Every NBA Team's Win-Loss Predictions After Full 2022-23 Schedule Release

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured Columnist IVAugust 17, 2022

Every NBA Team's Win-Loss Predictions After Full 2022-23 Schedule Release

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    With the NBA's schedule released and most of the offseason's transactions behind us, it's safe to wade into prediction season.

    Some questions remain, of course. Without knowing if, when or where Donovan Mitchell, Kevin Durant and a few others might be traded, win totals for the Utah Jazz, Brooklyn Nets and others are hard to nail down.

    For the most part, though, we have enough information to at least make some educated guesses, which is exactly what follows.

    With some early over-unders from FanDuel as something of a guide, here are some conservative estimates for the records of all 30 teams.

Atlanta Hawks (47-35)

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    Over-Under: 45.5

    After suffering a 4-1 first-round pummeling at the hands of the Miami Heat, the Atlanta Hawks made an all-in trade for one of the game's best (and perhaps most underrated) point guards.

    Beyond registering the first season in NBA history in which a player averaged at least 20 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and two steals, Murray ranked in the 95th percentile in Dunks and Threes' estimated plus-minus (EPM is one of the league's most trusted catch-all metrics).

    Adding his high usage and assist rates to those of Trae Young (who ranked in the 98th percentile in EPM) is a bold experiment. As the old saying goes, there's only one basketball. But both averaging 17.2 potential assists last season suggests unselfishness.

    Both will have to spend more time off the ball than they're used to, but consider the prediction that they'll threaten 50 wins a vote of confidence in their ability to adjust.

    Beyond the All-Star backcourt, Atlanta returns a lot of talent at the forward and big positions, too. De'Andre Hunter, John Collins and Clint Capela round out what could be one of the league's better starting fives. Bogdan Bogdanovic and Onyeka Okongwu are a strong top two for the bench, as well.

    The only sources of hesitation here are the amount of time it might take Murray and Young to adapt to each other and the improvement of other teams in the East.

Boston Celtics (52-30)

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    Over-Under: 56.5

    The players jettisoned by the Boston Celtics this offseason (Aaron Nesmith, Daniel Theis, Malik Fitts, Nik Stauskas and Juwan Morgan) barely combined for 1,000 minutes last season.

    All the most important rotation players from the East's 2022 Finals representative are back, and they're now joined by Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari.

    So, why only one more win than last season?

    Development from Grant Williams should help, but there's no guarantee 36-year-old Al Horford will be the picture of durability he was in 2021-22. After all, that season came on the heels of nearly a full year of rest with the Oklahoma City Thunder. This one follows a deep playoff run.

    The other factor is just a general sense of conservatism that should accompany a prediction like this. It's hard to win 50 games in the NBA, and the Eastern Conference boasts multiple potential title contenders, including the Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets and the Toronto Raptors in Boston's division.

    We probably haven't seen the end of the ascensions from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Marcus Smart is still in his prime. And Robert Williams III is one of the league's underrated wild cards, but Boston will now have more of a target on its back. And parity is increasing throughout the league.

Brooklyn Nets (48-34)

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    Over-Under: 45.5

    If there was some way to measure the uncertainty that comes along with durability—or lack thereof—and discontent, the Brooklyn Nets would almost certainly lead the league (with apologies to the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers).

    Kevin Durant recently added an ultimatum to his trade request. Kyrie Irving reportedly asked for language in his contract that would allow him to play no more than 60 games. His response to the report could be interpreted as him saying "cap," which means false, for the uninitiated.

    A11Even @KyrieIrving

    <a href="https://t.co/fT4gHtsHlS">pic.twitter.com/fT4gHtsHlS</a>

    Then there's Ben Simmons, who missed all of 2021-22 with health concerns, physical and otherwise.

    Brooklyn's three highest paid players enter 2022-23 surrounded by questions. There's no way to know if they'll ever share the floor.

    And yet, the talent of that trio is undeniable. It's backed up by a supporting cast that fits well, too. Joe Harris, Seth Curry and Patty Mills are high-end, high-volume three-point shooters. Nic Claxton is a budding rim-runner.

    If everyone's committed and available, the Nets have championship upside. That's just such a massive if.

Charlotte Hornets (37-45)

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    Over-Under: 37.5

    After pleading not guilty in his mid-July arraignment on felony domestic violence charges, Miles Bridges is in the early stages of a legal process that clouds his future with the Charlotte Hornets and the NBA.

    Without him on the roster, it's hard to imagine much forward momentum for this team. He led the 2021-22 Hornets in scoring, and they had a negative point differential when he was off the floor.

    Those are far from the biggest concerns in this situation, but that is what Charlotte is facing.

    That means more responsibility for rising star LaMelo Ball and veteran Gordon Hayward. The former, who ranked in the 91st percentile in EPM, taking a leap in his third season wouldn't be surprising. The latter needs to stay relatively healthy to help his team. Hayward's averaged fewer than 50 appearances per season for the last three years.

    If he is on the floor a decent amount and Charlotte commits to a streamlined, uptempo brand of ball spearheaded by Ball in transition, the Hornets should remain competitive.

    Going beyond that will likely require another strong scoring season from Terry Rozier and a significant improvement from Cody Martin and Jalen McDaniels.

Chicago Bulls (44-38)

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    Over-Under: 44.5

    DeMar DeRozan having what may have been the best season of his career at age 32 was a huge part of the Chicago Bulls winning 46 games.

    There certainly could replicate his 2021-22 success, but at least a slight regression from the post-prime scorer would be a safer bet.

    That in concert with Nikola Vucevic's aging and questions about the durability of Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso is enough to predict relative stagnation for Chicago.

    But there's certainly a path toward improvement.

    Theoretically, Zach LaVine is just entering his prime, and he's in all-time great volume scoring stretch. Over the past two seasons, he's averaged 25.8 points with a 57.4 effective field-goal percentage. There are only nine other players in league history who matched or exceeded both marks in a two-year stretch.

    If he maintains that level of scoring or slightly improves, the Bulls get some development from Patrick Williams, and Andre Drummond and Goran Dragic add reliability to the bench, Chicago could threaten the 50-win threshold.

Cleveland Cavaliers (46-36)

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    Over-Under: 41.5

    Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen both had massive breakouts in 2021-22. Kevin Love, who'll turn 34 in September, had his best season since 2013-14, at least according to Basketball Reference's box plus/minus. Lauri Markkanen posted his own career-high in BPM and worked better as a 3 than just about anyone could've imagined.

    Through a certain lens, it feels like everything came together almost perfectly for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who finished last season with 44 wins. Checking all those boxes again might be tough.

    But the other perspective is that terrible injury luck down the stretch derailed one of the season's best stories. Garland, Allen and Markkanen are all pre-prime. Expecting improvement from Rookie of the Year contender Evan Mobley is hardly a stretch. A full offseason and training camp with Caris LeVert should help him fit in better, too.

    The strength of the East's contenders tempers this prediction a bit, but the Cavaliers should at least be a little better than they were in 2021-22.

Dallas Mavericks (50-32)

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    Over-Under: 48.5

    Despite the loss of Jalen Brunson, who finished third on the Dallas Mavericks in Dunks and Threes' estimated wins, there's a real chance the team could be better next season.

    Luka Doncic has played like an MVP for three years, but he's only 23. He can still take some strides as a shooter and defender. Spencer Dinwiddie isn't far removed from an individual campaign that was arguably better than Brunson's 2021-22. Christian Wood arrives as a three-and-D big who's averaged 19.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.9 threes and 1.0 blocks over the past two seasons. And there are still some floor-spacing forwards in Dorian Finney-Smith, Reggie Bullock and Maxi Kleber who look like near-ideal glue guys.

    Oh, and Tim Hardaway Jr. should be back, too.

    Being better doesn't always equal more wins, though. And with Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers set to receive massive influxes of talent from Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr., Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, getting to 50 wins in the West will be no small feat.

    Luka and the rest of this supporting cast is good enough to assume the Mavs will hit that mark.

Denver Nuggets (52-30)

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    Over-Under: 50.5

    Even with Jamal Murray out for all of 2021-22 and Michael Porter Jr. missing all but nine games, the Denver Nuggets had a point differential around that of a 62-win team when two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic was on the floor.

    With Murray (career playoff averages of 24.3 points, 5.8 assists and 2.7 threes) and MPJ (19.0 points and 2.8 threes with a 44.5 three-point percentage in 2020-21) back, Denver figures to be in the hunt for the league's best offense. Development from better-than-expected rookie Bones Hyland should also help on that front.

    But the biggest change that could push Denver toward the best record in the Western Conference is the boost it found in wing defense this offseason. Aaron Gordon was under a ton of pressure on that end in 2021-22, but he now has Bruce Brown, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and maybe even Christian Braun to shoulder some of that load.

Detroit Pistons (27-55)

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    Over-Under: 27.5

    There's a serious temptation to have the Detroit Pistons improve by even more than the four games granted here, but giving wins to one team means taking some away from others. This is a tricky exercise.

    Still, even if the record isn't dramatically different, expect the Pistons to be more competitive in 2022-23.

    Of course, that has a lot to do with expected development from Cade Cunningham, who averaged 17.4 points, 5.6 assists and 5.5 rebounds as a rookie, but he's not the only reason for optimism.

    Incoming guard Jaden Ivey has the kind of high-impact slashing game that can pull defenders away from the perimeter, which should give Cunningham more room to operate. Saddiq Bey has shown some potential as a floor-spacing forward. Even Killian Hayes is off to an encouraging start as a playmaker—even if his shot-making is a mess.

    Lonzo Ball is the only player in league history who matched or exceeded Hayes' marks for assists, rebounds, steals and blocks per 75 possessions through an age-20 season.

Golden State Warriors (52-30)

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    Over-Under: 52.5

    Klay Thompson's recovery and a midseason injury to Draymond Green prevented the Golden State Warriors from having their core complete for much of the regular season, but they reminded everyone of their ceiling in the playoffs.

    In 455 postseason minutes, the trio had a plus-6.8 net rating en route to winning the title.

    Now, with a full offseason of health and recovery, those three should be able to spend more time together in 2022-23. And when supplemented by Andrew Wiggins and Kevon Looney, Golden State should have one of the best starting lineups in the league.

    If Donte DiVincenzo can have a bounce-back season and the Warriors get developmental strides from Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody and James Wiseman, they'll compete for the best record in the league.

    What could really set them apart, though, is continued ascension from Jordan Poole. After finishing fourth in Most Improved Player of the Year voting, Poole averaged 17.0 points and 2.3 three-pointers while shooting 39.1 percent from long range in his playoff debut.

    If he keeps up that level of production in 2022-23, Poole will have the inside track on Sixth Man of the Year.

Houston Rockets (19-63)

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    Over-Under: 23.5

    The Houston Rockets are going to lose a lot of games in 2022-23. That should come as little surprise to anyone, but they also have the potential to be a League Pass darling.

    Beyond No. 3 pick Jabari Smith Jr., who looked better than expected on defense in summer league, Houston boasts several young players with star or borderline-star potential.

    Over his last 25 games as a rookie, Jalen Green averaged 22.0 points and 3.2 threes while shooting 39.3 percent from deep. All season, he showcased high-end athleticism that sets him apart from most of the game's 2s.

    With Christian Wood gone, Green should be joined in the starting five by fellow 2021 draftee Alperen Şengün, who possesses an intriguing blend of big-man skills and passing ability. Last season, he averaged 9.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.4 steals per 75 possessions, and he was also above-average as a scorer in the post.

    If Kevin Porter Jr. can build on what he did last season (6.2 assists and 2.5 threes, with a 37.5 three-point percentage) and tie everything together as the primary facilitator, this team could frustrate a lot of contenders down the stretch.

Indiana Pacers (23-59)

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    Over-Under: 22.5

    The Indiana Pacers scored at a blistering rate of 119.3 points per 100 possessions when Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield shared the floor.

    But those same lineups gave up even more points on the other end, and beyond the hope for better health from Myles Turner, there really isn't much defensive help on the way.

    Still, if Turner's presence around the rim can at least push this team closer to average defense, Indiana should have a good shot at clearing its uninspiring over-under.

    Going further than that probably depends on one or two prospects being better than expected. Aaron Nesmith and Jalen Smith may be candidates there, but Bennedict Mathurin is the one who's really intriguing.

    The incoming rookie and Pac-12 Player of the Year showed the ability to space the floor and finish above the rim at Arizona. If he can score with close to the same kind of efficiency he did in college (59.0 true shooting percentage), Indiana might surprise some teams.

Los Angeles Clippers (51-31)

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    Over-Under: 53.5

    Injuries have limited the duo of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard to 2,666 regular and postseason minutes over three seasons together, but the Los Angeles Clippers have dominated those situations.

    When both are on the floor, L.A. is plus-11.3 points per 100 possessions. If they stay relatively healthy, 50 wins feels like a gimme.

    That's a bigger assumption with this team than it would be for most others, though.

    Leonard hasn't played more than 60 games in a season since 2016-17. He missed all of last year with a torn ACL. He's almost singlehandedly responsible for the popularization of the phrase "load management."

    George, meanwhile, has averaged just 44.3 appearances per season since he joined the Clippers.

    This team has star power and good depth, especially with the offseason addition of another injury-plagued star in John Wall, but there are just too many potential pitfalls to feel confident in them reaching 54 or more wins.

Los Angeles Lakers (44-38)

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    Over-Under: 45.5

    Some Los Angeles Lakers fans might chalk the debacle of last season up to injuries, but LeBron James and Anthony Davis becoming more durable while getting older might be a foolish bet.

    And even when those two and Russell Westbrook were available, the on-court product wasn't great.

    When all three stars were on the floor, L.A. was minus-3.0 points per 100 possessions—a point differential around that of a 37-win team.

    With the lack of shooting within the trio, this just isn't a good fit.

    Add in a far-from-proven supporting cast headlined by Kendrick Nunn, Lonnie Walker IV, Austin Reaves, Talen Horton-Tucker and Thomas Bryant, and the Lakers could be in for another disappointing season barring a big trade, of course.

Memphis Grizzlies (50-32)

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    Over-Under: 48.5

    The oddsmakers at FanDuel are forecasting a pretty significant slide for the Memphis Grizzlies, who won 56 games and finished second in the West last season.

    It's not terribly difficult to see why, as Memphis thoroughly exceeded expectations in 2021-22. The law of averages alone suggests a regression could be on the way, but the Grizzlies added to that by parting ways with De'Anthony Melton and Kyle Anderson.

    Those two were fifth and seventh, respectively, among Memphis players in minutes played last season, and they're ostensibly being replaced by rookies Jake LaRavia and David Roddy. That signals a great deal of trust in the team's developmental prowess, but there's no doubt those rookies are less proven than Melton and Anderson.

    Still, the Grizzlies are returning All-NBA guard Ja Morant and the rest of a starting five that should be one of the best in the NBA.

    And with Morant, Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. all presumably still developing, there's reason to believe the team can get better.

Miami Heat (49-33)

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    Over-Under: 49.5

    The Miami Heat more than survived 25 absences from Jimmy Butler last season—not to mention 19 more from Kyle Lowry—but losing P.J. Tucker and mostly standing still in free agency while others in the East improved should make that tougher in 2022-23.

    Since Butler has only topped 60 appearances in one of his past five seasons and Lowry is entering his age-36 campaign, playing in survival mode will probably be on the table again.

    Improvements from 22-year-old Tyler Herro and 25-year-old Bam Adebayo should help, but Miami might need more than that to repeat as the East's top regular-season team.

    Nikola Jovic, Caleb Martin or Max Strus exceeding expectations could be in play, but it's far from a given.

Milwaukee Bucks (52-30)

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    Over-Under: 53.5

    In 2021-22, the Milwaukee Bucks looked very comfortable with the post-championship cruise control that a lot of title defenders enter.

    Though they were eliminated earlier than expected in the 2022 playoffs—partly because Khris Middleton suffered an injury during the first round—it wouldn't be surprising to see them flip on the cruise again in 2022-23.

    From here on out, Giannis Antetokounmpo-led teams will be judged on what they do in the postseason, and that's especially true right now.

    He's surrounded by a championship-caliber supporting cast, and if they're healthy, they'll be tough to beat in a seven-game series.

    During their two years together (regular and postseason), Giannis, Jrue Holiday and Middleton are plus-12.2 points per 100 possessions when they share the floor.

Minnesota Timberwolves (48-34)

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    Over-Under: 47.5

    There was an awful lot of hand-wringing over the Minnesota Timberwolves' decision to send four draft picks, an incoming rookie and multiple rotation players to the Utah Jazz for Rudy Gobert, and it's not hard to see why.

    That's a massive haul for a 30-year-old rim protector who's on a contract set to pay him $46.7 million in 2025-26.

    But the Timberwolves already have two No. 1 picks on the roster in Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards. Jaden McDaniels was a top-10 recruit in his high school class. There's a lot of blue-chip talent on the roster, and after giving those three a taste of the postseason in 2022, a win-now move makes sense.

    Gobert does the things Towns struggles with, particularly rim protection. Towns does the things Gobert struggles with, namely shooting, self-creation and old-school post play. With the success that two-big lineups had in Boston and Cleveland last season, it's easy to get excited about this one.

    And if Edwards' ascension continues after he 25.2 points and 3.8 threes in his playoff debut, there should be enough perimeter creation between him and D'Angelo Russell.

    Combine all of the above with solid role players and specialists like Kyle Anderson, Taurean Prince, Naz Reid, Bryn Forbes and Austin Rivers, and it isn't hard to imagine this team threatening 50 wins.

New Orleans Pelicans (45-37)

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    Over-Under: 43.5

    The sample isn't huge since CJ McCollum didn't come over till February, but the New Orleans Pelicans were plus-7.2 points per 100 possessions when he, Brandon Ingram and rookie defensive sensation Herbert Jones shared the floor.

    Now imagine adding Zion Williamson—one of the most efficient, high-volume scorers of all time—to that mix.

    Williamson's 61.0 effective field-goal percentage isn't just first among the 16 players in league history with a career scoring average over 25, but it's also 6.4 points clear of second-place Kevin Durant.

    With his dynamic point-forward/drive-and-kick/slashing/indescribable game boring a hole in defenses down the middle of the floor, McCollum, Ingram and other perimeter threats are going to have precious extra time outside.

    Jonas Valanciunas' career 35.9 three-point percentage suggests he can share the floor with Zion, too. In fact, in a lot of situations, it might be ideal. With Valanciunas' ability to stretch the floor, traditional bigs will be dragged out to the three-point line, leaving wider lanes to the rim for Zion.

    Of course, a lot of this could be moot if injuries continue to plague Williamson. Through his first three seasons, he's averaged 28.3 games per year. And of course, he missed all of 2021-22.

    The worry isn't strong enough to predict New Orleans going under its FanDuel win total, but it makes 50 feel like a stretch.

New York Knicks (40-42)

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    Over-Under: 39.5

    The New York Knicks' offseason still feels stuck in a state of limbo. The additions of Jalen Brunson and Isaiah Hartenstein should help, but until a Donovan Mitchell trade is finalized, the summer feels incomplete.

    Assuming it never happens, New York improving on the 37 wins it totaled in 2021-22 feels like a fairly safe bet.

    Last season, the Knicks were minus-12.6 points per 100 possessions when Kemba Walker, RJ Barrett and Julilus Randle shared the floor. They were plus-1.3 when Barrett and Randle played without Kemba.

    With Brunson set to slide into Walker's role, it feels like the second number should be easier to come by. And Brunson isn't the only reason for optimism.

    Hartenstein is a versatile 5 who can rim-run, pass, rebound, block shots and pick up steals. New York now has one of the best backup centers in the league behind Mitchell Robinson. And a second unit led by him and Immanuel Quickley could be one of the better ones in the league.

    There is some intriguing potential with Quentin Grimes and Cam Reddish on the wings, too. Along with Barrett, the Knicks may now have enough players to try some more positionless lineups.

Oklahoma City Thunder (18-64)

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    Over-Under: 24.5

    The prediction that the Oklahoma City Thunder will fall seven wins shy of their over isn't necessarily a vote of no confidence in the core. It's more about optimism for others in the West and a hunch that OKC is still a year or two away from consistently competitive basketball.

    On long-term talent alone, this team has one of the most interesting rosters in the league.

    With Josh Giddey, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Aleksej Pokusevski and Chet Holmgren, the Thunder can deploy lineups with plus passers at four of the five positions.

    Holmgren and Luguentz Dort will have plenty of possessions in which they make scoring difficult for the opposition, too.

    The key to hitting that over-under as early as this season may be whether two or three of those guys join SGA as an average to above-average shooter.

Orlando Magic (25-57)

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    Over-Under: 25.5

    Of the teams that used a top-three pick in this year's draft, the Orlando Magic provide the most temptation for taking the over.

    They were plus-4.0 points per 100 possessions when Wendell Carter Jr., Franz Wagner and Gary Harris shared the floor last season, and now they're adding the defense of Jonathan Isaac and the scoring of Paolo Banchero to the mix.

    There are three intriguing young players in Jalen Suggs, Cole Anthony and Markelle Fultz on the roster, too.

    If two or three of the up-and-comers exceed expectations, a high-20s win total is in play.

Philadelphia 76ers (51-31)

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    Over-Under: 50.5

    Much has been made of James Harden's playoff struggles over the years. His 25 points on 9-of-22 shooting over the Philadelphia 76ers' final two losses in the 2022 playoffs didn't help on that front.

    Overall, though, there's plenty to be encouraged about from his short time with the Sixers.

    In the regular and postseason, Philadelphia was plus-12.8 points per 100 possessions when Harden shared the floor with Joel Embiid. That number crept up to 13.7 when Tobias Harris was added to the mix.

    Now that Daryl Morey has had an offseason with which to surround those three with more three-and-D role players—namely De'Anthony Melton, Danuel House Jr. and P.J. Tucker—Harden should feel even more at home.

Phoenix Suns (52-30)

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    Over-Under: 53.5

    Expecting the Phoenix Suns to plummet from 64 wins to 52 feels like a stretch, but it's not without precedent.

    In 2014-15, the Atlanta Hawks won 60 games in the regular season and then got annihilated by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. The next season, with most of its key pieces back on the roster, Atlanta went 48-34.

    With as good as the West appears to be in 2022-23, we may end up looking back on the 2021-22 Suns as a similar situation.

    Chris Paul is entering his age-37 campaign, and there may be some lingering discontent from Deandre Ayton after a prickly free-agent period. On the court, other teams around the league may use a Mavericks-like spread offense to attack Phoenix in the way that got them destroyed in Games 6 and 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals.

    Then again, this could all be a gross overreaction to one series. Ayton, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson are all nearing their primes. Maybe the disappointment of the 2022 playoffs is just the fuel they needed to get to the next level.

Portland Trail Blazers (38-44)

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    Over-Under: 38.5

    Just having Damian Lillard available for most of the season should push the Portland Trail Blazers well past last season's total of 27 wins.

    Re-signing Anfernee Simons may mean Portland will have one of the same key problems it's had for much of the Lillard era, as they're still small in the backcourt and don't have a ton of defensive upside there.

    The front office certainly tried to address the problem with the additions of Gary Payton II and Jerami Grant, but there figures to be plenty of shared minutes between Lillard and Simons.

    And though Jusuf Nurkic is at least a solid defender when healthy, he's not the kind of rim-protecting force that can erase that shortcoming.

Sacramento Kings (37-45)

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    Over-Under: 33.5

    The Sacramento Kings were minus-2.7 points per 100 possessions when Domantas Sabonis and De'Aaron Fox shared the floor, but that's only a post-trade deadline sample, and the duo will be surrounded a stronger supporting cast in 2022-23.

    Beyond an offseason of development for Davion Mitchell, the Kings now have Malik Monk and Kevin Huerter offering depth on the wings. And Keegan Murray is another potential star who can fit in flexible forward combos with Harrison Barnes.

    Murray, the No. 4 pick in the draft, averaged 23.5 points on 15.8 shots for Iowa in 2021-22. His 15.7 BPM trailed only those of Zion Williamson and Anthony Davis among freshmen and sophomores.

    In summer-league action in both California and Las Vegas, Murray looked about as comfortable as anyone, including those with NBA experience.

    If Murray plays well enough to compete for Rookie of the Year in this loaded class, the Kings could push toward the play-in range of the West.

San Antonio Spurs (16-66)

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    Over-Under: 22.5

    The San Antonio Spurs entered the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes in earnest this summer.

    They didn't just trade their 25-year-old All-Star point guard to the Hawks. They traded him for draft picks and a player (Danilo Gallinari) that they promptly bought out.

    They're now on track for a lot more minutes without Murray and Jakob Poeltl on the floor, and their point differential in those situations was minus-7.6 last season.

    Of course, there are still some San Antonio players worth watching.

    Keldon Johnson just averaged 17.0 points and shot 39.8 percent from three in his age-22 campaign. Devin Vassell looks like a potential three-and-D threat. And rookie Jeremy Sochan could be a Swiss Army knife-like big man.

Toronto Raptors (48-34)

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    Over-Under: 45.5

    The Toronto Raptors are another team that could be better without necessarily having a better record than they did in 2021-22.

    Stronger rosters for Atlantic Division rivals like the Celtics, Knicks and Raptors should make it harder to get to 50 wins this season, but Toronto will still push toward that mark.

    Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam are in their primes and bring championship pedigree to the table. OG Anunoby has now had three seasons to grow into his post-Kawhi role. And perhaps most importantly, Scottie Barnes is entering Year 2.

    The 2021-22 Rookie of the Year looks like an ideal forward for the modern NBA. He's 6'9", can guard up and down opposing lineups, creates for others and scores at all three levels. If he's developed some consistency from three this offseason, he could be a borderline All-Star as early as this season.

Utah Jazz (29-53)

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    Over-Under: 31.5

    The Donovan Mitchell trade domino still seems to be wobbling. If it ever falls over, the Utah Jazz would likely look to move other veterans like Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic and Jordan Clarkson.

    And in that universe, the Jazz might struggle to get to 20 wins. But even if the roster is essentially set for 2022-23, we can probably expect a pretty significant drop-off for Utah.

    Over the course of Mitchell's career (regular and postseason), the Jazz are plus-7.5 points per 100 possessions when he and Rudy Gobert were both on the floor, plus-10.3 when Gobert played without Mitchell and plus-0.1 when Mitchell played without Gobert.

    Of course, most of the players that came over in the Gobert deal (Jarred Vanderbilt, Patrick Beverley and Malik Beasley) have proven some things in the league. And if they can push a Mitchell-led team to an above-zero point differential, Utah should probably hover around .500.

    But the Jazz didn't trade Gobert ahead of the Victor Wembanyama draft to teeter around the edge of the lottery. If we get close to the All-Star break and it looks like Utah won't contend, it wouldn't be surprising to see some veterans get shut down or traded.

Washington Wizards (40-42)

30 of 30

    Avi Gerver/NBAE via Getty Images

    Over-Under: 35.5

    Health is a real concern for Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis, but both are in their primes. If the Washington Wizards get the best versions of them, they should be able to compete for a playoff spot.

    Last season, Porzingis averaged 20.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.5 threes in 29.0 minutes. He ranked in the 94th percentile in EPM, and with his ability to pull defenders out to well beyond the three-point line, driving lanes should be nice and spacious for Beal.

    He, of course, averaged 30.9 points over the course of the 2019-20 and 2020-21 campaigns. If he gets back to around 90 to 95 percent of that level after missing much of last season with an injury, he and Porzingis will make for one of the league's more dynamic one-two punches.

    But they're not the only reasons this prediction puts the Wizards so far above the over.

    Monte Morris comes over from the Nuggets as one of the surer-handed point guards in the league. Will Barton can provide some pop as a playmaking 2. And the combination of length, shooting and athleticism between forwards Deni Avdija, Kyle Kuzma and Rui Hachimura will cause some problems for plenty of opponents.


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