This past offseason in the NBA felt like it moved faster than others. With news coming left and right at the early stages of the offseason, it kept every NBA fan on their heels with anticipation of the next move. Moves such as LeBron James electing to take his talents to La-La Land to play for the Los Angeles Lakers, and Paul George, who also seemed to head to the Lakers, instead re-signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder, as well as the end of the Kawhi Leonard Saga. Leonard finally got his wish in being traded from the San Antonio Spurs as he was shipped to the Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan. All this and more is why the offseason is just as exciting as the regular-season itself.
Fans were also treated this week when the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened their season over/under win totals for all 30 NBA teams. It featured a couple of bold predictions for the upcoming season.
Here is Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook's over/under season projections:
Sully’s and Richard’s Eastern Conference season standings predictions
Sully’s and Richard’s Western Conference season standings predictions
Sully’s take on the upcoming season
I see little change happening on both sides of the conference. The Celtics, Raptors, 76ers, Pacers, will remain as the same top-tier teams from last season in a wide-open Eastern Conference while the Warriors, Rockets, Thunder, Lakers and Jazz rounding out the top-four teams from the Western Conference.
In regards to the top two teams in the Western Conference, the Warriors’ regular-season dominance will continue once again and will finish first. Already with their All-Star starting lineup, the addition of DeMarcus Cousins (if healthy) only makes the Warriors better. For the Rockets, they will take a slight step back from their incredible season from a year ago because of losing key forwards in Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute. The addition of Carmelo Anthony is a question mark for now because of what role he will play and how he will adjust to the team’s offensive and defensive schemes.
For the East, the Celtics and Raptors will have a foot race to the end but it will be the Celtics who will end up placing first in the East because of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward returning to full health as well as the team’s depth. The Celtics can run a 10 to 11-man rotation and that will be crucial for when they want to rest their stars.
Like the Rockets, the Raptors will also take a slight step back from their record-breaking season mainly because of adjusting their style of play courtesy of their new head coach, Nick Nurse as well as seeing how Leonard will fit with the team.
The teams to keep an eye on that will be making a playoff-push will be the Lakers, Nuggets and Pistons as they will be the new faces in making the playoffs after missing out the past few years. Of the three teams, only the Lakers will likely make some noise in the postseason.
Richard’s take on the upcoming season
The Celtics and the Warriors could not only be the matchup in the NBA Finals this season but will be jockeying for the best record in the NBA this season. With Kyrie Irving and Gordan Hayward coming into the lineup, combined with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, the Celtics will be close to unstoppable.
Even with the LeBron James on the roster, the Lakers just miss the playoffs. There is plenty of talent on the team. Lance Stephenson and Rajon Rondo could interfere with both Lonzo Ball's and Josh Hart's development. Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma could also be effected with the roster moves the Lakers made in the offseason.
With the Rockets losing a couple of pieces in the offseason, they will see a decrease in wins because of it. The Raptors will take a step back after trading away DeMar DeRozan. A story to watch all season long will be how Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green fit in with the Raptors.
Teams that surprised last season such as the Pacers and the Jazz will prove that their season was a fluke and that they are here to stay. Donovan Mitchell and company will not only jump to third seed, but will prove it with their defensive efficiency.
With training camps soon approaching and the start of the new NBA season just over two months away, all fans can do is wait for the most highly anticipated season to begin. Opening Night will be on Tuesday, October 16, when the Philadelphia 76ers will play the Boston Celtics, followed by the Oklahoma City Thunder taking on the Golden State Warriors.