NBA over-under predictions for 2015-16

Can the Atlanta Hawks repeat last year's regular season success?
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The following 10 teams are picks for the most likely to come in over or under their projected win totals (as defined by Vegas Insider). A few may surprise, and a few may seem obvious, but hopefully this list will help shed a little light on what to expect in the upcoming season. 

 

1. Atlanta (Projected: 46.5/Last season: 61/Prediction: Over)

This one is crazy. The second highest record in the league lost a key contributor, but gained an elite rim protector (Tiago Splitter), and will get to move Al Horford to his more natural power forward position. While they should be expected to slip a little, with Dennis Schroeder’s progress and the return of Thabo Sefolosha, the dropoff should not be anywhere near as drastic as 15 wins. 

2. Dallas (Projected: 41.5/Last season: 50/Prediction: Under)

Dallas is in a bit of a pickle. They lost out on DeAndre JordanDirk Nowitzki continues to age, and they placed big gambles (giant, really) on Wesley Matthews and Deron Williams. Many are not sold on their chances, even with Zaza Pachulia in the fold, due to these chance factors and a shallow bench. Also – they lose their 1st round pick if they don’t fall in the top half of the lottery…the incentive to tank is there, especially knowing they can hardly make the playoffs in such a loaded conference. 

3. Milwaukee (Projected: 44.5/Last season: 41/Prediction: Over)

The Bucks came away with one of the premier free agents of the season (Greg Monroe), resigned their breakout player (Khris Middleton), return the 2nd overall pick from last year (Jabari Parker) and expect further progress from two budding players (Giannis Antetokounmpo, and to a lesser extent, John Henson). Jason Kidd will be more comfortable his second year with the team, and there are high hopes in Milwaukee. Expect more than a 3-win increase. 

4. New Orleans (Projected: 45.4/Last season: 45/Prediction: Over)

A new head coach specifically tailored to unleash the Brow should be a good thing (at least for New Orleans – less so for the rest of the league). It would be shocking to see them slip, and understandable for them to tread water, but most likely the Pellies will see at least some improvement. 

5. Utah (Projected: 40.5/Last season: 38/Prediction: Over)

The loss of Dante Exum to a torn ACL is hard, but with Rudy Gobertin the lineup after the Enes Kanter trade, the Jazz were one of the best defensive teams in league history. Expect more of the same with a full season of Rudy Gobert as the starter. The loss of Dante Exum should not mean that this team hardly improves – expect it to improve greatly. 

6. Miami (Projected: 47.5/Last season: 37/Prediction: Over)

Last season was a bit of a disaster for Miami. Dwyane Wade was in and out of the lineup, Josh McRoberts hardly played, and Chris Boshmissed most of the season with lung clots. Breakout star Hassan Whiteside didn’t burst onto the scene until mid season and the team failed to make the postseason. An entire season with the Dragic-Wade-Deng-Bosh-Whiteside starting 5, coupled with steal of the draft Justise Winslow should result in a massive improvement, provided everyone stays healthy. 

7. L.A. Lakers (Projected: 31.5/Last season: 21/Prediction: Under)

Kobe Bryant back in the lineup will be important from a mentoring position, and maybe even from a competing one, but unlikely to move the needle much in actual wins. D’Angelo Russell is a rookie, and Julius Randle is the same as one, having missed last season with a broken leg. The only significant additions are Roy Hibbert and Lou Williams, but in an ultra competitive conference, there should be much doubt that this will add up to 10 more wins. 

8. L.A. Clippers (Projected: 55.5/Last season: 56/Prediction: Over)

Chris Paul will be that much hungrier, and with DeAndre Jordan back, another year of Griffin, and the acquisitions of Lance Stephenson,Josh Smith and Paul Pierce, this team should certainly outperform last season (even if that’s a tall order).  

9. Detroit (Projected: 34.5/Last season: 32/Prediction: Over)

Losing Greg Monroe was a choice made by the front office. The team should flow better, and improve significantly with a more open, typical Stan Van Gundy offense. Brandon Jennings returns from injury andStanley Johnson looks the part of day 1 contributor. A decent improvement is in the works. 

10. San Antonio (Projected: 62.5/Last season: 55/Prediction: Under)

The most difficult entry of the list. It is hard to stand against the Spurs but a 62.5 win prediction is setting them up to fail. Despite the much championed Aldridge and West additions, the Spurs lose Tiago Splitter (their only true center in Tim Duncan’s old age), get another year of wear and tear, and compete in the most loaded conference maybe ever. They will be very good, just not the best team in the NBA, and maybe not second either.

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