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NBA Season Wins Projections

   by ASA - 10/25/2010

WASHINGTON WIZARDS - UNDER 33.5 WINS
The Wizards landed John Wall in the draft and have high hopes for the future with this young dynamic point guard. There aren't many players in the league that are quicker or faster than Wall in the open court and he should make plenty of highlights on ESPN but he's not going to lift this team to 34 or more wins this year. Last season the Wizards won 26 games on the season and 17 of those W's came with Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison and Brendon Haywood on the roster. Once those three were traded the Wiz won just 9 more games in the second half of the season. Gilbert Arenas is not the player he once was since knee injuries as he's played just 47 games in the previous three full seasons. Known as a scorer/shooter Arenas has not shot over 42% since the 2005-06 season. Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee are loaded with talent but reports we've gotten say both are immature and head cases. That certainly isn't a good thing considering Arenas will be a cancer this year when Wall gets all the attention. Statistically the Wizards were in the bottom half of the league in nearly every major category and playing in the Southeast Division it's going to be tough. With 16 total games alone against Atlanta (53 wins last year), Charlotte (44), Orlando Magic (59) and the Miami Heat who are going to win 60+ this year we can't see Washington winning more than 30 games this season.
MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES - UNDER 23.5 WINS
This looks to me to be the strongest win total bet on the board right now as we cannot see the Timberwolves going from winning 15 games last year to winning more than 23 this year. Minnesota traded away their best player in Al Jefferson who has been a 20/10 guy (20+ points/10+ rebounds) in two of his last three seasons. In fact, if you want to know how tough it is to average 20/10 in a season? Only Dwight Howard has averaged 20/10 in the past three years and only two players (Chris Bosh and Zach Randolph) other than Jefferson have done it two of the past three years. So the loss of Jefferson will be bigger than anticipated as Michael Beasley won't put up those type of statistics. This T'Wolves lineup is easily the worst in the NBA as they only have three players on the roster that rank in the top third of the league in player efficiency and two the three were role players a season ago. Minnesota was the 28th ranked team in defensive efficiency last year and 29th in offensive efficiency and they didn't improve their lineup in the offseason. It's not like the T'Wolves played close games last year either as they had the largest loss margin per game on the season with a negative 9.6 ppg. Minnesota plays in the Northwest Division (3-13 SU last year w/in the Northwest) with the Nuggets, Thunder, Blazers and Jazz so wins are going to be tough to come by.
NEW JERSEY NETS - OVER 24.5 WINS
This is my second favorite O/U win total bet as I feel the Nets will make drastic improvements over last year's results. The Nets dug themselves a HUGE hole last season when they started the season off with 18 straight losses and were never able to recover. Conversely they closed the season, and built some momentum, by winning 5 of twelve games to end the season. More than doubling their win total from a year ago should come rather easy when you factor in the 16 games they'll play in the Atlantic Division. Only the Celtics had a winning record last year and Toronto, New York and Philadelphia all were 19th or worse in the NBA in win's in 2009-10. The Nets could get off to a good start as they have a minimum of eight very winnable games in October and November. New Jersey added Troy Murphy who has averaged over 14 ppg and 10 rebounds the last two years in Indiana, Travis Outlaw from Portland, Anthony Morrow a 3-point specialist (45% plus the last 2 years) from Golden State and Jordan Farmer from the Lakers. The offense will center around guard Devin Harris and Brook Lopez. Harris has averaged over 15 ppg and 6 assists the last three years in the NBA while Lopez is coming of a 18.8 ppg and 8.6 rpg season. Another positive for the Nets was the hiring of Avery Johnson as their new coach. There's a reason the oddsmakers set the Nets win total more than double the number of games they actually won a season ago. Play the OVER.
Other contenders:
Detroit Pistons Under 32 Wins - I'm predicting the Pistons will be 'that team' that dismantles their team at the All-Star break in an effort to build for the future. Tayshaun Prince, Richard Hamilton, Tracy McGrady and Ben Wallace are all 30+ years of age but could still be key role players for a contender. Last year the Pistons won just 29 games and they didn't get any better in the offseason. Other teams in the Central did though as the Bucks, Pacers and Bulls made some moves and will be better. Both Milwaukee and Chicago are solid playoff contenders.
LA Clippers Over 36.5 Wins - If Blake Griffin stays healthy he can alone be the difference in 10-15 wins for the Clippers. L.A. has a solid nucleus with Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman and Griffin and play in a weaker Pacific Division (Phoenix will be hurt by the loss of Stoudamire, Sacramento won just 25 games last season while Golden State won 26). The Clippers won 29 games last year without Griffin so getting to 37 shouldn't be a problem.
NBA FINALS PREDICTION
Who wins it all in 2010-11? The NBA Finals looks like a two team race as the Heat (8/5) and Lakers (7/2) are the odds on favorites to make the Finals. It’s easy to make a case for either team but I’m going with the Heat. At this point in time I don’t think we fully realize how good the Heat are going to be this
season and the match-up problems they’ll cause teams is just too hard to overlook. My dark horse predictions would be the Oklahoma City Thunder at 15-1 and the Portland Trailblazers at 30-1.
The Thunder played the Lakers extremely well in the playoffs last year and have two Super Star players in Durant and Westbrook. Portland is as deep as a team can be and if the ‘bigs’ can stay healthy they are well coached, disciplined and could make a run.

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