The 2019-2020 NBA season officially gets underway on Tuesday, October 22nd. It’s been another wild season of player movement, and one has to wonder if the bottom three in the Southwest Division can compete with the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs.
SB Nation provided a full preview of the coming season, and that included each of the experts at SB Nation’s team sites offering projections for the 2019-2020 season. We’ll be breaking down each division with their win total projections compared to the preseason odds.
Houston Rockets: 57-25 — The Dream Shake
Vegas odds have the Rockets’ over-under at 52.5, and I feel like you have to take the over. This is a better squad on paper than last year’s team. Heck, James Harden might be able to get this cast of players to the over by himself without Russell Westbrook next to him. After all, Chris Paul missed 24 games last year, and the Rockets still won 53 games. This year’s team is deeper overall, shoot better, are more athletic, and actually have a few wing defenders. Add Russ to that, and as long as the chemistry is right, this team should have one of the highest win totals in the league. Tough competition will mitigate that some, but look for another big year for the boys in red.
San Antonio Spurs: 50-32 — Pounding The Rock
Vegas has set the Spurs over-under at 46.5, which is actually a good deal higher than a number of publications’ predictions. And while the West is certainly stacked, San Antonio is in a good position to improve on last season’s 47 wins. The suspect defense (the biggest issue from last year) has been shored up, there are a number of young guns who are set to make age-based improvements, and as long as the offense doesn’t
New Orleans Pelicans: 43-39 — The Bird Writes
The oddsmakers have the Pelicans at 38.5 wins, but that feels a little low to me. It’s difficult to imagine New Orleans falling short of that win total simply due to a really deep and talented roster. Now, there’s a chance that the Pelicans tack on several more wins or so than my predicted 43-39 finish and squeak into the playoffs, but that would require the players meshing with each other and exhibiting knowledge of the system right out of the gates, Zion becoming an unstoppable force sooner rather than later and the three-point shooting rarely holding the team back.
Dallas Mavericks: 40-42 — Mavs Money Ball
The Vegas line has changed in the last few weeks but the over/under line now sits at 40.5. That’s a spooky number for a team that hasn’t won more than 33 games in the past three seasons, even with the heightened expectations. While I think Dallas will be a fun team and a better team, I’m going with the under. But not by much! I feel like the Mavericks will settle in with 40 wins, which might be a disappointment for some fans but would still be a very successful season when you consider the gauntlet the Western Conference is. The Mavericks likely won’t be a playoff team but they’ll definitely put the league on notice that they are on the rise.
Memphis Grizzlies: 28-54 — Grizzly Bear Blues
Vegas has the Memphis Grizzlies over/under at 26.5 games won, and that number is horrifyingly accurate. With so much youth, and concerns about just how much this inexperienced roster can succeed in a western conference where literally everyone wants to win now, it is easy to see Memphis winning only 20-25 games. On the flip side, with the skill of Jonas Valanciunas being allowed to be on full display, the elite talent of Morant and Jackson Jr. being able to get playing time free from playoff expectations, and a reserve unit that could surprise some folks with its versatility and facilitation prowess, 28-30 wins could also be possible. It is that fluid. If they improve the way they should over the course of the season, they’ll get slightly above 26.5 wins...but wins and losses don’t matter in Memphis this year. The development of the roster in pursuit of the victories is what will count.
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Odds and lines subject to change. See website for details.