Football season is upon us, but we can’t sleep on examining the potential of some NBA futures. Here are three win totals that I feel are set too high for the upcoming 2019-20 season (all odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook):
New York Knicks UNDER 27.5 (+100)
I mean, come on. This team went 17-65 last season, and then absolutely whiffed in free agency. Are Julius Randle and R.J. Barrett going to be worth 11 more wins? I highly doubt it.
As much of a selling point as New York can be, the Knicks organization has been exposed. It’s not a destination where players want to sign. The smart move if you’re the Knicks is to go right back to tanking, and see if you can build through the draft.
Maybe it’s not another 17-win season this time around, but anything over 25 would be borderline shocking to me. The Knicks hardly moved the needle this offseason, and have nothing on the current roster that would justify an 11-win improvement.
Milwaukee Bucks UNDER 56.5 (-110)
This is a tougher one, because I don’t necessarily dislike the Bucks. They’re a respectable team that won 60 games last season, but we have to remember the landscape of the NBA has changed. It’s not as top-heavy anymore, and more teams are in position to have stronger seasons. That means tougher battles should come more often this season, and there could even be fewer teams tanking (but the Knicks still will be).
There are a few other quick notes to monitor within the division. Victor Oladipo will return from an injury that shut him down for the season last year. That should make for tougher battles against the Pacers. Indy also signed Malcolm Brogdon away from the Bucks, a great glue piece that could cost Milwaukee a couple wins. Outside of Brogdon, the Bucks had their key pieces healthy all season. While you don’t want to put too much weight on that, it’s worth noting.
Dallas Mavericks UNDER 40.5 (-134)
Dallas finished tied with the Pelicans and Grizzlies for the second-worst record in the west, all with 33 wins. While I understand the upside of Luka Doncic and the return of Kristaps Porzingis, getting to .500 or better feels like a reach.
For starters, let’s look internally — can Doncic improve upon his terrific rookie season? Or will he suffer any sophomore struggles? I think Doncic is going to be a superstar, but just not sure he’s ready to carry a winning team. Then there’s Porzingis, who also has superstar potential, but we need to see what kind of player he is coming back from a torn-ACL. Let’s also keep in mind that despite all the hype, the Knicks won between 29 and 32 games in each of the three seasons he played there.
Just as important as how much these two young players develop is just how tough the West is going to be this season. Eight teams won 48 or more games, and that doesn’t include a Lakers team that won only 37 and has added Anthony Davis. Outside of the Thunder, every single playoff team in the west made moves to improve. The Mavericks have the potential for a bright future, but it may take time.
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Odds and lines subject to change. See website for actual odds.
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