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NBA 30 Team Preview 2021-2022

Khris Middleton Giannis Antetokounmpo & Jrue Holiday

Khris Middleton Giannis Antetokounmpo & Jrue Holiday

The NBA is back and all of the different possible outcomes of the season always bring a lot of excitement! Season win totals are hard to confidently predict because there are usually different unseen factors that play into how each season is shaped, but it is always fun to guess!

*Fanduel Sportsbook

2020-2021 Record2021-2022 Projected Wins*

Atlanta Hawks

41-31

47.5

Boston Celtics

36-36

46.5

Brooklyn Nets

48-24

55.5

Charlotte Hornets

33-39

38.5

Chicago Bulls

31-41

43.5

Cleveland Cavaliers

22-50

26.5

Dallas Mavericks

42-30

48.5

Denver Nuggets

47-25

47.5

Detroit Pistons

20-52

25.5

Golden State Warriors

39-33

47.5

Houston Rockets

17-55

25.5

Indiana Pacers

34-48

42.5

Los Angeles Clippers

47-25

45.5

Los Angeles Lakers

42-30

52.5

Memphis Grizzlies

38-34

41.5

Miami Heat

40-32

48.5

Milwaukee Bucks

46-26

54.5

Minnesota Timberwolves

23-49

38.5

New Orleans Pelicans

31-41

38.5

New York Knicks

41-31

41.5

Oklahoma City Thunder

22-50

22.5

Orlando Magic

21-51

22.5

Philadelphia 76ers

49-23

50.5

Phoenix Suns

51-21

51.5

Portland Trail Blazers

42-30

44.5

Sacramento Kings

31-41

36.5

San Antonio Spurs

33-39

29.5

Toronto Raptors

27-45

36.5

Utah Jazz

52-20

53.5

Washington Wizards

34-48

34.5

Jrue Holiday

Jrue Holiday

Milwaukee 54.5

Fresh off of the fileting of Phoenix’s title aspirations, Milwaukee should again be in the mix to potentially ruin a team’s parade by simply deploying their newly minted trio. Going forward Giannis Antetokounmpo will have the rest of humanity on constant stand-by after securing that elusive first title in his seventh season, similar to the greatest on-court assassin ever, Michael Jordan. Jrue Holiday demonstrated his giant heart on their rigorous path to victory and continued his summer with an extra expedition scaling to the top of ‘Mount Olympics.’ Khris Middleton also let the world know how cold his veins are and his fit with Giannis and Jrue has proven exemplary with his timely, buttery release. Brook Lopez is now 33 but he is still a tad underrated because of his ability to stretch the floor while impacting defensively and together with fan-favorite Bobby Portis represents a nice one-two punch. New additions Grayson Allen and Rodney Hood will have their chances to score off the bench and George Hill returns to fill a vital veteran role left by the departure of PJ Tucker. Semi Ojeleye could earn himself big minutes by fitting in to their strong defense and with Thanasis Antetokounmpo bringing constant energy the second unit should do enough to sustain success. The league will be looking to de-throne them, but after surviving his public execution Coach Budenholzer gets to feel optimistic looking forward to the season with the return of Donte DiVencenzo giving him the pieces to put them in position for possible home-court advantage. OVER 55-27

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant

Brooklyn Nets 55.5

The return of Kevin Durant playing at an elite level was an underappreciated aspect of last season and together with James Harden and Kyrie Irving still form the apex trio in the league, but with the latter of the threesome potentially not ever playing this year it dampens spirits significantly. After dealing with the shuffling of his roster throughout the year Steve Nash ended up with some valuable playoff experience following a tough seven game series, but will now have a nice long regular season to fully tap into this unique cast. The frontline was bolstered with some veteran signings of James Johnson and Paul Milsap joining ex superstars LeMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin as well as the up-and-comer Nicolas Claxton, giving them unimaginable depth. Patty Mills and Javon Carter strengthen their guard rotation and provide additional shooters to add to their riches in that department along with Joe Harris. Despite season long concerns of their defensive capabilities, during the playoffs they held strong with Bruce Brown and Claxton working with their premiere defensive weapon KD. Viewed as one of the overwhelming favorites to hoist the Larry OB, the only things standing in their way are the exceptional play of their rivals and the status of their stars. UNDER 54-28

De'Andre Hunter

De'Andre Hunter

Atlanta Hawks 47.5

Labeling them as an anomaly after their unexpected run to the conference finals could be a mistake because they have an absurd amount of talent and when given a stage to succeed several of their players stepped up in big ways. Underestimating Trae Young hasn’t worked out for critics so far and his unselfish game compliments this stacked roster of scorers beautifully. De’Andre Hunter didn’t have a healthy season but still demonstrated his offensive growth, solidifying him as one of their most important players because of his defensive prowess. With all the electricity he provided during their post-season run John Collins showed management that he was actually worth the five-year investment he sought mid-season. Clint Capela has been steadfast for them and behind him Onyeka Okongwu has flashed some serious potential as well, giving them some sneaky dominance down low. Bogdan Bodganovic is a pure bucket getter and can provide some secondary ball handling as well, likely giving him the nod to start over several other worthy candidates. Delon Wright comes aboard to run alongside a better than average bench led by Lou Williams and Danillo Gallinari who are both still capable of turning an eye. Cam Reddish and Kevin Heurter certainly deserve playing time as well, making the coaching job of Nate McMillan difficult with so many able to provide quality minutes. OVER 51-31

Bam Adebayo

Bam Adebayo

Miami Heat 48.5

Perhaps possessing the deadliest defensive first wave currently, a trip to the finals is within reach for this team tsunami. Jimmy Butler will be highly motivated this season to capture his ‘White Whale’ with a school of emerging and established stars around him. After experiencing the Olympics, Bam Adebayo will look to continue to add to his arsenal with his superb passing ability already allowing Duncan Robinson to fully capitalize on his exceptionally deep range. Adding championship experienced veterans Kyle Lowry and PJ Tucker transform the squad into one deadly catch for whoever snags the seed opposite of them come playoff time, but during the regular season Erik Spoelstra’s job will be to find other units willing to navigate the storm to keep their guys fresh. Tyler Herro will be essential by steadily surfing against second units during the regular season and eventually Victor Oladipo should join him to add to their splash. Dwayne Dedmon and Markieff Morris are around to provide valuable backup minutes and if Kz Okpala or Gabe Vincent are able to break in the right direction then they could crest atop the eastern conference. OVER 50-32

Zach LaVine

Zach LaVine

Chicago Bulls 43.5

It’s okay to be optimistic about this brand-new look Bulls team because they should be able to keep pace with anyone offensively with the coaching style of Billy Donovan who’s settling in for his second season with the city. Zach LaVine isn’t done making his leap forward so assembling talent around him now is a good look for a franchise that has done the opposite in recent years. DeMar DeRozan is an admirable player who has improved every single season and after his tenure with San Antonio he became a polished play-maker capable of leading an offense. Nikola Vucevic got a small sample of playing with LaVine but now with Lonzo Ball in town as well everything is about to get easier for the all-star center. Second-year forward Patrick Williams could provide them with a much-needed defensive presence and should be able to quietly develop offensively playing in this packed starting lineup. Alex Caruso had been a pivotal part of the Lakers championship defense and with the athletically gifted Derrick Jones Jr their bench looks to be in good shape. Backing up Vucevic Tony Bradley will have an opportunity produce and when Coby White gets healthy the explosiveness level of the team expands enormously. OVER 45-37

Julius Randle

Julius Randle

New York Knicks 41.5

Tom Thibodeau put his stamp on the Knicks and they instantly responded with one of the top defenses and several breakout or comeback seasons throughout the roster. RJ Barrett continues to progress at all levels offensively and has big potential defensively as well with his length. Julius Randle came away from the season as the leader in minutes at a shade over thirty-seven per game but also took home second team All-NBA honors. Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier are new additions that are capable of putting up twenty any given night, or half, which put them in a class with holdovers Alec Burks, Derrick Rose and the breath taking second-year player Immanuel Quickley. During his seventh-year in the league Nerlens Noel had his finest season and together with the young, emerging Mitchell Robinson should continue to share the load at center. Taj Gibson and Obi Toppin could occupy additional front court minutes but the depth of the team is significant so Thibs will have a lot of rotations to try out during the season and perhaps Dwayne Bacon or Kevin Knox could find themselves in the mix as well. OVER 44-38

Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid

Philadelphia 76ers 50.5

A tumultuous situation involving Ben Simmons has taken full-focus in Philly, but until then Joel Embiid has more than enough super-glue to hold everything together. Tobias Harris has responded well to his role with efficient shooting seasons and depending on what happens with Simmons his offense could expand. Seth Curry showed at times he was capable of heady play-making and should thrive for the team as an offensive pillar in the shadow of Embiid. Tyrese Maxey helps form an enticing backcourt with his electric scoring rate and together with Shake Milton ensure the guard position won’t be shy in getting shots up. Danny Green remains a solid ‘three and D,’ cog and together with Mattise Thybulle will be crucial in making up for the missing defensive screws provided by Simmons. Andre Drummond is still relevant and is going to be a valuable plug in for when Embiid will need to rest. Furkan Korkmaz helps form a solid second unit with his shooting and newcomer Georges Niang is capable of stretching the floor himself. Doc Rivers has always navigated tough situations well so betting against Philly to roll through to at least a six seed could end the hard way. UNDER 44-38

Jayson Tatum

Jayson Tatum

Boston Celtics 46.5

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown continue to evolve into better players so the sky is always the limit for this fantastic duo. The team has re-tooled around their core but Robert Williams III and Marcus Smart are still around to tout their defensive gifts. Enes Kanter and Al Horford both return to offer a different look for the team and should have decent splits with Horford likely needing significant rest to be able to float into the playoffs fresh. Dennis Schroder becomes a bright figure for them offensively whether he is starting or not and Josh Richardson should be a useful player to insert into a variety of roles as well. Second-year guy Payton Pritchard could see a steady role after he offered good three point shooting out of the gates and perhaps Aaron Neismith can earn a larger role this season as well. Ime Udoka takes over a team with plenty of expectations and with the talent they have formed they could weather a tougher Eastern conference. UNDER 43-39

Miles Bridges

Miles Bridges

Charlotte Hornets 38.5

Everything is coming together quickly in Charlotte with LaMelo Ball’s early grasp of the game accelerating expectations for the season. Terry Rozier continues to demonstrate his ability to make big shots and together with LaMelo form a very flashy back-court. Miles Bridges officially broke out: he shot nearly fifty-forty-ninety, just coming up short at the free-throw line, he produced countless highlight dunks, and when he got added opportunity his production naturally rose. Gordon Hayward was having a very nice season before a familiar injury bug suddenly stung him, but he should be ready to be a valuable veteran leader for this up-and-coming team. PJ Washington’s offense has been coming in quick doses after he ascended the forty-point mark in his second-season while becoming an important piece of their small ball lineups and now Mason Plumlee is around to occupy the traditional center minutes. Kelly Oubre Jr gets to join a new system that should benefit his game better and with journeyman Ish Smith leading the way the bench unit will be strong. The eastern conference looks like it is stacked leaving the Hornets with maybe a potential play-in scenario again, but they shouldn’t be written off too quickly. OVER 42-40

Caris LeVert

Caris LeVert

Indiana Pacers 42.5

After a down year the club will look to get back on the right track with their new coach Rick Carlise, but first he’ll have to navigate through some early injuries to keep them in the race. Domantas Sabonis is a dominant offensive player that’ll help them stay the course while adding to his all-star resume. Once able to return from injury Caris LeVert will be essential as he’s shown the ability to shift his game into over-drive at any given moment. Malcom Brogdon is a very underrated player that does a lot on the stat sheets and could be a part of some solid defensive schemes with the shot blocking savant Myles Turner behind him. TJ Warren being hurt again is costly but Justin Holiday is more than capable of sliding into the starting lineup and producing three pointers and stops on defense. The bench still has TJ McConnell to speed along the offense and an addition of Torrey Craig was a good signing for them to add to their depth. Possible moving parts have always been a discussion for this team with Turner and Sabonis but even if they decide to keep cruising as is they could look bigger in the rear-view mirror than they appear. UNDER 41-41

OG Anunoby

OG Anunoby

Toronto Raptors 36.5

A potential bounce back candidate; not only do they return to their home arena but they have a lot of talent hidden throughout their roster with a nice glut of defensive minded perimeter pieces to help off-set losing Kyle Lowry. Pascal Siakam will begin the season nursing a shoulder, which could impact their shot at the playoffs but hopefully doesn’t stifle his continued development. OG Anunoby showed glimpses of being an elite two-way player last season and that trend should continue with an extra burden on him to start the season. Fred VanVleet continues to be a gem and gets to play next to another unique point guard this year in Goran Dragic. Scottie Barnes will get an early opportunity to win over fans, and with his two-way capability he should fit right in. Gary Trent Jr was a great long-term investment made last season for his scoring ability and range defensively. On their front line they have a great deal of talent to unearth between Precious Achiuwa and Chris Boucher that could yield amazing results. Nick Nurse will have a challenging season trying to keep them near play-in status but could find enough good rotations with the pieces at his disposal to get there. OVER 40-42

Bradley Beal

Bradley Beal

Washington Wizards 34.5

With a completely made-over roster a great amount is unknown about how this season will turn out but the one constant should be the exceptional play of Bradley Beal. Spencer Dinwiddie could create some excitement working together with Beal as the pair should be the focal point of Washington’s attack. Rui Hachimura has shown so far to be a deadly mid-range scorer and could evolve into a key figure throughout the season by adding consistency. The ex-Lakers that came over should all be able to make an impact with Kyle Kuzma likely itching for more shots, Montrezl Harrell remaining one of the better sixth men scorers and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope being one of their better three-point shooters. Daniel Gafford made a difference after joining the team last year and should be a good block to start to build a sturdy defense and rebounding unit from. Thomas Bryant and Davis Bertans have proven their use so far in the league so coach Wes Unseld Jr should have a good number of serviceable players to choose from. Beal has shown he’s capable of carrying a team so if he holds up, they could find themselves playing into the playoffs yet again. UNDER 33-49

Darius Garland

Darius Garland

Cleveland Cavaliers 26.5

Exciting rookie Evan Mobley could be the catalyst needed to right the ship for their young talented squad. Darius Garland ascended into a formidable point guard in the previous season and will be a big part in Mobley's development. Colin Sexton continues to be lightning in a bottle offensively but is often floated in trade rumors because of his size and fit with Garland. Jarret Allen has flashed the potential of becoming one of the better big men in the league and his fit with Mobley will be highly monitored all season long. Isaac Okoro is in line for an increase in efficiency with his developing, yet, ignitable game. The bench has several players who recently started for teams with Laurie Markkannen joining up with Kevin Love to provide unique looks with their shooting abilities. Cedi Osman and Ricky Rubio offer vital playmaking for an ascending bench that could be the key to making it through a grueling regular season in the fierce eastern conference. Tacko Fall could find the court as well as a journeyman rebounding expert in Ed Davis to add different looks. They have their work cut out for them but the more they continue to develop and add talent the more they need to be looked at as an imminent threat. OVER 27-55

Jerami Grant

Jerami Grant

Detroit Pistons 25.5

Cade Cunningham joins a developing Detroit bunch with plenty of capable producers and surprisers for Dwayne Casey. Jerami Grant was able to up his production wonderfully with the increase in opportunity and will be leaned on heavily again this season. Isaiah Stewart had some great rebounding numbers his rookie season and looks like a player to keep tabs on while Saddiq Bey also had a fantastic rookie year highlighted by his two and a half three’s a game at thirty-eight percent. Killian Hayes has shown his playmaking ability to add encouragement to his future outlook, but could end up watching from the bench during close games. Kelly Olynyk put up nineteen points eight rebounds and four rebounds for a depleted Rockets team after being traded there and is in line for valuable minutes in his new city. Hammidou Diallo has seemed comfortable since coming over from the Thunder with the ways he has found to score the basketball and Josh Jackson had a resurgent season in his new city as well. Corey Joseph performs well in his niche backup duty and with Trey Lyles they have several playable lineups to integrate. Saben Lee and Rodney McGruder could become surprise contributors as well as Frank Jackson who is a lethal scorer. Dwayne Casey could go a few directions but the theme of the year should be the progression of the Cade Cunningham era. UNDER 24-58

Jalen Suggs

Jalen Suggs

Orlando Magic 22.5

Expectations are nil in the land of O but a very exciting season of development is on the table with rookie Jalen Suggs potentially ready to lead the team in scoring. The number of playable guards is noticeably high for them with around eight guys ready so they could probably be a candidate to shop one of their veteran bargaining chips they have in Gary Harris, Terrence Ross or E’Twaun Moore. Cole Anthony had some electric moments in his rookie season and with Michael Carter-Williams offering value last season it creates a real bottleneck situation in the backcourt. RJ Hampton is an athletic enough guard who could find some minutes at forward to make sure he gets his own time to continue his progression. Markelle Fultz will get a chance to continue his redemptive arc and once he and up-and-coming forward Jonathan Isaac get back on the court the already high level of intrigue bubbling throughout the roster might boil over. Wendell Carter Jr showed promise with the Bulls and should find his footing this season reuniting with a teammate from his rookie year in Robin Lopez. Mo Bamba put up some staggering stat lines at the tail end of the season and will look to make that a more consistent occurrence this season. They likely end up being a competitive team that fights hard for new coach Jamahl Mosley but might struggle closing games without the legitimate star on the roster. UNDER 21-61

Mikal Bridges

Mikal Bridges

Phoenix Suns 51.5

Burning bright the Suns shocked many not only beating the defending champs but by going up 2-0 in the finals before finally flickering out. Devin Booker was exposed to a four-course meal of playoff life and his ceiling can only rise after such an incredible run so early in his journey. Chris Paul is now addicted to making the finals so hopefully for him he can get another taste of it. Mikal Bridges will once again be needed to make it back to the finals because of his sticky on ball defense. Deandre Ayton was the secret-sauce on many occasions in the playoffs with no answer for stopping him and he became immortalized during the conference finals for the infamous, ‘Valley Oop’ moment with Jae Crowder. Cameron Johnson remains a vital bench piece for them with his ability to knock down shots and his experience so far should continue to make him into a fuller-player. Cameron Payne stays around as a premiere backup with his new contract as new additions to the guard rotation in Elfrid Payton and Landry Shamet offer the team a new look. Javale McGee also adds to the number of potential recipes they can cook up along the front-line with Frank Kaminsky Dario Saric and Jalen Smith. Crushing the regular season shouldn't be much of a problem for Monty Williams with his starters returning, but once the playoffs kick-off the rest of the conference could turn up the heat on them. OVER 56-26

Rudy Gobert

Rudy Gobert

Utah Jazz 53.5

Even after achieving the number one overall seed last season the arrow continues to point up for the Jazz because of their ascending superstar Donnovan Mitchell guiding them towards the light. Coach Quinn Snyder returns his core players as well as a few newcomers that could make the difference during playoff time. Mike Conley continues to offer productive play but his recent unreliability via his poor health has cast a dark cloud over them in critical moments. Jordan Clarkson was the sixth man of the year for good reason with his whirlwind offensive ability and together with Joe Ingles lead a top-class second unit that added some versatility with Rudy Gay and Eric Paschall. Rudy Gobert is a dominant force that took too much blame for their shortcomings against the Clippers and together with Hassan Whiteside will be launching plenty of the oppositions’ shots back into the stratosphere. Among the starters Royce O’Neale and Bogdan Bogdanovic are often underappreciated but they offer important shooting and tough defense to complement Mitchell. The next step for this franchise is to continue their march to the finals and would likely continue to be disappointed with anything less. OVER 55-27

LeBron James

LeBron James

Los Angeles Lakers 52.5

A perennially polarizing team, this squad is subjugated to hear the many different critics hot-takes on how well the team actually will be able to fit together all season. Throughout Russell Westbrook’s whole career he has endured dissonance coming from the media regarding the way he plays the game and combining that with the constant questions regarding Anthony Davis’s health there are easy scapegoats to justify their potential demise, but LeBron James, a man accustomed to having his every-move nitpicked, has played with plenty of different types of stars and should have no problem co-existing with a guy who plays as hard as Russ. LeBron may have to worry about his own battle with father time, but that is another reason why there is value in having Westbrook around to lighten the King’s load. Other than Talen Horton-Tucker remaining the rest of the roster completely turned over; but acquiring vital veterans and young talent should complement their big three nicely. Kendrick Nunn was an under-the-radar signing having shown his scoring ability early in his career and together with Malik Monk bring much needed offense to their bench. Carmello Anthony gets to join up with his buddy LeBron and together with fellow ex-Blazer Trevor Ariza will be ready to hit open threes. Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo join back up with the Lakers and could once again prove to be crucial pieces come playoff time. DeAndre Jordan Kent Bazemore and Wayne Ellington offer additional veteran support, giving coach Frank Vogel a lot to think about this season. Their playoff opponents could conceivably dissect them, but it almost feels like a done deal that LeBron & AD reach another NBA finals. UNDER 51-31

Draymond Green

Draymond Green

Golden State Warriors 47.5

Stephen Curry still playing at an MVP level always makes the Warriors a dangerous team, so they shouldn’t be slept on to make some serious noise out west. Klay Thompson is finally making his return this season but until he’s turned up all the way, Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole are there to help Curry generate the offense. Draymond Green continues to be a fabulous conductor of the offense and his leadership style will be important for a team that has greater expectations after the reformation of their championship core with even Andre Iguodala still endowing his court wisdom. Otto Porter Jr gets a fresh beginning and could really wake the defenses up on open threes rocking with Steph. James Wiseman had an encouraging rookie year and between Kevon Looney and Nemanja Bjelica they have some front court versatility that could work in harmony with their phenomenal back court. They have a pair of rookies with Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody that will be important to put on the stage in the regular season to see what they are capable of and with Juan Toscano Anderson they found a valuable piece that adds to their defensive plans. Steve Kerr will have his challenges with a rather young roster but Steph & Klay reuniting should set off alarms for the rest of the league. OVER 49-33

Nikola Jokic

Nikola Jokic

Denver Nuggets 47.5

Jamaal Murray’s injury puts a cap on their season outlook but after Nikola Jokic won the MVP there is still a lot to be excited about for this surging franchise. Michael Porter Jr continues to evolve quickly and should be able to keep tapping into his superstar potential playing alongside Jokic. Aaron Gordon came over mid-season and his production could start to get closer to his Orlando days the more he shows up on Jokic's exceptional radar. Will Barton provides good energy and play-making but untimely injuries have often slowed him down. Monte Morris is the first in line behind Murray and last year Facundo Campazzo showed off his passing skills in his NBA debut. PJ Dozier had productive outings after getting minutes and Austin Rivers proved to be a solid piece for them immediately as well. The bench has firework potential with rookie Nah’Shon (Bones) Hyland’s big game reputation and the enigmatic Bol Bol enticing fans with his all-around package. Despite lowered expectations they could still dominate a regular season with the MVP and a very deep bench with Jeff Green joining together with JaMychal Green to make reading box scores trickier. OVER 48-34

Paul George

Paul George

Los Angeles Clippers 45.5

Paul George was sensational in the playoffs while falling just short of an NBA finals appearance and seems primed to carry the Clippers through a regular season that Kawhi will likely sit out entirely. Kawhi Leonard looked like he was about to lead them all the way to a championship before his devastating injury and Coach Ty Lue showed his championship DNA along the way as well navigating them through some tough opponents. Reggie Jackson emerged as a timely-killer for them and will be paired with Eric Bledsoe in the back-court to support George. Terrence Mann had a coming-out-party for them in the playoffs and could be in line for a break-out season while Kawhi sits. Marcus Morris Sr remains a critical part of their team with his big three pointers and along with Nicolas Batum add key defensive intelligence. Ivica Zubac is the starter at center and behind him Serge Ibaka along with Harry Giles III and Isaiah Hartenstein will provide depth for Lue to use at his discretion. Luke Kennard is still around to get buckets and Justise Winslow is a sneaky talent if he’s able to come into the season healthy. George might be able to lead them to the playoffs again and if Kawhi makes it back at all, then watch out. UNDER 45-37

Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard

Portland Trail Blazers 44.5

It might look like the same picture in Portland but some subtle roster changes could help elevate the team aided by their new coach Chauncey Billups now handling the brush strokes. Damian Lillard had a bit of a dramatic off-season but remains an elite guard who is a master at painting shot charts red. CJ McCollum is maligned because both he and Lillard are small guards and usually end up the focus of opposing teams on defense but their offensive potency often is enough to gloss over it. Normal Powell is another radiant scorer who gives them a nice trio of capable guys that can get their own bucket at any time. Jusuf Nurkic continues to progress despite battling through injuries and has done a nice job of modeling his offensive game to compliment Lillard. Robert Covington has a lot of value playing defense and gets some reinforcements on that end this year with Tony Snell and Larry Nance Jr allowing them to switch pick and rolls more effectively. Nassir Little should continue to have a role and with Chauncey in town it wouldn’t be surprising to see Anfernee Simons take his game up a notch. Cody Zeller is around to offer some backup center minutes and Ben McLemore’s capable of producing something if given a canvass as well. Terry Stotts had success with Portland in his tenure but sometimes a different approach breeds better results. OVER 45-37

Tim Hardaway Jr

Tim Hardaway Jr

Dallas Mavericks 48.5

After a phenomenal first round battle with the Clippers, it is evident that Luka Doncic is right on the cusp of being able to carry this franchise forward. Tim Hardaway Jr is filling that second scorer role for this team well with his stroke and off the dribble work complimenting Doncic beautifully. Dorian Finney-Smith is a wonderful talent that can be trouble on both ends of the court and with the new signing of Reggie Bullock there could be some better lock down defensive lineups available this year during the playoffs. Kristaps Porzingis gets a lot of flak but is often nursing injuries and is still young enough to transform his game for the better. The frontline has options with Maxi Kleber offering good outside shooting as well as Dwight Powell, Willey Caulie-Stein, and Boban Marjanovic. Frank Ntilikina could serve as a useful defensive piece and they still have the developing Jalen Brunson to be their sixth man as well as Trey Burke to splash in some threes. Jason Kidd gets another chance to be a head coach and with Luka and this roster already so close last season not much will need to change to keep them going in that direction. UNDER 44-38

Ja Morant

Ja Morant

Memphis Grizzlies 41.5

Last season Memphis helped turn the inaugural play-in tournament on its’ head with their elimination of Steph Curry and the Warriors; but that also highlighted just how well this under-the-radar team has fared during their “transition years.” Ja Morant has kept his team competitive from the jump and by already achieving certain goals the expectations are likely to increase fast for the Grizzlies with him around. Jaren Jackson Jr didn’t have a healthy season, but was able to get back by the end to examine some playoff action up close and now can unleash his unique talents throughout the regular season as well. Steven Adams steps into the center position and his fit with Jackson could certainly be under the microscope early in the year. Desmond Bane demonstrated his value with his staggering forty-three percent shooting behind the arc in his rookie season and should earn a healthy dose of minutes this year. Last season Dillon Brooks continued his improvement on both ends of the floor and once he returns from injury should slide back into a vital starting role. Kyle Anderson has an underrated game but does almost everything on a stat sheet, which is similar to teammate DeAnthony Melton. Xavier Tillman Sr showed his ability to play some small ball center in his first year and could be a nice developing asset going forward while Tyus Jones is a solid backup point guard behind Ja. Coach Taylor Jenkins will look to capitalize on their positive playoff experience while also blending Jarret Culver and the rookie Zhaire Williams into the mix. UNDER 40-42

Brandon Ingram

Brandon Ingram

New Orleans Pelicans 38.5

Zion Williamson being sidelined for a bit hurts their chances again at making the playoffs but Brandon Ingram is capable of shouldering the load in the meantime. Nickeil Alexander-Walker will get a chance to step up and could become a valuable play-maker and scorer for them. Devonte Graham is another facilitator positioned to make lots of threes and potentially improve his efficiency playing off of Zion. Jonas Valanciunas will be an interesting match with Zion and the depth that the team has is still very nice with Jaxon Hayes and Willy Hernangomez at center. Josh Hart offers tremendous rebounding for his position and has turned into a nice two-way player that should continue to have a solid role. The bench is strong with Tomas Satoransky and Kira Lewis Jr at guard providing different speeds as well as the smart veteran Garret Temple available. Naji Marshall made an impact for them at the very end of the season and will look to do so again with an opportunity available. New coach Willie Green is familiar with the game so it should be interesting to see how high they shoot up the standings even with Zion on the sidelines to start the year. UNDER 38-44

De'Aaron Fox

De'Aaron Fox

Sacramento Kings 36.5

Things are suddenly looking up in Sacramento with the lightning-fast progression of De’Aaron Fox and their exciting rookie Tyrese Haliburton showing he was ready to play at a high level right away as well. After his first four years in the league Richaun Holmes was given an opportunity for the Kings and did an exceptional job locking that role down. Marvin Bagley III has been criticized because the guys drafted behind him, Luka and Trae, became super stars but he’s still shown some potential to get things going for this wanting-to-win-now club. Harrison Barnes was an underrated part of a championship team when he was younger and is now a vital veteran presence along with Mo Harkless. Tristan Thompson tries a new team here and his presence could add to their defensive approach alongside Chimezie Metu who took a step forward last season. Buddy Hield was being dangled in some trades but has stuck around to show off his stunning shooting form some more. Terrence Davis has produced when given minutes and with the rookie Davion Mitchell exciting people all the way back in summer league the roster could shock many and sneak into the playoff picture. UNDER 36-46

Dejounte Murray

Dejounte Murray

San Antonio Spurs 29.5

The door is opening for this crop of young players to step up and walk through it with the end of the Greg Popovich era potentially dawning. DeJounte Murray is a rich talent with an extraordinary combination of length and speed and is equipped to lead this team now that DeRozan is gone. Derrick White has shown two-way talent as well and together this small back court could find some success. Lonnie Walker IV is another solid player who has shown his burst and ability and with Bryn Forbes coming back they retain a good group of guards despite losing Patty Mills. Keldon Johnson has exuded talent so far in his career and coming off of a summer of Olympic exposure looks like the biggest beneficiary coming into this season. Jakob Poeltl had a breakout season that was easy to miss and the more Pop is able to rely on him going forward the greater his presence will be. Josh Primo was their first-round pick and should be in a good spot to quietly develop while their second-year guy Devin Vassell could end up with a larger role this season. Doug McDermott and Thaddeus Young are there to offer solid veteran play and both could find themselves as starters as well. Damyean Dotson could become a useful bench scorer and Devin Eubanks has shown some promise backing up Poeltl. OVER 34-48

De'Angelo Russell

De'Angelo Russell

Minnesota Timberwolves 38.5

Karl-Anthony Towns is a fantastic talent that would greatly benefit if second-year man Anthony Edwards takes another leap forward, then the Wolves might start to ramp up their competitiveness. De'Angelo Russell has been moved around a bit so far in his career but is a solid point guard capable of facilitating to his peers as well as scoring on his own. Malik Beasley is a big scoring threat for them whether he’s starting or coming off the bench and they have the league pit-bull Patrick Beverley now to deploy as they wish. Jaden McDaniels had a promising rookie season and with Edwards form a nice core to supplement Towns. Josh Okogie is a solid player who can guard several positions and will be needed for any hopes of a successful defense. Jarred Vanderbilt is a good energy guy that fits well with the starters or reserves and Naz Reid as shown his ability to stretch the floor mimicking Towns. A brutal western conference is in their way and they may need one or two more parts to realistically force any positive traction for them this season. UNDER 32-50

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Oklahoma City Thunder 22.5

OKC continues to focus down the road while carrying around countless future assets, but some of the pieces they have acquired might be worth building around soon. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is in a position to ensure this team overachieves again with his knack for making everything look easy. Josh Giddey has an appropriate last-name because of what he is doing to the fan base with his early-play so far and could become a long-term building block for them. Darius Bazley has been up and down so far with his performances but certainly has the chance to become a prominent player with his solid foundation. Luguentz Dort is a frenetic defensive player who possesses a talent for getting points as well and will likely continue to be one of the team's leading scorers. Isaiah Roby brought a lot to the table in his unofficial rookie year and traditional rookie Aleksej Pokusevski had some captivating stat lines on occasion as well. Theo Maledon played with exceptional control at the point guard position in his first season and could find a way to impact again if he gets a chance to work. Ty Jerome and Rookie Tre Mann need some minutes at guard as well so coach Mark Daigneault will have to find a balance in his rotations that still allows their young roster to grow. UNDER 22-60

Jalen Green

Jalen Green

Houston Rockets 25.5

Number-two overall pick Jalen Green could be in a very nice position to win rookie of the year with a clear runway for production in sight. Kevin Porter Jr has demonstrated his big game potential already by eclipsing the fifty-point mark last season and is a part of one of the more exciting back-courts in the league. The young duo should have plenty of stellar outings but they shouldn't forget that Christian Wood is very good and will need to stay involved in the offense too. Daniel Theis could be a valuable contributor and rookie Alperen Sengun might make an immediate impact as well, giving them enough to attempt to keep their opponents grounded. Kenyon Martin Jr launched several acrobatic dunks and became a valuable piece down the stretch to join fellow rookie contributor Jesean Tate as guys to watch this year. Danuel House Jr Eric Gordon and DJ Augustin are still around in the back-court to provide some veteran play, but if the team is able to find a trade for John Wall, then they could become attached to that transaction. Expectations are very low with their inexperienced guards leading the way but it should be a lot of fun to watch them start to take flight. UNDER 21-61

Giannis Antetokounmpo & Nikola Jokic

Giannis Antetokounmpo & Nikola Jokic

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