
TOTAL WINS: 31

And now over to Darren Rovell for a weird tweet about what was going on in the world the last time the Spurs didn’t make the playoffs. Darren, take it away!

[embed]https://twitter.com/darrenrovell/status/1270089967767818245?lang=en[/embed]

It’s taken me a while, but I finally respect the Spurs for their greatness over the past two+ decades. It’s remarkable what they were able to accomplish over that span, but sadly for them, that is in the past now.

The only reason this isn’t my biggest lock on this list is because of the head coach. Otherwise, I just don’t see how the Spurs get to 32 wins this season. The roster is almost exactly the same as last season, just another year older.

Their best player is 35 years old and their second-best is now on the wrong side of 30 and doesn’t shoot threes. It’s hard to win in today’s NBA with that combination. And I think this is the season we see the Spurs out of the mix completely. We’ll see if Pop can work his magic and keep this team competitive, but I just don’t see it.

Bet: UNDER 31, 5 Stacks

New Orleans Pelicans

2019-2020 Record: 30-42
Additions: Eric Bledsoe, Steven Adams, Willy Hernangómez, Kira Lewis Jr.
Subtractions: Jrue Holiday, Derrick Favors, E'Twaun Moore, Jahlil Okafor, Frank Jackson, Darius Miller
Total Wins: 35.5

America’s newest NBA sweethearts were one of the most active teams this offseason. They moved starting guard Jrue Holiday in a blockbuster deal that returned Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams as part of a four-team deal.

They also locked up their guy Brandon Ingram to a 5-year max extension.

On paper, I’m not sure how much better this team got after losing Holiday and Derrick Favors and replacing them with Bledsoe and Adams.

What they do have going for them is a hopefully healthy King Zion. After missing a good chunk of his rookie season, he showed flashes of real greatness when he did take the floor. What will his year two look like? If he can stay healthy and take another step, the sky's the limit for this team.

It’s a young team whose core talent is all 23 or younger with Zion, Lonzo, and Ingram. It’s a lot to bet on, but I’m willing to take the gamble that the young talent can develop and lean on the veteran leadership of Adams and JJ Redick.

Bet: OVER 35.5, 3 Stacks

The Last Word

Season-long win totals are a fun bet to make because it gives you something to root for throughout the entire season. Even the random Sunday afternoon battle of two sub-.500 teams suddenly becomes interesting if the totals are getting close. Hope you guys will tail me through what should be a unique and fun NBA season.

Here are my Top 3 Bets in the West this season: Lakers OVER 48 wins, Kings UNDER 29 wins, and Spurs UNDER 31 wins.

Here are the 3 I don’t think I’ll be touching: Jazz 43 wins, Mavericks 41.5 wins, and Warriors 39 wins.

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