Win projections for all 30 teams: Part 2

LeBron James and the remade Cavaliers are East favorites yet again.

It’s finally here – the dawn of a new season is upon us. While the basketball world is still trying to piece together the remnants of an unprecedented NBA offseason, basketball analysts are doing their best to forecast how each team will fare in the 2017-18 campaign.

Typically this preseason task is about as straightforward as playing table tennis blindfolded. Given the added layer of complexity due to superstars swapping teams at such an extraordinary rate, this year’s effort is more like playing table tennis without a table.

What this translates to: The upcoming season should be extremely fun and exciting, but also ridiculously unpredictable.

Below I do my best at predicting the unpredictable. Using OddShark as a baseline, I take my best shot at predicting whether each team will over- or underperform compared to their estimated win total. Let’s get to it!

**This is installment 2 of 2. You can find the remaining 15 teams in part 1 here.**

Atlanta Hawks – 25.5

The Hawks lost pretty much every veteran of substance since the conclusion of last year, including Paul Millsap, Dwight Howard and Tim Hardaway Jr, to name a few. Despite the mass exodus, I think the weak Eastern Conference paired with Mike Budenholzer’s wizardry is enough to win 26 games. OVER

Boston Celtics – 55.5

Brad Stevens should have fun drawing up offensive sets for Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, but the defensive side of the ball could be a challenge. Tack on the inevitable learning curve required to mesh so many new faces together, along with a razor-thin bench, and I’m predicting a bit of a let-down in Beantown. UNDER

Brooklyn Nets – 27.5

The fate of this Nets squad is in the hands of D’Angelo Russell. Is the former Ohio State Buckeye a budding superstar who simply needed to escape the Kobe-drama in LA? Or is he a 40% volume-shooter who fails to make his teammates better? Possibly the former, but this team is just too barren of talent. UNDER

Charlotte Hornets – 42.5

An elbow injury to Nic Batum doesn’t help this team’s prognosis, as he’s ultimately the only capable playmaker outside of Kemba Walker. Barring a midseason trade, I think MJ’s Hornets remain around .500 this year. UNDER

Chicago Bulls – 22

Last year’s Brooklyn Nets, winners of a mere 20 games, featured useful veterans like Brook Lopez, Trevor Booker and Bojan Bogdanovic. The Bulls are even thinner on such veterans, and don’t expect Zach LaVine to return from knee surgery until at least November. UNDER

Cleveland Cavaliers – 53.5

The LeBron James Show is returning for another season, featuring an all new cast of characters! Do I think James is as motivated as ever to prove he still has plenty left in the tank? Yes, I do. Do I think he cares at all about regular season wins or playoff seeding? No, I do not. UNDER

Dallas Mavericks – 35.5

The Mavs won 33 last year while shuffling point guards and working Harrison Barnes into the offense. Insert rookie-of-the-year candidate Dennis Smith Jr. and the emotions of Dirk Nowitzki’s 20th (and perhaps final) season, I’m expecting a fun year in “Big D”. OVER

Denver Nuggets – 45.5

Paul Millsap will get the headlines, but the growth of backcourt mates Gary Harris and Jamal Murray have the Nuggets on the rise. OVER

Detroit Pistons – 38.5

The addition of Avery Bradley adds some more scrappiness to an already scrappy Pistons team. I’m still pretty bearish on the upside of a Drummond-Jackson “Big Two”, however. UNDER

Golden State Warriors – 67.5

On paper, nobody should beat this team ever. On the court, almost nobody does. Another year of familiarity for Kevin Durant could have the “Dubs” flirting with the 70-mark once again. OVER

Houston Rockets – 55.5

Houston’s depth took a hit with the losses of Patrick Beverly and Lou Williams. Also, how will Chris Paul and James Harden adjust their ball-dominance to fit alongside one another? UNDER

Indiana Pacers – 31.5

This should be a good defensive team, and Myles Turner is an all-star in the making. Outside of that, however, the Pacers are a mixed bag that will have a hard time getting buckets in crunch time. UNDER

Los Angeles Clippers – 43.5

The post-Chris Paul Clips should be a fun team that moves the ball and plays with pace. A dip from last year seems inevitable, but I think they’ll be more competitive than what the sportsbooks project. OVER

Los Angeles Lakers – 33.5

If Lonzo Ball can stay healthy (i.e. not continue to injure his ankles in those hideous Big Baller Brand shoes) and Brandon Ingram can take a big leap, then the Lakers could be an exciting team that surprises people. With that said… UNDER

Memphis Grizzlies – 37.5

They have the DNA to churn out 40 wins. The question is whether Chandler Parsons can make an impact after multiple knee surgeries over the past few years. In David Fizdale we trust. OVER

Christopher Kreider | @krydr1

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