Oklahoma City Thunder

Who Cares About Win-Total Predictions?

Zachary Low

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When it comes to the NBA’s offseason, basketball fans will eat up just about any information that is pertaining to the next season. Content is lacking, and outside of the NBA Draft and free agency, there is not much to talk about outside of Summer League and training camp.

Enter the prediction scene.

When there is not much to talk about, and we as fans are dying for topics to discuss, writers and readers alike have to create content, sometimes out of thin air. A popular area of discussion in the offseason is predicting what is going to happen, and when betting sportsbooks put out their predictions for the upcoming season win-totals for each team, fanbases can get heated quickly.

A couple of days ago, PointsBet, an online sportsbook, released their win-total predictions for the 2019-20 NBA season, and not surprisingly, the Oklahoma City Thunder is predicted to win even fewer games next season than they have in the 3 seasons since Kevin Durant’s departure.

After 3 consecutive first-round exits, the Thunder is picked at 46.5 wins for next season, tied for sixth in the Western Conference with the Golden State Warriors. The Houston Rockets are picked to finish first in the West with 53.5 wins, followed by the Los Angeles Clippers (51.5), the Los Angeles Lakers (51.5), Denver Nuggets (50.5), and the Utah Jazz (50.5).

Since the win-total predictions were released, news broke that the Lakers have made a preliminary deal with the New Orleans Pelicans to trade for Anthony Davis, which will likely add a few wins to the predicted total for Los Angeles, which brings up an important point when considering preseason predictions: stuff happens.

Predictions at this point are kind of a joke, simply because NBA rosters will look drastically different by opening night in late October. The NBA Draft will take place in a few days, and then free agency kicks off in July. After everything is all said and done, who is to say which players will be in which cities wearing which uniforms playing for which teams?

While it is all fun and games to talk about “experts” and their predictions, it is important to remember that—especially this early in the summer—changes are coming, and even still, plenty of teams overcome the odds to shock the world and make history. Just ask the Raptors.

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