The busy NBA offseason is finally starting to slow down and, with the rosters now close to being settled, sportsbooks are posting their season win totals for each team.
The clear winners of the offseason in the eyes the bookies are the Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers. Offshore books project Minnesota and Philadelphia to improve their win totals by 14.5 and 12.5 games each in 2017-18 campaign.
The acquisitions of Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague and Taj Gibson improve a Minnesota roster that already includes Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. But is that enough to win 46 or more games in a stacked Western Conference?
The Sixers added veteran shooting guard J.J. Redick and traded up in the draft to grab point guard Markell Fultz. The key to Philly’s upcoming year is the health of prized center Joel Embiid and 2016 No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons.
Embiid averaged 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in just 31 games a season ago while Simmons missed all of last year because of a broken foot.
The teams taking the biggest step back according to the books are the Utah Jazz (-13.5 games), Chicago Bulls (-12.5) and Indiana Pacers (-10.5). The Jazz lost All-Star wing Gordon Hayward, the Bulls traded Butler to the Wolves and the Pacers shipped All-Star Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Golden State Warriors enter next season with the highest win total at 67.5, one game higher than the over/under line for last season. The Brooklyn Nets, despite adding point guard D’Angelo Russell from the Lakers, own the dishonor of the lowest season win total at 20.5.
Speaking of the Lakers, they are one of the biggest risers in projected win totals compared to their 2016-17 win/loss record. The Purple and Gold won just 24 games last season but are expected to finish at 32 or 33 wins in the coming season. Rookie Lonzo Ball, scoring center Brook Lopez and lockdown perimeter defender Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are the key additions.
The Houston Rockets are projected to be the second most successful regular season team with a win total of 56.5 games. Houston was last year’s biggest overachiever, winning 13.5 more games than their 2016-17 over/under number. The Rockets added Chris Paul and are rumored to be working on bringing Carmelo Anthony into the mix as well.