How will your NBA team fare in 2015-16? Get your over/under win totals

It's a safe bet that Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors will light a few nets on fire from 3-point range.

Thomas B. Shea

It’s finally happened. The day is finally here. NBA over/under win total lines for the 2015-16 season are out from the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, and that means one thing: you’re only six-and-a-half months away from either winning or losing a bet that you’ll forget about midway through the season before frantically checking the standings down the stretch.

So, without further ado, here’s your NBA over/under preview — with one man’s opinion on the state of the initial lines — as we enter the 2015 preseason. The teams are listed within their conferences in ascending order of the Westgate’s projected wins:

Western Conference

Minnesota Timberwolves: 25.5 wins (over)

Last season’s record: 16-66

The Wolves are loaded with young talent this summer. They won’t be great, but they should be able to be more competitive in the West.

Portland Trail Blazers: 26.5 wins (under)

Last season’s record: 51-31

The Blazers lost LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews, Arron Afflalo and Robin Lopez. They’re well-coached, well-managed and actually had a strong offseason in recovering for the future, but they might be the worst team in the West this season.

Denver Nuggets: 26.5 wins (over)

Last season’s record: 30-52

If the Blazers aren’t the worst team in the West, it’s possible the Nuggets could be that team. But they have enough talent to sustain a win total in the high 20s.

Los Angeles Lakers: 29.5 wins (over)

Last season’s record: 21-61

Take the over here, but just barely. The Lakers line is always interesting, because the L.A. fans see it, think “Oh my gosh! My Lakers will be so much better than that!” and ferociously start to hit the over. If you wait it out, it’s immensely possible this line goes up to 31 or 32, as it did last season, and then you can grab that under with a little more leeway. 

Sacramento Kings: 30.5 wins (over)

Last season’s record: 29-53

This line seems like it’s more reflective of the Sacramento chaos than the Sacramento talent. The Kings won’t contend for a playoff spot this season, but an improving DeMarcus Cousins along with some of their other offseason additions should add a core competitive enough to be "slightly irrelevant" as opposed to "a complete afterthought."

Phoenix Suns: 36.5 wins (under)

Last season’s record: 39-43

If the Suns get off to a bad start, don’t put giving up on the season past general manager Ryan McDonough. This team already lost talent in the offseason, and if it’s slow out of the gate, the perennially unhappy Markieff Morris could find himself leaving town for future pieces, as well. Blowing it all up wouldn’t be out of the question.

Dallas Mavericks: 38.5 wins (under)

Last season’s record: 50-32

The Mavs brought in talent, but it was shoddy at best. Can Wesley Matthews recover from a torn Achilles and manage to stay healthy? Can Deron Williams remain on the court? Can Dirk Nowitzki continue his offensive dominance into his late 30s? In the East, I might take the over here, but in the West, that’s a slight under. 

Utah Jazz: 40.5 wins (over)

Last season’s record: 38-44

We’re all going to be rich. This team was best in the NBA in points allowed per possession after trading Enes Kanter, and it actually wasn’t close. Utah was one of the best teams in the West during last season’s second half. That could easily continue into next season.

New Orleans Pelicans: 47.5 wins (under)

Last season’s record: 45-37

The Pelicans will certainly be better under Alvin Gentry. At the very least, their offense should be far more attractive, but it’s tough to crest 48 wins in the West with a team whose pieces still don’t quite fit. And Jrue Holliday beginning the season hurt doesn’t help New Orleans’ case.

Memphis Grizzlies: 50.5 wins (over)

Last season’s record: 55-27

The healthy Grizzlies consistently put up a mid-50s win total. They pulled in 55 last season. They won at a 56-win pace with Marc Gasol, who missed 23 games during 2013-14, in the lineup two years ago. Fifth-six three years ago. Why should 2015-16 be any different?

Houston Rockets: 54.5 wins (over)

Last season’s record: 56-26

The Rockets won 56 games a season ago with an injured Dwight Howard. Now, with their second-best player healthy and with Ty Lawson coming in to town, this could be one of the scariest teams in the West, even if James Harden isn’t quite as dominant as he was during his historic performance a season ago.

Los Angeles Clippers: 56.5 wins (over)

Last season’s record: 56-26

The Clips nearly topped 56.5 last season with a five-man team. Just imagine how good a squad that added Paul Pierce, Lance Stephenson, Pablo Prigioni, Josh Smith, Cole Aldrich and Wes Johnson could be if everything goes right. 

Oklahoma City Thunder: 57.5 wins (under)

Last season’s record: 45-37

The Thunder could have the most talented starting five in the NBA, but their bench is still particularly thin, which is a dangerous trait for a team that employs three starters who missed significant time with injuries last season.

San Antonio Spurs: 58.5 wins (under)

Last season’s record: 55-27

The Spurs have the ability to dominate, but given Gregg Popovich’s resting patterns and Tony Parker’s disconcerting EuroBasket performance over the summer, the Spurs saving themselves for the postseason and taking a lower-than-expected playoff seed might be in the cards for the upcoming season.

Golden State Warriors: 60.5 wins (under)

Last season’s record: 67-15

Winning more than 60 games is pretty tough. Sure, Golden State got to 67 last season, but it also had one of the healthiest campaigns of any organization in the league. Following a championship, teams often cruise through the regular season, if only because their priorities realign. The Warriors are still the favorites to win it all. We just shouldn’t expect them to roll over the league like one of the best teams ever did a season ago.

Eastern Conference

Philadelphia 76ers: 21.5 wins (under)

Last season’s record: 18-64

General manager Sam Hinkie wants that first overall pick, and he’s going to take it from you if you won’t give it to him. Somehow, even after all the tanking talk, the Sixers didn’t finish with the worst record in the NBA last season. They didn’t own the fewest wins two seasons ago, either. Don’t put it past Hinkie to unload a Robert Covington or anyone else midseason, either, similarly to how he did with Michael Carter-Williams or K.J. McDaniels.

Brooklyn Nets: 28.5 wins (over)

Last season’s record: 38-44

Are the Nets really this bad? Actually, don’t answer that. Brooklyn might have the worst point-guard roster in the NBA, but if Brook Lopez can stay healthy, it has a relatively formidable frontcourt. Of course, “if Brook Lopez can stay healthy” is far from the most reliable conditional phrase.

New York Knicks: 31.5 wins (over)

Last season’s record: 17-65

The Knicks may not have convinced a star to join whatever the heck is going on in Madison Square Garden, but that doesn’t mean they failed to get better over the offseason. Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo and even Kyle O’Quinn can make bigger impacts than people realize on both sides of the floor. If Carmelo Anthony can return to the scorer he was before his February knee surgery, the Knicks have an outside chance to push for a No. 8 seed in the weak East.

Orlando Magic: 32.5 wins (over)

Last season’s record: 25-57

Speaking of pushing for a No. 8, the Magic might be this season’s surprise team out East. Orlando has loads of defensive personnel — Elfrid Payton, Aaron Gordon, Victor Oladipo — and just brought in a coach, Scott Skiles, who has shown time and time again that he can lead top stoppers. Orlando may have a backwards roster, with some bigs who can shoot and few wings or guards or who knock down jumpers. But the East is so anemic down low, why couldn’t they make a run if they become one of the better defensive squads in the league?

Charlotte Hornets: 32.5 wins (under)

Last season’s record: 33-49

What a fall for Charlotte. Everyone and their mother was excited for the Hornets heading into last season. The former Bobcats were coming off a playoff appearance and a top-six defense. They had just acquired Lance Stephenson. Things were good. But now, Lance is gone, Nicolas Batum is in, and the Hornets might have some of the worst spacing in the NBA if Batum, who was nursing a wrist injury last season, struggles from three like he did in 2014-15.  

Detroit Pistons: 33.5 wins (over)

Last season’s record: 32-50

Stan Van Gundy is sneakily trying to build a roster similar to his ones with the Magic. He went out this summer and got himself a bunch of bigs who could shoot, including Marcus Morris and Ersan Ilyasova. He has physical centers in Andre Drummond and Aron Baynes. He has point guards who can run pick-and-roll and in Jody Meeks, Reggie Bullock, Steve Blake and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, he has guys who can space from the outside. Watch out for the Pistons.

Indiana Pacers: 42.5 wins (under)

Last season’s record: 38-44

Talk about a sharp identity change. In the midst of the pace-and-space era, the Pacers were always the Eastern Conference team that held strong, playing that old-school style with physical bigs and defending wings. But over the past two seasons, they’ve lost Roy Hibbert, David West and Lance Stephenson. Instead, they’re going small, claiming that Paul George will play the 4 — even if it does stand to reason that Solomon Hill would more likely be that guy. It’ll be an adjustment, and that could cost them a .500 season in the process.

Boston Celtics:  42.5 wins (under)

Last season’s record: 40-42

Brad Stevens might be the best X’s and O’s coach in the NBA, but we do realize the Celtics played over their heads a season ago, right? Amir Johnson was a quality offseason add. So was David Lee. But Boston is still seriously lacking a rim-protector to execute its aggressive defensive style properly. Like many other teams in the East, the Celts can contend for a playoff spot again. But they’re hardly guaranteed a .500 season.

Milwaukee Bucks: 43.5 wins (under)

Last season’s record: 41-41

The Bucks had a wonderful surprise season last year, but they were just 11-18 after trading Brandon Knight for Michael Carter-Williams. We talk about Charlotte’s lack of spacing … well, Milwaukee is going to have similar issues, and trading Ersan Ilyasova didn’t help. Yes, Jason Kidd & Co. brought Greg Monroe into town, and the former Piston is a quality rebounder and post scorer, but he won’t help with the spacing struggles and may not fit perfectly into the team’s switchy defense. It’ll be interesting to see how everyone integrates after a few roster-changing moves.

Washington Wizards: 45.5 wins (under)

Last season’s record: 46-36

The Randy Wittman Wizards always seem to be about the same. Washington had a nice offseason once it lost Paul Pierce, replacing him with a similarly versatile Jared Dudley and finding a backup point guard in Gary Neal in the process. But if the Wizards play how they did during the regular season and not postseason for another full year, none of that will matter. The Wiz could go in either direction here, but I’ll take the under, just barely, and put them at 45 victories.

Toronto Raptors: 45.5 wins (over)

Last season’s record: 49-33

Just about everything went wrong for Toronto in last season’s second half, and the team still managed to win 49 games. Kyle Lowry is noticeably leaner as he enters training camp, and seems poised to recover from his disastrous second half, during which he shot 37 percent. 

Miami Heat: 45.5 wins (over)

Last season’s record: 37-45

The Heat dealt with injuries to Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Josh McRoberts a season ago. Wade is the only one of those who you’d realistically expect to sit a bunch of games this season. They brought in Amar’e Stoudemire and Gerald Green. They’ll have Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic for the whole season with training camps to help them mesh. Miami may not just crush this over, it could also contend for a conference finals appearance.

Chicago Bulls: 49.5 wins (over)

Last season’s record: 50-32

Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah didn’t work as a pairing. Tom Thibodeau feuded with management. Jimmy Butler fell off a bit throughout the season. Derrick Rose wasn’t nearly as dominant as he had been in the past. Taj Gibson fell off from his Sixth Man of the Year-caliber ways. And yet, the 2014-15 Bulls still won 50 games. If new coach Fred Hoiberg can get one of the most talented rosters in the league to click, 49.5 victories could be far in the rearview mirror come mid-April.

Atlanta Hawks: 49.5 wins (under)

Last season’s record: 60-22

DeMarre Carroll isn’t worth this many wins, but maybe the Hawks weren’t quite as great last season as their record showed. There are three types of coaches out there: System coaches, in-game coaches and the rare breed of ones who can do both. Reigning coach of the year Mike Budenholzer is a system coach, and as opponents started to figure out the Hawks, the team didn’t always promptly adjust. Finishing the season 7-7 and then sleepwalking through the playoffs wasn’t encouraging for the upcoming campaign, especially once you consider how difficult it will be to replicate the clean bill of health almost the whole roster received in 2014-15.

Cleveland Cavaliers: 56.5 wins (under)

Last season’s record: 53-29

The Cavaliers are clearly the favorites in the East, but they’re also dealing with early-season injuries to Iman Shumpert and Kyrie Irving. We, somehow, still don’t know Tristan Thompson’s status, and if he misses a significant amount of training camp or preseason, he could be bound for a slow start to the season. Meanwhile, Kevin Love has had some sort of injury during three of the past five seasons. And we haven’t even gotten to LeBron James’ soon-to-be-annual, midseason vacation, yet. Come April, no one wants to play Cleveland. But for a long-term bet, it might be prudent to predict a little bit less than dominance.

You can follow Fred Katz on Twitter and tell him just how wrong he is about your favorite team.


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