It's betting season folks.
Over at the Sportsbook, they have released their regular season win predictions for the 2013-14 season. I'll tackle the Memphis Grizzlies first.
There is room for complaint considering the team had their best season in franchise history in 2012-13 winning 56 games then got better in the summer. Core players Marc Gasol and Mike Conley are entering their primes and they've added key pieces in Nick Calathes, Kosta Koufos and Mike Miller to improve the team, yet Sportsbook has the team pegged to win 49 games this year.
I've said it many times throughout the offseason, but no one truly knows how good this team is considering all of the improvements and additions that have come in the Western Conference. The Grizzlies have addressed their biggest weakness in shooting by bringing along Miller, Josh Akognon and Nick Calathes, but those names aren't enough to move the meter in terms of team improvements over the summer. Pundits aren't too big on David Joerger, mostly because not much is known about the first-time head coach. Succeeding the most successful coach in Griz history may be a huge factor in this also.
Worst-case scenario the Grizzlies perform as the Sportsbook predicts, having the sixth best record in the Western Conference due to the additions of Andre Iguodala to the Golden State Warriors and Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets. Considering how deep the Western Conference appears on paper that isn't bad. If they overachieve and grab a top seed the club could be in route to another deep playoff run.
Here are all of the Sportsbook's predictions in order by wins and separated by conference.
|New York Knicks||49.5|
|Los Angeles Clippers||57.5|
|San Antonio Spurs||55.5|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||51.5|
|Golden State Warriors||50.5|
|New Orleans Pelicans||40.5|
|Los Angeles Lakers||34.5|
Few notes one these season predictions:
- You have to assume that the injury to Russell Westbrook is what propelled the Los Angeles Clippers to the top of the Western Conference.
- I have no clue how Sportsbook gets 16 wins out of the Philadelphia 76ers whose five best players are Thaddeus Young, Michael Carter-Williams, Evan Turner, Tony Wroten Jr. and Spencer Hawes. It's also important to note that their top pick in Nerlens Noel may not touch the floor until the All-Star break.
- Three games below Memphis seems a bit high for the Denver Nuggets. They've added nice pieces to make up for Iggy's departure to Golden State, but Danilo Gallinari won't be back anytime soon and this team may not be able to defend a soul.
- 41.5 wins from the Washington Wizards without Emeka Okafor for a large portion of the season seems like a stretch.
- If they are only three teams worse than the Los Angeles Lakers come May of 2014, I'll honestly be shocked.