With the NBA free agency frenzy coming to an end and the dust starting to settle on what teams will look like in 2019-20, Vegas has released their win totals and odds for the upcoming season.
I go through every Eastern Conference team based on their projected total via PointsBet from ActionNetwork and declare an under or over verdict.
2019-20 Total: 32.5
2018-19 Wins: 29
I’m very intrigued by the Hawks. I think they are a year away from legit playoff contention. But winning 33 games isn’t a playoff team anyway. It’s a 4 game improvement though which I think they will exceed. Year 3 of John Collins, who averaged a double-double in 2019. Year 2 of Trae Young, who finished second in Rookie of the Year voting. And add rookies Deandre Hunter and Cam Reddish plus veterans Allen Crabbe, Evan Turner, and Chandler Parsons. They will definitely be competitive.
2019-20 Total: 48.5
2018-19 Wins: 49
I am extremely confident in this pick. Kemba Walker is a downgrade talent-wise from Kyrie Irving, but may be a better fit in Brad Stevens’ free-flowing offense. Enes Kanter is a major drop off from Al Horford defensively, but is more than capable of holding his own on offense, especially in a pick-and-roll system with Kemba. With Kyrie and his attitude gone, I expect Jaylen Brown and Jason Tatum to take big steps forward. Gordon Hayward should be improved too now that more time has passed since his devastating injury.
2019-20 Total: 47.5
2018-19 Wins: 42
I think the Nets will be a better team and have a better record than last season. The problem is that I think there are still 4, maybe 5, teams better than them in the East, at least until Kevin Durant returns from his injury. The Nets essentially re-made the entire roster, with the big exception of Caris LaVert, who could be in for a major breakthrough. Looking at this Nets roster compared to last year’s Celtics, I think that Boston team, that won 49 games, is better, which is why I’ll take the Nets to win right about 46-47 at most.
2019-20 Total: 23.5
2018-19 Wins: 39
Hornets have the lowest win total projection in the NBA. Considering four teams won fewer than 23.5 games a year ago, I’m going under because they will be the worst team in the NBA without Kemba Walker. The roster is essentially a group of declining vets on 1-2 year deals plus Terry Rozier. I’m a huge fan of Rozer but if he’s your best player? Oof!
2019-20 Total: 30.5
2018-19 Wins: 22
It’s hard to be confident about a 9 game improvement, despite no major moves. But I am confident. I’m betting on improvement from within from some of the Bulls recent draft picks like Lauri Markannen and Wendell Carter and health from Otto Porter and Zach LaVine. Additions like Coby White and Thaddeus Young could put the Bulls in a position where they compete for the 8 seed in a weak East.
2019-20 Total: 24.5
2018-19 Total: 19
The Cavs were terrible last year. Assuming Kevin Love plays more than 22 games, the Cavs could win more than 20 games this year. Of course, that’s a difficult assumption to make because he could be traded at any time. Other than a healthy Kevin Love and a solid draft (Darius Garland, Kevin Porter Jr and Dylan Windler) the Cavs are mostly in the same position they were in a year ago. With former Michigan coach John Beilein now in charge of the rebuild, the Cavs will be better than 19 wins but worse than 24.
2019-20 Total: 37.5
2018-19 Wins: 41
I kind of like what the Pistons did this off-season. Nothing flashy or overly exciting. The big move was signing Derrick Rose, who could be a potential upgrade over Reggie Jackson. Sekou Doumbouya is a relative unknown and could turn into a big time player. If Blake Griffin is healthy, this team will be in the playoffs again and exceed that win total.
2019-29 Total: 46.5
2018-19 Wins: 48
Without knowing the exact timetable for Victor Oladipo, this isn’t easy to forecast. With him it’s way over, but the number is likely higher. Pacers made some really nice additions bringing in Malcolm Brogdon, TJ McConnell, TJ Warren, and Jeremy Lamb. Even without Oladipo for the beginning of the season, their new additions, depth, and big men (Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis) give me confidence to go over.
2019-20 Total: 42.5
2018-19 Wins: 39
In his last two seasons in Chicago, Jimmy Butler’s Bulls won 42 and 41 games. He helped the Wolves and 76ers get the playoffs the last two years, with the help of other All Stars. Butler is a star but I don’t love his supporting cast. I don’t think the Heat role players are ready to be that “Herro” that Butler needs along side him. Yet.
2019-20 Total: 55.5
2018-19 Wins: 60
Vegas expects a 4-5 game drop off from the Bucks. I do not. Losing Malcolm Brogdon is tough, but replacing him with Wesley Matthews and Kyle Korver is legit. Giannis is only getting better and they brought back Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez. They may not win more than 60, but the drop off won’t be that significant.
New York Knicks
2019-20 Total: 28.5
2018-19 Wins: 17
I think the Knicks had a successful offseason. They didn’t get Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving but they signed 7 quality NBA basketball players which is more than they have had on the roster the last few years. Vets like Julius Randle, Marcus Morris, Taj Gibson combined with recent draft picks like RJ Barrett, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson will have the Knicks a much more competitive team in 2020. Playoffs? Not quite. 30 wins? Definitely.
2019-20 Total: 40.5
2018-19 Wins: 42
Magic made the playoffs in 2019 and won 42 games. This win total assumes they regress. With the East being weak near the bottom, I don’t see regression. Especially if the Magic get anything out of former #1 pick Markelle Fultz, who they acquired at last year’s trade deadline.
2019-20 Total: 53.3
2018-19 Wins: 51
76ers lost Jimmy Butler, who was their best scorer, and JJ Redick, a deadly three point shooter. But they kept Tobias Harris, added Josh Richardson to replace Butler and signed Al Horford. I still think the Horford front court fit with Joel Embiid is a little clunky, but his leadership and recent dominance over Embiid are two reasons why this pairing will be successful. I think Philly’s decision to mix up the roster is a good idea and I think they will remain in the top 2-3 in the conference.
2019-20 Total: 45.5
2018-19 Wins: 58
Going under means Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green are worth 14 wins. Kawhi only played 60 games and the Raptors went 17-5 without him. I think the Raptors will still be good with Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol all returning plus, rising star Pascal Siakam and emerging young stars like Norman Powell, Fred Van Vleet, and OG Anunoby. The hunger may be gone, the Finals MVP may be gone, but I’m going slightly over the 45.5 because the bottom of the East is pretty weak and even though Toronto may not compete for the Finals or even homecourt advantage in round one, they will be good enough to stockpile wins against the bottom.
2019-20 Total: 27.5
2018-19 Wins: 32
I expect the Wizards to be among the league’s worse. Yes, they have Bradley Beal but who else do they have? Is first round pick Rui Hachimura their second best player? Is it Thomas Bryant? They have young talent, but that won’t translate to wins. Certainly not 28.