Site Manager’s Note - Welcome to the inaugural Grizzly Bear Blues NBA Preview Over/Under Challenge! Think you are smarter than twelve of our staff members? Take the challenge by posting your over/unders in the comments section every day with the corresponding teams. We will keep track over the course of the season, and the commenter(s) who beats our overall over/under projections at the end of the season will win a Fan Essentials box!
The GBB Staff taking part in this challenge are
Joe Mullinax - Site Manager
Matt Hrdlicka - Senior Features Writer
Kevin Yeung - Senior Features Writer
Chase Lucas - Features Writer
Mac Trammel - Features Writer
Brandon Conner - Features Writer
Jonathan Concool - Game Coverage Writer
Colin Huguley - Game Coverage Writer
Austin Reynolds - Game Coverage Writer
Corban Ford - Game Coverage Writer
Jonah Jordan - GBB Boots on the Ground Editor
Adam Rubrum - GBB Boots on the Ground Editor
Today, I will be breaking down the Charlotte Hornets and Golden State Warriors.
CHARLOTTE HORNETS: Vegas Projection - 39.5 Wins
Overall GBB Staff Projection -
- Ten take the over (Mullinax, Lucas, Hrdlicka, Reynolds, Ford, Concool, Conner, Trammel, Huguley, Yeung), two take the under (Jordan, Rubrum)
- Average projected record - 43-39
Joe’s Players to Watch and Prediction - The Hornets have one of the widest margins in terms of our staff projections to this point. One writer had the Hornets winning 35 games, while others have them winning 48 or 49. There is fair reason for such a gap, though. On one hand, the Hornets return Kemba Walker as well as a healthy Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the newly resigned duo of Nicolas Batum and Marvin Williams. That is a formidable foursome.
On the other hand, outside of those four, there are real questions. Can Roy Hibbert resurrect his career in Charlotte? How successful can a bench led by Ramon Sessions and Marco Belinelli be? Is Frank Kaminsky ready for an increased role? These uncertainties temper my expectations, but I will still take the over with 43 wins for Charlotte, good for the seven seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: Vegas Projection - 66.5 Wins
Overall GBB Staff Projection -
- Six take the over (Lucas, Hrdlicka, Concool, Conner, Rubrum, Yeung), six take the under (Mullinax, Reynolds, Ford, Jordan, Trammel, Huguley)
- Average projected record: 66-16
Joe’s Players to Watch and Prediction - Our first true split down the middle, and how fitting it is that it comes along with our preview of the NBA’s newest super team. While the idea that the best regular season team in NBA history just added one of the top two or three players in the Association is absurd, it has indeed occurred; Kevin Durant is a Warrior. The “Lineup of Death” that was Stephen Curry/Klay Thompson/Andre Iguodala/Harrison Barnes/Draymond Green now has Durant instead of Barnes.
Think about that. Feel that chill that just ran down your spine. They’re potentially better...a lot better.
But it is possible that they’re also going to go through some growing pains. Roles will be changing. Zaza Pachulia is an underrated key cog in this machine that needs to fit, and with two dominant scorers in Durant and Curry (three if you count Thompson, who is now the fourth best player on this team, which is just ridiculous) and just one ball, it may take some time for Golden State to find themselves.
Also, the Warriors enjoyed uncommonly good health last season - the trio of Curry, Thompson, and Green played in 79, 80, and 81 regular season games respectively. Durant is not that durable, and odds are that those original three Warriors don’t play a combined 240 games out of a possible 246 again this season.
Does this make Golden State less likely to be the best team in the NBA? Absolutely not. Does it mean that they aren’t the favorites to win the NBA championship? In no way, shape, or form is that the case. What it does mean is that it isn’t too far fetched to see the Warriors having longer stretches of issues than last season.
When teams win 64 games, as I project the Warriors to do this season, that’s usually considered a massive success of historic proportions. For the Warriors, it would be under Vegas expectations. That is how special this group of players and coaches is, and what they are capable of if they do get it going and stay healthy. I see Golden State going 64-18, good for the one seed in the Western Conference.