NBA Over/Under Projections: Southeast Division
With the NBA 2019-2020 campaign still beyond the horizon - the FIBA World Cup in China is currently occupying the minds of die-hard basketball fans - many that follow the league are still in the dog days of the offseason. But alas, the good folks in Las Vegas are always coming up with timely odds and props as the season comes into focus.
So after the dust had settled on a VERY active free agency period, and with most clubs’ rosters set for training camp, it’s worth visiting the NBA over/under win totals available for the upcoming season.
With that in mind, and over 40 years of basketball viewing under my belt, here are some prospective thoughts on teams reaching or failing to hit their expected goals this NBA year, starting with the Southeast Division:
Win Totals provided by Jeff Sherman of Westgate SuperBook
Expected Win Total - 33.5
With a rebuilding plan that appears to be ahead of schedule, the Hawks will look to build on their momentum as a young team on the rise. Atlanta has the upside to become a potential power team in the East sooner rather than later.
"Hotlanta" has plenty to look forward to. Trae Young had a fantastic second half of his rookie season, to the tune of 24.7 points 9.2 per game following the All-Star Break. If Young and fellow ringers John Collins and Kevin Huerter continue to grow, the Hawks could even flirt with a postseason push.
Let's go OVER with the Hawks.
Expected Win Total - 23.5
Letting Kemba Walker walk in free agency was a risky move by Hornets owner Michael Jordan. He was the closest thing the team had to a franchise player, even if the asking price to keep him in town was high.
Terry Rozier inked a big deal to fill the void Walker left. Rozier will look to bounce back after a disappointing season with the Celtics. And he’ll have to; Charlotte is severely lacking in talent.
Let's go UNDER with the Hornets.
Expected Win Total - 43.5
While it didn't earn the fanfare of "The Decision,” Jimmy Butler’s choice to take his talents to South Beach will be an important one. The man who wore out his welcome in Chicago, burnt bridges in Minnesota, and wanted out in Philadelphia, will expect to be the "Alpha" in Miami.
Even though big things are expected from Jimmy Buckets, the Heat have not necessarily provided Butler with the right supporting cast. Justise Winslow, Bam Adebayo, and an extended list of mediocre players on bad contracts will keep Miami in the playoff hunt, but the restive Butler could find himself disappointed by season’s end.
Let's go UNDER with the Heat.
Expected Win Total - 41.5
Folks near Disney World would be wise to think that the Magic is a team that's on the rise. Orlando saw a strong close to the 2018-19 season (23-9 in their last 32 games), an admirable fight against the eventual-champion Toronto Raptors in the postseason, and an intriguing blend of solid role-playing veterans and young up and coming talent.
Unfortunately, though, the only major addition to the Magic this summer was Al-Farouq Aminu, after the club dished out the big bucks to retain desired free-agents Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross. It’s unclear if the Magic got any better in the off-season.
For Orlando to really make an impression, youthful stars such as Johnathan Isaac, Mohamed (Mo) Bamba, and dare I say it? Markelle Fultz will have to take that next step in their development for the team to make some noise in the Eastern Conference. All the same, things are looking good in Central Florida.
Let's go OVER for the Magic.
Expected Win Total - 27.5
Poor Bradley Beal. Not too long ago, way back in April 2017 (OK it wasn't that long ago), Bradley was on a team that was just south of a 50-win season, his running mate in the backcourt was fellow All-Star John Wall. He had teammates in Otto Porter Jr., Bojan Bogdanovic, and Kelly Oubre Jr. that were just starting to fulfill their promise. And after a trip to the Conference Semi-Finals that year it looked like that the sky would be the limit.
Oh, how two years can make a difference! Gone are Bogdonavic, Porter, and Oubre via free-agency and ill-conceived trades. Wall ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament that will have him miss most, if not all of this upcoming season, and the replacements now on the team look like the Wizards are ready to contend for the G-League Championship rather than the NBA's top prize. The big question in D.C. will not be how many games they can win, but will Bradley Beal want to stay through these tough times or ask to be traded to save himself from a full season of basketball purgatory.
Let's go UNDER with the Wizards.