Yesterday, we had card metaphors to tie into the great SEO river of aggregate content. So many buzz words so little time! But, what was alluded then is now true, the NBA Season is finally here with two great match-ups tonight with the Lakers vs. the Champion Nuggets (I just call em Chicken Nuggets, but to each their own…) and the retooled Suns vs. the nearly old but probably not busted Warriors. But until we get there in just a short amount of time, we’re wrapping up our quick hits on the 2023-24 season with yesterday’s Easter Conference notes and today’s Western Conference overview. And there was a bit of method with the order, only because of the two, the East is probably the easier to be prescient about. Afterall, there are some very clear teams that will try and tank, there are a few teams we all know are not ready to take the next step, but are getting there… and then there’s a mix of above average teams that do different things in different ways with the Bucks and Celtics as clear favorites. In the West? Well, it’s quite murky. And that’s not to sleep on Denver, they certainly are considered the favorites by myself and many others in the industry, but after that, it gets kinda crowded. So let’s get to it and see how the teams look, along with the Vegas spreads and my takes on the O/U…
|2022-23 Western Conference Standings||2022-23 Vegas Odds|
|1||c – Denver Nuggets *||53||29||0.646||–||82||52.5||110||O|
|2||y – Memphis Grizzlies *||51||31||0.622||2||82||45.5||100||U|
|3||y – Sacramento Kings *||48||34||0.585||5||82||44.5||115||O|
|4||x – Phoenix Suns||45||37||0.549||8||82||50.5||-130||U|
|5||x – Los Angeles Clippers||44||38||0.537||9||82||45.5||100||U|
|6||x – Golden State Warriors||44||38||0.537||9||82||47.5||-112||O|
|7||x – Los Angeles Lakers||43||39||0.524||10||82||46.5||-106||O|
|8||x – Minnesota Timberwolves||42||40||0.512||11||82||44.5||-104||O|
|9||pi – New Orleans Pelicans||42||40||0.512||11||82||43.5||-130||U|
|10||pi – Oklahoma City Thunder||40||42||0.488||13||82||44.5||100||O|
|13||Portland Trail Blazers||33||49||0.402||20||82||27.5||-110||U|
|15||San Antonio Spurs||22||60||0.268||31||82||28.5||-104||O|
|z – Playoffs Home Court, y – Division Title, x – Playoff, pi – Play-in, * – Division Leader|
So let’s just say the Nuggets are going to be a great basketball team and should no doubt be considered on an island alone. Not to say a team like the Lakers couldn’t eclipse them, but if you tally all the question marks of every team from last year’s top-10, Denver, for various obvious reasons, has the least. Therefore, using the great power of logic, I deem them capable of going the over. I like the team, I like another year and a huge playoffs for Michael Porter Jr. and of course, Jamaal Murray will continue to work with the best player in the league to make sure this isn’t a one and done. I’m not sure I’d consider this a true lock, but it’s as close as I can without putting something on the line.
With the Suns and Grizzlies, I’m not quite sure what to think for different reasons. The Suns, for instance, have an interesting new rotation and might need some time to work itself out. You also have Kevin Durant no doubt wanting to play a full season, but it’s been what, about three or four years since that happened? I’m expecting a big year from Devin Booker, but I just get the feeling that this team is built more for the playoffs than the regular season, and their approach might generally match that ethos. Grizzlies also come in with a slightly new look, adding Marcus Smart earlier in the offseason. Jaren Jackson Jr. is still there, I like Desmond Bane, so it’ll just be a question of how well they do while Ja Morant tries his best not to be an idiot. Steven Adams is already out for the year, which is a blow, but they should have enough to stay in the mix. I just think it’ll be the under.
The Thunder almost made a lot of noise last year with literally no paint presence, so the return of Chet Holmgren to this crew excites me. Pelicans need a healthy Zion to compete, and as you can see, I’m not taking that gamble. Just like how the under for the Clippers is pretty much a lock. The load management experiment has been an abject failure, but there’s certainly enough depth and talent for them to at least make the play-ins if Paul George and/or Kawhi Leonard decided to explode their body parts for a period of time. I’m not quite sure if James Harden changes that dynamic, but at that the very least I’m very intrigued on how Russell Westbrook settles after a great showing for them at the end of last season and nearly beating the Suns in the playoffs in two games basically all by himself.
Misc. Notes… Warriors might be on their last run in terms of their current talent. There are questions about Dray and Klay, and not how it sounds like a great 80’s sitcom, more of the contract kind, so I can definitely see another strong season if health stays constant and winning one last chip becomes a motivating factor for the team. And there’s no way they are that bad on the road again this year, yeah? No one left to punch, yes? The Jazz I think could be really good, but I’m not sure the front office is quite ready to go all in yet. I know there were reports they were exploring Dame, but if they are near .500 at the deadline like last season, it just feels they’ll go the same route. For the Spurs, it just basically matters how much you feel Wemby brings them. If it’s just seven wins or more, yeah, that’s not crazy at all and I don’t mind taking the over.
Jay is a longtime Razzball everything who consumes an egregious amount of Makers Mark as a vehicle to gain wisdom and augment his natural glow. Living in the D.C. area, he also likes spending time visiting the local parks and feeding lettuce to any turtles he encounters, including Mitch McConnell.