2008-2009 NBA Western Conference Season Win Totals Predictions
by Todd Lepow - 10/24/2008
Yesterday we offered some season win totals predictions for the NBA's Eastern Conference for 2008-09. Now we will head out west where the competition is fierce and some very solid squads will likely be left out of the playoffs. All odds are from Sportsbook.com.
New Orleans Hornets-Last Yrs Record 56-26
(Sportsbook.com 2008-09 51.5 WINS)
Chris Paul had an MVP season in 2007-08 as he led the Hornets to the No. 2 seed in the West. They fell to the Spurs in the second round of the playoffs in Game 7. They bring in key glue guy James Posey, which should help them in the post-season and give them the ability to rotate different lineups on the floor (a defensive one and three point one). The Hornets will be able to push it on the fast break and have all the facets it takes to win an NBA title this year. Anything less than matching last year's record and a deep playoff run would be considered a disappointment.
San Antonio Spurs-Last Yrs Record 56-26
(Sportsbook.com 2008-09 O/U 48.5 WINS)
Gregg Popovic's and Tim Duncan's Spurs have always been a team that could be considered a championship contender but this upcoming season they will have a lot of obstacles in their way. Manu Ginobili, who played such excellent basketball last season, will be out until mid December and key role players Michael Finley, Kurt Thomas, Bruce Bowen and Jacque Vaughn are all at the back-end of their careers. The question will be whether or not they have one more run in them but the back-to-backs and the annual circus road trip will be too much to overcome this season.
Houston Rockets-Last Yrs Record 55-27
(Sportsbook.com 2008-09 O/U 52.5 WINS)
A 22-game winning streak catapulted the Rockets to the fifth seed in the Western Conference Playoffs. This season they add Ron Artest to boost their playoff positioning even more but there are still a lot of question marks on this team. Will Tracy McGrady's knee keep him sidelined for a portion of the regular season? Is Yao Ming's foot fully healed? These questions have me saying the Rockets fall short of the set win total.
Dallas Mavericks-Last Yrs Record 51-31
(Sportsbook.com 2008-09 O/U 46.5 WINS)
With the trade late last year for Jason Kidd many felt the Mavericks were a threat in the playoffs but they were dominated by the Hornets in the first round, dropping four of five games to get eliminated. They still have a talented roster and some players were hostile towards former coach Avery Johnson. The Mavs still have a look of a 50-win team and even though they have struggled in the playoffs they have been superb in the regular season. Look for that trend to continue.
Memphis Grizzlies-Last Yrs Record 22-60
(Sportsbook.com 2008-09 O/U 23.5 WINS)
Rudy Gay's impressive sophomore campaign was one of the few bright spots in a season that saw the franchise trade away Pau Gasol and lose 60 games for the second consecutive season. A draft day trade saw Memphis acquire O.J. Mayo for Kevin Love and they will start him at shooting guard. The defensive struggles of this team are to be mighty but they will be able to fill it up enough to attain 24 wins.
Utah Jazz-Last Yrs Record 54-28
(Sportsbook.com 2008-09 O/U 51.5 WINS)
Almost unbeatable in Salt Lake City (37-4), the Jazz continued their ascent towards becoming a Western Conference powerhouse. With the news Deron Williams will only miss two weeks with a sprained ankle, Utah can breathe a sigh of relief that they will have their do-everything point guard back quickly. Jerry Sloan knows what he has with this team and will try and get everything out of them. They seemed to have cold feet in some games in which they were involved with the best in the West but with more experience that should subside. A top seed in the West seems assured.
Denver Nuggets-Last Yrs Record 50-32
(Sportsbook.com 2008-09 O/U 42.5 WINS)
The Nuggets off-season saw them trade away 2006-07 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Camby and they basically only got cap relief of $40 million dollars in return. Their lackadaisical defense isn't going to get any better without Camby and even though Iverson and Anthony have said they will try and improve on it we will believe it when we see it. With a frontcourt filled of injury-riddled pasts, the Nuggets are always one injury away from becoming very thin up front. With a projected win total of 42.5 it is clear the sports books think the Nuggets will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2003.
Portland Trail Blazers- Last Yrs Record 41-41
(Sportsbook.com 2008-09 O/U 44.5 WINS)
No team in the league has more pre-season buzz than the Portland Trail Blazers. That is because GM Kevin Pritchard has gathered an abundance of young talented players headlined by Brandon Roy and Greg Oden. Oden should be ready to go after missing all of last year with knee surgery even though he has struggled during the pre-season. Travis Outlaw, Lamarcus Aldridge, and Rudy Fernandez are oozing with talent and show off the deep talent pool this squad can reach into. Some experts think Portland is still a year away but Brandon Roy will lead this team to the playoffs and it's up to the rest of the team to see if that is where the ride ends.
Minnesota Timberwolves-Last Yrs Record 22-60
(Sportsbook.com 2008-09 O/U 32.5 WINS)
Although Kevin McHale has taken much flak, he landed a stud in Al Jefferson in the Kevin Garnett trade. It would not be surprising if big Al leads all NBA centers in scoring. Last season they had road wins at Phoenix and at Golden State, two of the hardest places to win at in the league. Count on them to build on those wins and be a nice story until fading towards the end of the season.
Oklahoma City Thunder-Last Yrs Record 20-62
(Sportsbook.com 2008-09 O/U 26.5 WINS)
The artists formerly known as the Seattle SuperSonics move to their new home in Oklahoma City where they will try and continue the rebuilding process. Kevin Durant will try to improve his 28.8 percent three point field goal percentage as his numbers should increase across the board. The Thunder know that they aren't going to be a playoff team this year and their goals are going to have to be to play hard each night and improve as a whole for the future. Coach Carlesimo will have them do both of those things but a comparable record to last year is destined.
Los Angeles Lakers-Last Yrs Record 57-25
(Sportsbook.com 2008-09 O/U 54.5 WINS)
With a starting five that looks like an all-star team it's no wonder the Lakers represented the West in the finals last year. They return everyone except Ronny Turiaf and most of their young talent should improve with another year under their belt. Andrew Bynum is looking like he is recovered from his left knee injury and ready to resume where he left off. With the best closer in the game in Kobe Bryant and Hall of Fame coach in Phil Jackson they will be on a mission to grab the No. 1 seed in the West and have to be the pre-season favorites to win the championship.
Phoenix Suns-Last Yrs Record 55-27
(Sportsbook.com 2008-09 O/U 46.5 WINS)
Steve Nash has made no secret of it that he expects to get a lot more rest this season. Shaq and Grant Hill are also a year older and less floor time is to be expected from them as well. The window might have already closed on this team's ability to make a playoff run and the books agree by setting a 46.5 win total for a team that has won an average of 58 games over the past four seasons. They are still going to be tough at home but they are going to struggle and might have to settle for a record flirting with .500.
Golden State Warriors-Last Yrs Record 48-34
(Sportsbook.com 2008-09 O/U 37.5 WINS)
A rough off-season saw Baron Davis sign with the Clippers and budding superstar Monta Ellis get into a moped accident, which could see him sidelined until January. Those events have the Warriors set to begin this year without their two best players from last season. They did, however, sign Corey Maggette who should fit in nicely in Don Nelson's system. It seems as though teams are more prepared to play the up-tempo Warriors style and with a big question mark at point guard and no true center the Warriors are looking at a last place finish in the Pacific division seems likely.
Sacramento Kings-Last Yrs Record 38-44
(Sportsbook.com 2008-09 O/U 27.5 WINS)
Trading Ron Artest was an attempt to help allow their young players develop more and should allow Francisco Garcia to earn more minutes to follow up his breakout season. Reggie Theus did a nice job last year to get them 38 wins when Kevin Martin missed over 20 games, Brad Miller missed 10 games and Artest missed over 20 games. There isn't much talent on this roster and teams will key on Kevin Martin who struggles with physical defenders. A drop off from last season's win total seems all but certain.
Los Angeles Clippers-Last Yrs Record 23-59
(Sportsbook.com 2008-09 O/U 33.5 WINS)
The Clippers completely revamped their roster this off-season bringing in Marcus Camby and Baron Davis to man the point. These two along with rookie Eric Gordon, who has impressed this pre-season, will try to turn around the franchise. With Camby and Kaman in the post many teams won't have an answer for them. The Clippers should easily reach the 34-win plateau and even if an injury strikes they look ready to take a giant leap forward.