Here is my NBA 2015-2016 Season Preview with thoughts. I will predict every team if they will go Over or Under in wins that vegas has set for the team this season. * Means I have making playoffs.
Southeast Over/Under Eric’s Pick
*Washington Wizards 45.5 OVER
The Wizards won 46 games last season. I think Otto Porter will be the NBA most improved player in the league and will add a big punch at Small forward. If John Wall doesnt hurt his hand in Game 1 against the Hawks, the Wizards would have beaten the Hawks and been in the Eastern Conference Finals and been a threat to knock off the Cavs. John Wall and Bradley Beal are due to be healthy for most of the year.
*Miami Heat 45.5 Over
-Everything that could go wrong went wrong for the Heat last season. Lost Chris Bosh halfway through the season to a blood-cut. The Heat starting lineup this season of Wade, Dragic, Whiteside, Bosh, and Deng never played a minute together on the court last season. Dragic big upgrade over Chalmers/Cole at the point. Gerard Green is a nice addition of the bench who will pick up scoring slack in the backcourt for the 15-25 games Wade misses. Heat also have Josh McRoberts who was out all of last season. Unique team with perimeter shooting coming from the bigs like Bosh, McRoberts, etc. Could be biggest threat to LeBron and the Cavs.
*Atlanta Hawks 49.5 Under
-The Hawks won 60 games. I believe they were a fluke. Everyone clicked and everything bounced right for the Hawks. I think most of roster regresses to the mean plus they lost DeMare Carroll who was pivotal to perimeter defense. Division much better. League will adjust to them. Still playoff team.
Orlando Magic 33 Over
-Scott Skiles historically makes an impact and improves the team he coaches in his 1st season. This season we find out who actually good on the roster and who is not. The Players have no more excuses on roster. I still think roster flawed and have questions. Can Aaron Gordon help Nik Vucevic in front court? Will the Magic have enough perimeter shooting? I say the Magic win 36 games.
Charlotte Hornets 32.5 UNDER
Jeremy Lamb will be starting two guard……. That alone could be warrented of going under. Al Jefferson injury prone. Hornets lost Michael Kidd- Gillchrist for the year.
Atlantic Over/Under Eric’s Pick
*Boston Celtics 43 OVER
-Celtics finished regular season last season 20-10. Added David Lee and Amir Johnson in front court.May be deepest team in the East. Marcus Smart will have strong 2nd season after dealing with injuries in rookie year.
*Toronto Raptors 46 Under
-Lost Amir Johnson and Lou Williams. DeRozen is in a contract year. Frontcourt Defense questions. Team was a 500 team in the second half of the season.
New York Knicks 30 Over
-The Knicks added Robin Lopez inside which should help the defense, Carmelo Anthony is healthy and Carmelo will play well to the point where he makes himself as a marketable trade chip and possibly gets traded to the Bulls or the Heat at the Deadline. Here 2 possible trades that I could see the Heat or Bulls doing if they feel this gets them past the Cavaliers.
Possible Trades Knicks get Deng, McRoberts and Winslow ( Who is better then Porzingis) from the Heat for Carmelo Anthony or
Bulls trade Derrick Rose and Doug McDermott to Knicks for Carmelo Anthony
Brooklyn Nets 28 Under
Everyone on the roster will be rumored to be traded during the season. Problem the Nets have is the Celtics will get their pick for the next 3 seasons as part of the Garnett/Pierce trade a couple of seasons ago. Yikes!
Philadelphia 76ers 21.5 Under
Central Division Wins Eric’s Pick
*Cleveland Cavaliers 57 Over
I look for Cavs to take off in 2nd half of the season like last seasonwhen they went 34-9 to finish the season.
*Chicago Bulls 50 Under
-New Coach in Fred Hoiberg. Focus more on up tempo offense. Defense in decline not sure this roster fits up tempo. Derrick Rose shell of a player he once was which sets up for him to get traded to the Knicks. This is Jimmy Butler’s team not Rose anymore. Feels like a transition season unless they are able to trade for Carmelo.
*Milwaukee Bucks 44.5 Over
-Bucks won 41 games last season in making the playoffs. The Bucks added Greg Monroe and basically add Jabari Parker who missed most of season. I think Jason Kidd will get most out of Michael Carter Williams. I do not think they are a contender in the East like some do but I do think they are a playoff team.
Indiana Pacers 42 Under
-I am not convinced the Pacers small ball will work and neither is Paul George. That said if Paul George can return to MVP caliber then they go over. I think they are 40-42 win team. I do like Myles Turner but not sure he is ready for heavy load inside which leaves big questions inside.
Detroit Pistons 34.5 Over
After a disaster of a start to the season the Pistons played 500 ball for the last 50+ games. I go slightly over and will put my trust in Stan Van Gundy.
Here is Bill Simmons and Joe House thoughts on the Eastern Conference.
Pacific Over/Under Eric’s Picks
*Golden State Warriors 60.5 Over
No one even talking about the Warrior repeating. They still have the best point guard and shooter in the sport in Stephen Curry. I think Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes are only getting better. I think the Warriors play with chip on shoulder to get 62 wins.
*Los Angeles Clippers 56.5 Over
The Clippers have added Josh Smith, Lance Stephenson, Paul Pierce, and Cole Aldrich. They have a bench that they havent had. Doc Rivers will make it work. Paul Pierce will help from leadership role of having won a title. Which Lance Stephenson will the Clippers get? The Pacers version or Hornets? They are invested in Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan as the core Big 3. Is that good enough for a title? Not sure about that but I think they be in the mix.
*Phoenix Suns 36.5 Over
The Suns have been in the mix for the playoffs but missed the last couple of seasons. I like the Kentucky backcourt reunion of Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight. I like Tyson Chandler inside for defense. I like T.J Warren since I saw him in person at North Carolina State in the NCAA Tournament in Orlando. The wildcard is Markieff Morris and how he will be after the Suns traded his twin brother in the off-season.
Sacramento Kings 33 Under
Rajon Rondo is a shell of himself. Will George Karl actually play Rondo and rookie Willie Caulie-Stein on the court at the same time? Ben McLemore may be best shooter on team who still uncertain if he will live up to NBA Draft hype coming out of Kansas. That said they have the best center in the NBA in Boogie Cousins and George Karl may just be good enough coach to make this roster work. If the NBA had a Hard Knocks TV show version this would be the team to be on it.
Los Angeles Lakers 29 UNDER
Odd roster with Kobe Bryant who is a shell of himself but will take 20+ shots a game and take shots away from youngsters DeAngelo Russell and Julius Randle. What will Roy Hibbert bring to the Lakers? Does he have anything left. I agree with Charles Barkley. The Lakers are the 4th best team in California. 5th if you include the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks.
Southwest Division Over/Under Eric’s Pick
*San Antonio Spurs 58.5 Over
The Spurs added LaMarcus Aldridge and David West which will keep Tim Duncan fresh. The Spurs do not want to be in same boat as last season where lost at New Orleans at the end of the season cost them the number 2 seed in the West and drop them to 6 seed and a 1st round series lost to Clippers.
*Houston Rockets 54.5 OVER
Love the addition of Ty Lawson. The Rockets finally have a legit point guard to go with James Harden. Plus it gives them lineup flexibility and depth they didnt have last season. I even like Marcus Thornton who can score off the bench in limited minutes. Can Dwight Howard be healthy for a full season? Is Terrance Jones the solution at Power Forward? I say yes. If not then they have the roster to make a deal to address it.
*Memphis Grizzlies 50.5 Under
Memphis is the same while everyone at the top has gotten better. They are a playoff team but around 48-49 wins. Zach Randolph is in his 15th season!
*New Orleans Pelicans 48 Under
Anthony Davis will be the best player in the league by the end of the season. He will be a NBA MVP Candidate. But I do not like the roster around him and they already have injuries in the backcourt. Still playoff team but not ready to take the next step yet.
Dallas Mavericks 37.5 Under
The Mavericks let go of Tyson Chandler to get DeAndre Jordan who they had for one day only to not get him when Jordan changed his mind and went back to Los Angeles. Wes Matthews and Chandler Parsons are coming off of major surgeries. Deron Williams is a name only at this point, as are his old backups. The Mavs also lost Monta Ellis who was the best scorer on the team. Major Rebuild ahead.
Northwest Division Over/Under Eric’s Pick
*Oklahoma City Thunder 57.5 Over
Billy Donovan is a question of how he will do in the NBA and relate to NBA players. But even still he wont be a downgrade from Scott Brooks and may be an upgrade. This roster loaded. Kevin Durant in a contract year. Plus they play in weakest division in the league. The Thunder are in for a critical year and remind of me of the Shaq and Penny Magic teams who looked destined to dominate the league for a decade only to abruptly end after Shaq departure to Los Angeles.
Utah Jazz 42 Under
Questions at Point Guard position keeps them from being a playoff team.
Denver Nuggets 27.5 Under
I like Mudiay as a sleeper for rookie of the year at Point Guard. But the Nuggets are in rebuild mode. The Nuggets might be the worst 3 point shooting team in the league on paper.
Minnesota Timberwolves 26.5 Over
I like the Wolves to be a suprise and contend for playoffs for 2/3 of the season with young talent led by Towns and Wiggins part of a nice 1-2 punch. Wiggins in his 2nd season makes a nice big jump.
Portland TrailBlazers 26.5 Under
Blazers lost 4/5 starters from last season including LaMarcus Aldridge. Damian Lillard will put up Russell Westbrook like numbers from last season when Durant went down for OKC. Its rebuild time in Portland.
Here is Bill Simmons from his podcast once again with Joe House on the Western Conference.
My Playoff picks
Cavaliers over Heat
Spurs over Thunder
NBA Finals Spurs over Cavaliers
Coach of the Year- Brad Stevens – Celtics
6th Man of the Year – Gerard Green- Heat
Most Improved Player of Year- Otto Porter-Wizards
Defensive Player of Year- Draymond Green- Warriors
Rookie of the Year- Emmanuel Mudiay- Nuggets
MVP- Anthony Davis- Pelicans