Ready or not, the 2016-17 NBA season is here. Training camps are scheduled to begin in a matter of days, and the first preseason game will tip off October 1 in Vancouver as the Golden State Warriors play the Toronto Raptors.
As is tradition before every NBA season, the Las Vegas Superbook released its win total prediction over/unders for each team:
More from FoxSports
-- The Golden State Warriors' unfathomable number of 66.5 wins is not only one of the highest predictions of all-time, it is 10 more than the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
-- The Philadelphia 76ers! PROCESS = TRUSTED. The laughingstock of the NBA is back to relevance, as its three-year streak as the lowest win total predicted team in the association comes to an end after a !!!17.5!!! win prediction increase. The NBA's cellar dweller honor now belongs to the completely gutted, Linsanity-led Brooklyn Nets.
-- 38.5 projected wins for the New York Knicks equates to about a 38-44 record. Has a "Super Team" ever been this disrespected?
-- With the return of Dante Exum and the additions of George Hill, Joe Johnson, and Boris Diaw to an already stacked roster -- the LV Superbook appears to be all inon the Utah Jazz being a darkhorse playoff contender this year, predicting about an 48-34 record. That's eight more wins than last season.
-- If you're not taking the Boston Celtics seriously as being the Eastern Conference's representative in the Finals, the LV Superbook total of 51.5 would like you to reconsider now while you still can.
-- Parity! While the prospect of a third straight Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Finals is all but inevitable on paper, only five total teams in the league have season win predictions above 50 -- and not a single team in the association is predicted to finish with a record worse than 20-62. Progress!
Picks and analysis (using 10 units as a bankroll):
-- Phoenix Suns: OVER 26.5, 5 units
There's no denying the Suns hit rock bottom last season. Whether it was reported locker room strife among the team's best players, a 23-59 record, a laughably empty arena every single home game, crippling injuries to the team's best players, an underperforming Tyson Chandler who had just signed a massive 4-year $52 million deal or the firing of coach Jeff Hornacek, who was the leader of one of the league's best stories during the 2014-15 campaign -- there was not a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel in the land of the sun.
However, what all of the turmoil last season caused was a nothing-to-lose attitude that enabled coach Earl Watson to give his rookies/young players huge minutes. The result? Devin Booker blossomed from rookie who can shoot when open to a potential Klay Thompson 2.0. Archie Goodwin proved he can be a productive role player in relief of Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight; Alex Len accomplished the impossible by looking competent at times; and P.J. Tucker can 100 percent be the offense/defense workhorse swingman that every successful NBA team requires to complement its superstars.
Add highly touted rookies Dragen Bender and Kentucky Wildcats star Tyler Ulis to the mix -- both of whom turned heads at the NBA's Las Vegas Summer League -- and all of the sudden this Suns team is not a joke anymore.
Phoenix isn't just going to go over the predicted season win total, it''ll be trotting on to the Oracle Arena court for Game 1 of the Western Conference playoffs as the eighth seed when the 2017 postseason begins.
-- Houston Rockets: UNDER 41.5, 2 units
James Harden + no more Dwight Howard + Mike D'Antoni in as the new head coach = POINTS ON POINTS ON POINTS. The problem is, POINTS ON POINTS ON POINTS refers to both on offense and defense. Though the Rockets didn't firesell the entire roster as many believed they would do this summer, this team's defense has the potential to be the (statistically) worst of all-time. Houston is simply not anywhere close to being good enough to retain its playoff position over the likes of the up-and-coming Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns and New Orleans Pelicans. The Rockets will be fun to watch ... as all D'Antoni teams are ... but the Rockets leading the league in pace will simultaneously act as the team's biggest burden, requiring the offense-minded James Harden, Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon to "defend" more than ever. Not a good thing.
-- Toronto Raptors: UNDER 49.5, 1 unit
DeMar DeRozan just got paid $139 million. FORE!!!!!!!!!!!!
-- Dallas Mavericks: UNDER 39.5, 1 unit
This team, for the second year in a row, has absolutely no business being anywhere near the playoffs -- a testament to just how good Rick Carlisle is at his job, how awesome of a leader Dirk Nowitzki is and how Mark Cuban always gets the best out of underdog players. With almost zero depth on the bench other than the electric Justin Anderson, this NBA 2K11 all-star team is one injury away from plummeting to the basement of the Western Conference. Father time is knocking on the door with a search warrant, and the Mavericks can't hide any longer.
-- Minnesota Timberwolves: UNDER 41.5, 1 unit
They're almost here -- and when they arrive, they will likely represent the second coming of the 2012 Kevin Durant/Russell Westbrook/James Harden Oklahoma City Thunder. But not yet. New coah Tom Thibodeau will have the upstart Timberwolves competing in any and every game, but the wins will have to wait one more season in a super-stacked Western Conference.