The 2019-2020 NBA season officially gets underway on Tuesday, October 22nd. It’s been another wild season of player movement, and nowhere is that more obvious than in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference.
SB Nation provided a full preview of the coming season, and that included each of the experts at SB Nation’s team sites offering projections for the 2019-2020 season. We’ll be breaking down each division with their win total projections compared to the preseason odds.
Los Angeles Lakers: 49-33 — Silver Screen & Roll
Las Vegas is just about right on their over-under of 51.5 for the Lakers, as the top-end talent on this team is good enough to drive a team above that, but there are enough question marks (like who is going to play most of their minutes at point guard and Dwight Howard, just in general) that — in conjunction with resting Davis and James liberally — will result in the team going under that. The Lakers could win significantly more games than Vegas thinks with health and if all their lottery-ticket roster additions all hit their upside, but it’s more likely they coast at times in an attempt to stay healthy, because they have bigger aspirations than regular season record.
Los Angeles Clippers: 58-24 — Clips Nation
The over/under for the Clippers this season is 56.5 wins, and I’m inclined to think that with relatively good health for Leonard and George, they’ll exceed that number--though not by as much as they could if they went all-out for the #1 seed. Their league-best depth will keep them afloat through the load management portions of the schedule, and the Clippers will be well positioned to accomplish their actual goal: their first-ever NBA Championship.
Vegas has the Warriors at a 48.5 win total. Based on last year’s standings, this would put them at around the 7th or 8th seed in the West. That is a reasonable prediction -- that is, if Curry and Green manage to stay healthy, and if they get plenty of support from Russell, Poole, and the rest of their young players.
I’ll choose the optimistic route by saying the Warriors will match Vegas’ prediction. Will that be enough for them to sneak into the postseason? I’d say yes, good for an 8th seed and a chance to relive ‘We Believe’.
Sacramento Kings: 43-39 — Sactown Royalty
Vegas put the Kings over/under at 38.5 wins this season. While there’s some uncertainty with a new coach and several new additions to the roster, it seems crazy to think the Kings will win fewer than last season’s 39 wins. The Kings dramatically improved their depth, and have a reasonable expectation of improvement from their young stars. They could miss the playoffs, but that will be due to the strength of the West, not because the team won less than last season.
Phoenix Suns: 34-48 — Bright Side of the Sun
Vegas thinks the Suns will win less than 30 games, as they should. This franchise has not played better than a 25-win team since the ‘Morrii Meltdown of 2015’ killed Horny (coach Jeff Hornacek). After that, GM Ryan McDonough pushed the Suns all-in to tank mode, but then failed miserably at that too. Despite taking three players in the top 8 of the next two drafts, there’s nothing left of the 2016 or 2017 drafts on the team and barely in the league. The 2018 Draft was quite lucrative though, and new GM James Jones has brought in a good nucleus of supporting players around future All-Stars Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton. Look for the Suns to nearly double last year’s win total, which is a good start at climbing out of the muck.
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Odds and lines subject to change. See website for details.