Stinar: Making calls on some 2019-20 over/unders

Steph Curry of the Warriors will win a third NBA MVP award this season, says our Ben Stinar.

Over/Under totals via Westgate (h/t) Action Network


Warriors (49.5) 

This one is mind-boggling to me because Golden State has not won less than 50 games since the 2012-13 season. It only had Kevin Durant for the last three seasons, so the notion because it lost Durant it will be a much-worse team is false. The Warriors swapped out Durant for D’Angelo Russell who was a 23-year-old All-Star last season and led the Brooklyn Nets to the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs as their best player. Steph Curry is still in his prime at age 31 years and is my pick to win the MVP award for the third time. Not to mention, they will also have a happy Draymond Green, considering he just signed a contract extension, and will not have free agency looming over his head. A big three of Curry, Green and Russell to go into a new arena in San Francisco will be enough to win at least 50 games. That’s not even accounting for the fact that All-Star guard Klay Thompson could easily play in more than 25 games this season.


Hawks (33.5) 

This number makes sense… if you are an NBA casual.

Anyone who follows the league closely can see from a mile away that the Hawks will exceed this total with ease. In a season in which most teams would tank at the end, the Hawks finished the final 23 games of the season a modest 10-13. Considering they only won 29 games, that stretch was their best of the season. Over those final 23 games, Trae Young averaged an incredible 24.7 points and 9.2 assists per game and John Collins added 20.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. Young, Collins and Kevin Huerter will only get better next season, and they added exciting rookies in DeAndre Hunter, Cam Reddish and Bruno Fernando. They also have a good supporting cast with Alex Len, who is bound for a career year if he is given the starting job and veterans like Jabari Parker and Evan Turner. Young and Collins will both cement themselves at All-Star-caliber players and lead this team to the playoffs.



Lakers (50.5)

Way. Too. High. I do not bet against LeBron James in a playoff series. However, I will bet against him in the regular season for the rest of his career. After James missed 27 games last season, he finally showed that his body is vulnerable to injury. Arguably the greatest player had to show signs of age at some point, and I do not trust his effort on a nightly basis in the regular season anymore, either. Newcomer Anthony Davis always misses games as well and has missed at least seven games a season his entire career. All of these concerns are even before getting into the chemistry issues a team with so many new players will face. Even with James playing in 55 games last season, the Lakers still failed to make the playoffs. They will be a 44-to-50 win team, but there is no chance that they win more than 50 games. This is a team built to contend in a playoff series, not for an 82-game regular-season grind.


Nets (43.5) 


The team is coming off a season in which they won 42 games and were the sixth seed in the playoffs, so most would think signing Durant and Kyrie Irving would completely bolster their record.


Durant will miss most if not all of the season and Irving has a lot to prove. In terms of this season, they swapped out All-Star Russell for All-StarIrving and added a few decent veterans. A few more games from Caris LeVert won’t hurt, either. My take is Russell and Irving are very close in ability to affect wins. Sure, Irving is the better individual player, but basketball is a team sport. A lot of the young players in Boston seemed to regress last season, and he seemed like an awful leader. Their season falls on Irving and I think he is just a vastly overrated player. He will never be the number one guy on an elite team. They will also have a lot of chemistry issues early on that they will have to figure out.