Even with Durant bet under season wins for Warriors

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Although there’s still speculation that the Celtics may find a way to turn their collection of assets into a franchise player like Blake Griffin or Russell Westbrook, the majority of NBA teams have their 2016-17 rosters constructed.

Golden State made the league’s most impactful move in plucking Kevin Durant away from Oklahoma City, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should hop on the over. In fact, the under is an easy call despite the fact that it’s available at 67 after opening up at 68.5 at the Westgate LVSuperbook immediately after the July 4 announcement that the Warriors had added a fourth All-Star to their lineup.

Coming off a record-setting 73-win season, there’s little way to justify too drastic of a drop in expectations, especially after adding Durant to assemble a genuine “superteam.”

Realistically, it’s going to be tough to duplicate last season since there will undoubtedly be an adjustment period. Losing Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli to clog the middle will likely weaken the Warriors defensively, so while they’re likely to top 60 wins and emerge as the Western Conference’s top seed again, putting together even 67 wins should be a challenge you’re going to want to fade.

Despite that, Golden State is certainly deserving of the favorite’s role since it will be even more difficult to beat in a series, so consider the Warriors front office the resounding winner of this offseason. It’s not close. Adding frontcourt reinforcements David West and Zaza Pachulia at bargain rates while stealing UNLV wing Patrick McCaw in the second-round was just piling on.

Boston came up well short in its plan for world domination, which is why many are anticipating that there’s another shoe dropping at some point. They’re currently graded with a big, bold TBD pending further developments. Danny Ainge did manage to win the Al Horford sweepstakes, keeping the offseason from being a complete disaster given their aspirations of making a significant splash.

Fortunately, the Celtics landed a piece who they can plug in knowing he can play with anybody, a seamless fit given his skill set and professionalism.

It remains to be seen whether they’ll have enough ammunition to seriously challenge Cleveland, but Ainge did avert disaster and kept from slipping into the loser category.

Chicago added big names Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo, scrapping the original idea to move on from Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah in favor of a rebuild by holding on to Jimmy Butler despite major interest from other teams.

Their number is set at 47.5 and should be faded as well, if only because both Rondo and Wade have been around the block and know to save their energy for the postseason. Chicago is not a team likely to bring it every night, but could be a threat in April and May if things go its way.

A sounder bet may be Indiana, which has had its number set on 47.5 as well but is built to top 50 wins and potentially emerge as Cleveland’s biggest threat. Jeff Teague will be playing for a new lucrative contract in his return to hometown, so look for him to thrive and really establish the faster tempo that eluded the team last year.

Utah was the big runner-up behind the Warriors out West, landing George Hill, a great fit for its defense-first philosophy. Joe Johnson and Boris Diaw will help fortify the bench and add valuable postseason experience to the mix, so don’t balk at the Jazz’s total likely being over 50 when released.

The Spurs lost Tim Duncan to retirement, but certainly upgraded with Gasol coming on board, so I’d ride the over on 60.5 and expect they’ll push Golden State for the West’s top spot.

Among losers, the Heat suffered a hit in credibility among players by not prioritizing Wade in free agency, but ultimately, Pat Riley made a business decision that could benefit Miami long-term given the improved financial flexibility it now enjoys.

I’d look hard at the under once released if the number is over 40.

Website: VegasInsider.com

About the Author
Tony Mejia

Tony Mejia

Tony Mejia has been a national writer for nearly two decades and has covered NBA and college basketball as a columnist, analyst, handicapper, and bracketologist for CBS Sports, Pro Basketball News, and numerous other sites.

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