It's that time of year again, where we all stake our non-existent internet credibility on predicting the results of a NBA season that will ultimately hinge on a great deal of contingency and luck, and I copy/paste last year's post with updated numbers. But without further ado, let's take a brief glimpse back at last year's results, where we had a surprising amount of perfect scores, owing to the Wolves outperforming their projection for the first time in what feels like forever, and a tie at the top.
Last Year's Winners
1. mr. eggplant - $100, 4 correct picks (out of 4). That's me! I was appropriately bearish on the Bucks (under 45.5) and Lakers (under 28.5), while appropriately optimistic about the Celtics (over 44.5) and the Trailblazers (over 27.5).
1. jjjam - $100, 4 correct picks (out of 4). Charlotte (over 33.5), Orlando (over 33.5), Utah (under 42.5), Phoenix (under 36.5).
3. Dan Antonio - $100, 3 correct picks (out of 3). Dan correctly called Detroit (over 36.5), Charlotte (over 33.5), Lakers (under 28.5).
Shouts out to Ira ftw and StewartRL, who each called 2/2, and users Timber Dome, Rodman99, VirginiaWolf, Flipao, TheH, elavator music, LastFirstism, twolf811, The_Viking, and FreeDieng all got their only pick correct.
Here are the rules, to be modified by popular acclaim and/or act of God. Winner(s) will gain bragging rights and an unshakable feeling of superiority. I'll do my best to remember to post the results at the end of the year.
1. You have $100 (fictional). You may bet this money on any team(s) you choose.
2. Whoever "wins" the most (fictional) money based on said bets is the winner.
3. In the event of a tie, victory to be granted to the person with the most correct bets.
4. Separately, list your picks for all 30 teams. Whoever gets the most correct also wins bragging rights of some sort.
Here are the most recent over/under totals I was able to find.
Golden State 66.5
Los Angeles Lakers 24.5
Los Angeles Clippers 53.5
New Orleans 37
New York 38.5
Oklahoma City 43.5
San Antonio 58.5
I feel less confident about my predictions than I have in a few years, but here goes. In contrast to previous years, I am exclusively betting on overs, which is usually not the smartest strategy. There are a couple unders which looked tempting (Phoenix under 30, San Antonio under 58.5), but I'm not quite confident enough to make those picks.
$40 Houston over 44. They won 56 games two years ago, so I'm betting on regression to the mean. Their defense will be bad, but they still have James Harden, plenty of offensive firepower, and Mike D'Antoni's system, which should be good for lots of regular season wins. The Beverley injury is damaging, but the West also seems weaker than it has been in a few years, which should help them. I still expect them to flame out in the first round of the playoffs, but 45 wins seems very reachable for what should be a top 3 offense.
$30 Miami over 34.5. This one could look very stupid in a few weeks. Relying on a team that could be starting Derrick Williams and Dion Waiters to do anything seems like madness, and they are thinner than a devotee of the grapefruit diet. And yet, their team makes more sense than it has in years past. Everything should be structured around the Dragic/Whiteside pick and roll, which should be devastating, especially with enough shooting around it. They have three young, athletic wings any team would love to have in Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, and Tyler Johnson. Any team that has athleticism, rim protection, a skilled point guard, and good coaching should be competitive every night, which should be enough to push them over this line.
$30 Brooklyn over 20.5. The Nets won 21 games last year despite giving most of their point guard minutes to Shane Larkin and Donald Sloan. Jeremy Lin is a clear upgrade, a full year of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will really help, Brook Lopez is still a good player, Trevor Booker shouldn't be much of a downgrade from Thad Young, and Greivis Vasquez is a sneaky candidate for a bounce-back year. This team is very thin and won't be good; I just think they have a good chance at beating this very low figure.
What do you think? Who will overachieve or underachieve this year?