Vegas Over/Under: 51.5
The Record Projection: 52-30 of fromal The Bet: Prevent lean over
Since Kyle Wagner broke down for FiveThirtyEight, the addition of Paul George immediately vaulted the Oklahoma City Thunder back into contention in the Western Conference:
«The top-5 of Westbrook, George, Enes Kanter, Steven Adams and Andre Roberson are worth 53 wins all on their own. However, CARMELO thinks so little of the Thunder seat that the remainder of the roster is worth -2 wins. That bench was awful this past year, but young players like Alex Abrines and Doug McDermott may improve with an extra season with the group, and this year’s first-round draft select Terrance Ferguson has potential as a spot-up shot on the wing, and also the team desperately needed last season. Still, with Taj Gibson likely leaving in free agency, the Thunder will be sparse. However, while their projection doesn’t place the team nearly at the level of this Golden State Warriors, as well as the recently minted Chris Paul Houston Rockets, acquiring George should have an outsize influence on the Thunder.»
The TL;DR variant this is that even without factoring in the upside which stems from possible internal improvement, the Thunder already should’ve been expected to win 51 games. And this was written prior to OKC inked Patrick Patterson–a power forwards who matches perfectly with another expected starting pieces–into a deal of a deal.
Improving much past the 51-win benchmark is a challenging task as the Thunder try to weave in fresh players effortlessly. But after watching Russell Westbrook serve as a one-man show throughout his MVP-winning campaign, they now get to place so much more talent around him.
Expect huge things.
Read more: nba-2019.com