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NBA Tips - Team-by-team guide to the 2016/17 NBA season

  • Guide to all team's chances in the 2016/17 season
  • Best futures best picked out
Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers

Jackson Oldham previews the 2016/17 NBA season and picks out his best bets for the year.

Futures Bets 

Eastern Conference 

Southeast Division 

Atlanta Hawks 
Expected wins (42). It will be touch and go for a playoff spot this year for the Hawks. Losing their two stars in Al Horford and Jeff Teague will see them drop from their 48-34 record of last season. They did acquire Dwight Howard who will be the barometer of this team. If his locker issues continue from Houston then the Hawks could be a 35 win team however if he works well with promising point guard Dennis Schroder they could push for an 8th place seed in what is a weak Eastern Conference. They do have ok pieces around Dwight in the very underrated Paul Millasp and solid small forward Kent Bazemore who in my opinion got way overpaid, Atlanta also has a very good coach in Mike Budenholzer. Overall though I see this team as just below the middle of the road.
Suggested Bet: Under 43.5 wins

Charlotte Hornets
Expected Wins (41). It wasn’t a good off-season for the Hornets. They lost Jeremy Lin, Al Jefferson and Courtney Lee. They signed Roy Hibbert and Ramon Sessions which are at best in a weak starting five and ok bench players. The Hornets' two main guys, Kembla Walker and Nicolas Batum whilst solid, aren’t anything that will capture anyone's imagination. My main problem with the Hornets is there lack of depth coming off the bench, players like Jeremy Lamb and Spencer Hawkes will need to step up for the Hornets to be playoff contenders in a weak Eastern conference.  
Suggested Bet: No Bet

Miami Heat 
Expected Wins (37). The Miami Heat are about to embark on their first season without Dwyane Wade since 2002, and with Chris Both expected to miss this year's season yet again with health concerns this poses serious problems for the heat. The positives for the Heat is that they have two key pieces in point guard Goran Dragic who just two years ago was named in the all NBA third team, with the absence of Wade, Dragic can now run this offence, the Heat also have big man Hassan Whiteside who if his pre-season is anything to go by is ready to explode, along with the promising young talent of Justice Winslow this team can still stay relevant in playoff contention, however an Eastern Conference finals berth is most certainly out of the question without Chris Bosh. 
Suggested Bet: Over 34.5 wins

Orlando Magic 
Expected wins (33). The Orlando Magics roster is confusing to say the least, they have overloaded with big men in a league that is moving more towards three-point shooting making big men with post moves less significant. They lose Victor Oladipo but gain Serge Ibaka who is a good offensive player, he got phased out of the offence in OKC becoming more of a shot up shooter, this move will give him licence to show his game. This Magic list is mediocre at best and this coupled with new coach Frank Vogel’s plan of using their most promising player Aaron Gordon out of position in the three spot as more of a Paul George role is interesting to say the least. 
Suggested Bet: Under 36.5 Wins

Washington Wizards 
Expected Wins (47). The Wizard season hinges on the chemistry between guards John Wall and Bradley Beal. If Beal can stay healthy and these two can gel together on the court then the Wizards can press winning 50 games and be a contender in the East, this however has been a problem in the past as Wall alluded to over the offseason. The Wizards have also hired new coach Scott Brooks who I believe to be a real asset.
Suggested Bet: Over 43.5 Wins

Central Division 

Chicago Bulls 
Expected Wins (41). There’s no doubting this team has talent, with the core group of Jimmy Butler, Dwayne Wade and Rajon Rondo, however, the problem is obvious, a lack of shooting in the backcourt and can these pieces win games. I’m intrigued to watch the Bulls this season as their good will be very good but their bad might be very bad. This Bulls team is extremely hard to predict. 
Suggested Bet: No Bet

Cleveland Cavaliers
Expected Wins (60). The reigning champs are a lock to win the east. It’s just a matter of how hard Lebron will push in the regular season, his comments over the past six months saying “he’s chasing the ghost that played in Chicago” and calling into question Steph Curry’s MVP win last year suggests to me that he’ll be putting the foot down in the regular season trying to win his fifth regular season MVP. JR Smith is finally playing good team basketball, Kevin Love can finally play without pressure now knowing his future is safe in Cleveland and Kyrie will only get better. Don’t expect a championship slump when Lebron James is the leader of your team. They don’t need to be the number one seed to win the East but I suspect they will be.
Suggested Bet: Over 56.5 Wins

Detroit Pistons 
Expected Wins (46). The Pistons were in good shape to really progress in this Eastern Conference, however, with pointguard Reggie Jackson expected to miss the first 20 games I don’t see a huge amount of improvement in the Win-Loss column this year. However in his two years as headcoach Stan Van Gundy has improved this team by 15 wins, taking them from 29 to 44 wins. I expect all star numbers from Andre Drummond who is only 23 years old but can carry this team to a 4th or 5th seed in the East. 
Suggested Bet: Over 45.5 wins

Indiana Pacers 
Expected Wins (50). I love the way this Pacers team sets up, Paul George is a legitimate superstar in this league, expect him to have a huge season. It was a big offseason for the Pacers who acquired Al Jefferson and Jeff Teague who will both provide an offensive boost. As long as this team can mesh they’re my wildcard pick for a top three seed in the East. 
Suggested Bet: Over 44.5 wins

Milwaukee Bucks 
Expected Wins (35). The Bucks are no doubt an interesting team this season. Kris Middleton going down and being out indefinitely hurts them significantly, however I feel they can still gain ground from last season and pick up a few more wins. The Bucks have acquired Matthew Dellavedova who gets his chance to finally be a starting pointguard and I think it’s the perfect fit. Last season ‘Point Giannis’ was running the floor, now having a pass first pointguard who can knock down an open shot is perfect for both Giannis Antetokoumpo and the Milwaukee Bucks, Jabari Parker now enters his third season in the league and this team looks promising. 
Suggested Bet: No bet 

Atlantic Division 

Boston Celtics 
Expected Wins (52). The Celtics are simply doing everything right at the moment. During free agency they went out and got the second best player on the market in Al Horford who will complent Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley perfectly. I really like the depth the Celtics have with Marcus Smart, Gerald Green and Kelly Olynyk all coming off the bench and playing quality minutes. They also have in my opinion one of the best coaches in the league Brad Stevens who has taken this team from strength to strength. They are a team to watch, unfortunately the betting market has gotten this spot on making the Celtics a no bet.
Suggested Bet: No Bet 

Brooklyn Nets 
Expected Wins (17). The Nets have no incentive to tank this season as the Celtics own their pick. But the Nets roster is just that bad. Brook Lopez and Jeremy Lin are the two shining lights in an otherwise bleak at best team. I think anywhere between 16-20 wins is about where the Nets are, they may take a few meaningless wins late in the season against teams who may be tanking or resting a lot of players.
Suggested Bet: Under 20.5 Wins
New York Knicks 
Expected Wins (44). The New York Knicks will be nothing if not interesting this season. They’ve picked up Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah in what people are dubbing the super team of 2011. Yes the Knicks aren’t a super team and certainly won’t be contending for a title anytime soon but this team is far from mediocre. Carmelo Anthony is an offense stud along with Noah, Rose and Kristaps Porzingis I’m confident they will win more games than they lose. Brandon Jennings coming off the bench is also a huge asset. I thought Joe Public would be all over this team inflating the win total however this is not the case.  
Suggested Bet: Over 39.5 Wins

Philadelphia 76ers 
Expected Wins (16). There is finally light at the end of the tunnel for the 76ers, however that is a long long way away. The future is certainly there with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Jahill Okafor. This season's expectations should be low, very low. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are both yet to play in a NBA game, Simmons is out until at least January with a broken foot. Whilst they are heading the right direction, next season will be more of the same for the 76ers.  
Suggested Bet: Under 23.5 Wins

Toronto Raptors 
Expected Wins (49). Last season was a fairytale season for the Raptors, they finished with a franchise record 56 wins and made it all the way to the Eastern Conference finals. Now the expectations are high for them to repeat this and I believe unfairly so. Everything went right last season for the Raptors, it all fell into place. They got weaker over the offseason losing depth off the bench in Bismack Biyombo and Luis Scola whilst other teams in the Eastern Conference got stronger. I’m expecting around an 7-10 game drop in wins this season. 
Suggested Bet: Under 51.5 Wins

Western Conference 

Pacific Divison 

Golden State Warriors 
Expected Wins (64). On the surface, my 63 expected wins may seem strange. The Warriors have just come off a record 73-9 season and they’ve just added superstar and former league MVP Kevin Durant, how could this team be ten games worse? The answer is simple, whether they will admit it or not going for the record of 73 wins last season hindered their main goal of winning an NBA championship. Steve Kerr and Co will be extremely diligent in resting players and managing them through the rigors of an 82-game season. Another factor is bringing a superstar in Durant brings with it Chemistry issues, I cannot seeing being a major issue it will certainly be a factor for 20-30 games. The Warriors also lose depth trading Andrew Bogut and Harrison Barnes to make room for Durant.
Suggested Bet: Under 66.5 Wins

LA Clippers 
Expected Wins (57). It’s time. This Clippers team has promised so much and delivered so little. It’s hard to believe a team with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan has never made the conference finals. I’m buying into the hype, it’s the make or break year. Blake Griffin has everything to prove after a disaster 2015-16 season, I’m expecting Griffin to be a force, with no Durant at OKC this opens the door for the Clippers to make it through to the Western Conference finals, anything less will be a fail and more than likely will mean Chris Paul will have a new home in 2017. 
Suggested Bet: Over 53.5 Wins

Los Angeles Lakers 
Expected Wins (22). The Kobe era is over and the future looks bright in Lakerland. Expect a lot of growing pains this season with D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle trying to cement themselves as future stars of this league and promising rookie Brandon Ingram finding his feet. Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov will provide much needed experience down low, however, I don’t think the Mozgov deal was positive for the Lakers considering his price. Look for some flashes of brilliance from this young laker team but that’s about all this season. 
Suggested Bet: Under 24.5 Wins

Sacramento Kings 
Expected Wins (28). The Kings look determined to do whatever they can do upset and anger their star player DeMarcus Cousins. The Kings had the 8th pick in the draft but instead traded it to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for the 13th & 28th picks, they then proceeded to draft a centre with the 13th pick despite already having three centres on the roster one of which being DeMarcus Cousins. With Rudy Gay and Cousins already not on great terms I can see this season spiralling out of control for the Kings if they’re not careful and Cousins could be out the door by seasons end. Whilst Cousins will produce great numbers again I see this being a disaster season for Sacramento 
Suggested Bet: Under 31.5 Wins

Phoenix Suns 
Expected wins (29). At least the Suns will be fun to watch, over the past few seasons they’ve adopted a ‘Who needs defence?’. Mentality which while this doesn’t win basketball games provides somewhat entertaining viewing. I really like youngster Devin Booker, the return of Eric Bledsoe will mean more open looks for Booker and better numbers, I think Booker is a future star and I’m very excited to watch him. Unfortunately for the Suns there isn’t much else they have going for them.
Suggested Bet: No Bet 

Southwest Division 

Dallas Mavericks 
Expected wins (38). Credit where credits due, Mark Cuban keeps finding a way to keep this Mavericks team relevant, asking a 38-year-old Dirk to be the best player on a playoff team is a big ask, he’s been proving people wrong for two or three years now by consistently making the playoffs however I see that coming to an end this season. Harrison Barnes is expected to be Nowitzki’s right hand man taking a bulk of the scoring load, I don’t see this being the case. Barnes’ numbers in Golden State were solid, but he was getting all open looks, here in Dallas he will have to play a more one on one style game which he is yet to prove he can do. 
Suggested Bet: No bet 

Houston Rockets 
Expected Wins (47). If this Rockets team can play defence, then they can contend and possibly make it past the first round of the playoffs. This is a big if for a team coached by Mike D’Antoni. One things for certain, James Harden will be an offensive juggernaut and will put himself in MVP contention. With the worry of Dwight Howard gone this team sits firmly on Harden’s shoulders and he seems ready and willing to take control. I think the Rockets will surprise some people this season and wouldn’t be shocked to see them give a few teams a scare come playoff time.
Suggested Bet: Over 44.5 wins

Memphis Grizzlies 
Expected Wins (41). The Grizzlies come into this season with some unknowns. Chandler Parsons and Marc Gasol are both coming off injuries, Parsons is likely to the first week or two of the season, if these two guys play the season out then the Grizzlies probably scrape into the playoffs, if not then they probably miss. Expecting big things from Mike Conley, he’d want to be putting up all-star numbers to prove he was worth the big money. 
Suggested Bet: No Bet 

New Orleans Pelicans 
Expected Wins (32). The two main factors for the Pelicans is keeping Anthony Davis on the court, he hasn’t played 70 games in a season yet which is an obvious concern. His production was slightly down last season and the Pelicans will look for him to return to the force that he was in 2014. Jrue Holiday is out indefinitely pending his wife’s brain surgery, the Pelicans will miss him dearly and the sooner he comes back the better for them. Unfortunately for the Pelicans they just don’t have the pieces to build around Davis yet. Playoffs are not a realistic goal this season.
Suggested Bet: Under 35.5 Wins

San Antonio Spurs 
Expected Wins (59). Even with Tim Duncan retired this Spurs team still has a formidable roster. LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard both have a lot to prove this season after their quiet exit in the playoffs last year. The addition of Pau Gasol is a big positive. My only concern for this Spurs team is defense down low, Gasol and Aldridge both aren’t great defenders and this is where Duncan will be sorely missed. 
Suggested Bet: No Bet 

Northwest Division 

Denver Nuggets 
Expected Wins (35). Probably the team I’m least confident on. This roster contains more questions than answers. Can you really push .500 with Danilo Gallinari as your best player? Will Jokic and Mudiay step up? I do like Will Barton as a future NBA starter, one thing for certain, the Nuggets as always will look to push the pace and make games high scoring affairs. 
Suggested Bet: No bet 

Minnesota Timberwolves
Expected wins (39). No team has more hype around them than the Minnesota Timberwolves, they have recruited one of the best coaches in the business Tom Thibodeau, they have the last two rookies of the year in future NBA superstar Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins and exciting prospects Zach Lavine and Kris Dunn. The Timberwolves have the brightest future of any team in the league. The bookmakers have them winning 12.5 more games this season, those expectations seems a little lofty to me. 
Suggested Bet: Under 41.5 games

Oklahoma City Thunder 
Expected Wins (45). Beware of an angry Russell Westbrook. With Durant leaving this team it is obvious they are no longer championship contenders, but that is not to say they’re not a playoff team with a solid roster. Westbrook will play like a man possessed, Victor Oladipo has been the man forgotten in all of this, he’s no scrub and will compliment Westbrook well, along with the big man combination of Kanter and Steven Adams OKC are still deserving of a playoff spot.
Suggested Bet: No Bet

Portland Trail Blazers 
Expected Wins (46). The Blazers defied all odds last season to not only make the playoffs but make it all the way to the Western Conference finals, I expected a similar regular season to last for the Blazers, and whilst they have an elite backcourt in Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum how much help do these guys have? They need a third star to go to the next level. 
Suggested Bet: No Bet 

Utah Jazz 
Expected Wins (52). I’m expecting big things from this Jazz team, they have great defence lead by the league's best rim protector Rudy Gobert. I really like young gun Rodney Hood and once Dante Exum gets out onto the court that duo plus Gordon Hayward will make a formidable lineup, they also have depth galore with Joe Johnson and Alec Burkes coming off the bench. At a minimum the Jazz must make the playoffs this season. 
Suggested Bet: Over 47.5 Wins


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NBA Tips - Team-by-team guide to the 2016/17 NBA season

Jackson Oldham previews the 2016/17 NBA season and picks out his best bets for the year.

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