By: Denery Noone, Scott Brock-Wilson, and Justin Lynch
The next set of over/unders, to round out the East.
Atlanta Hawks: 49.5
Denery: UNDER: They lost DeMarre Carroll, and I do not think they have the talent to replicate what they did last year. They are a well coached team, but the East is improving, and they will have much more competition this year.
Scott: OVER: They won 60 games last year. They got worse and the East got better, but by 11 games? I don’t think so. The big four will carry this team once again. And with both the Heat and Cavs being more playoff teams than regular season teams, the Hawks can manage 50 games.
Lynch: UNDER: East is better. Last year has one-year wonder feel. Horford is an injury concern as always. Losing Carroll is bigger than you think.
Washington Wizards: 45.5
Denery: OVER: BEST BET: Really like the Wizards this season. Wall is entering his 6th season and is really emerging into the superstar that everyone thought he would be. Beal is improving each year, and expect big things from Otto Porter this season after being able to learn a lot under Paul Pierce last year.
Scott: UNDER: This is a really, really tough one. I do not know what way to go on this. But considering they won 46 games last year and lost Pierce, I will have to go with the under. But don’t be too surprised if the loss of Pierce doesn’t hurt them that much, because he really only did his thing in the playoffs.
Lynch: UNDER: 45-46 wins seems about right. I would stay away from this one. I’m still not sure how good Porter is. Spacing issues down low and health is always a concern. Tough call, but I lean to the under.
Miami Heat: 45.5
Denery: OVER: BEST BET: Spoelstra is underrated and they have way too much talent to be under 46 wins. Bosh will be healthy. They got Dragic back. They have D-Wade until his inevitable injury and Whiteside protecting the paint. Ultimately, this will be a top team in the east.
Scott: OVER: BEST BET: They will have Bosh back and healthy, playing with Dragic, a top 10 point guard in league. Adding Winslow will allow them to rest Wade more without sacrificing much production. Then they throw in Whiteside and Deng to make one of the best six-man rotations in the league.
Lynch: OVER: This team is built for the playoffs, but they have enough talent to win 50-55 games in the East. They will likely end up somewhere between 45-50 due to rest and other old-team issues, but don’t bet against a lineup of Dragic-Wade-Deng-Bosh-Whiteside with Winslow off the bench.
Charlotte Hornets: 32.5
Denery: OVER: The addition of Batum was huge this offseason but the loss of MKG will make this a close one. However, Batum and Kemba Walker will carry this team to at least 33 wins.
Scott: OVER: I don’t have much confidence in this one either. This team could go either way. But I think the addition of Batum will help aid in lessening the loss of MKG (even though that will hurt them a lot), and Kemba may make enough game winning shots to get them to 33 wins.
Lynch: UNDER: MKG is a huge loss. Kemba is overrated, and Jefferson is past his prime. I don’t think Batum will return to form, and he will likely shoot even worse with less talent around him creating open shots. This team is a mess.
Orlando Magic: 32.5
Denery: OVER: I am a big Tobias Harris fan, as well as Elfrid Payton. These guys will both have huge seasons, as well as Victor Oladipo. Vucevic and Gordon will handle the front court and show a lot of improvement this year. This team is young and hungry and will be good enough to at least get over 32.
Scott: UNDER: This one is hard too. Yeah, they are a fun team to watch, but just because they have had another year to gel doesn’t necessarily mean that they will have a eight game improvement. I guess i’ll have to go with the under (to the dismay of my colleague, Lynch).
Lynch: OVER: 25 wins last year, but everybody’s back and everybody’s better. Oladipo and Payton are lots of fun, and Gordon’s shot is impressing. Another year for Tobias will help and Hezonja might be the dark horse for Rookie of the Year. They’re almost certainly missing the postseason, but I see lots of improvement.