We are less than ONE WEEK away from the first NBA game tipping off of the new season, which means I am almost wrapped up with my NBA season props and futures. To close out my four Regular Season Win Total pieces, I have two Western Conference unders I will be placing. If you missed out on the previous three articles, check them out here for some fun NBA Season Props. Now... let's take some unders!
S/O Sporting News for the photo.
Los Angeles Clippers: Under 52.5 Wins (EVEN) - 1.5 Units
Everyone is excited to see what the Clippers are able to do with a reinvigorated roster and healthy Kawhi Leonard this season. This excitement can be seen in Vegas too, with the Clippers win total sitting tied with the Suns at the top of the West. The Suns win total has taken a major nosedive throughout the preseason, but that is a completely different story and I advise all to stay away from that total on either side.
I do not understand how the Clippers even break 50 wins this season. I think this team has serious title aspirations and rightfully so, but their star players are going to sit constantly. John Wall has played 72 games of professional basketball over the last four years, and Kawhi Leonard was the king of sitting out back-to-backs and extended periods even before facing his latest major injury of a torn ACL. Even in Toronto, Kawhi played 60 regular season games and has yet to eclipse that mark in LA with 57 and 52 games played respectively before being inactive all of last season.
The addition of John Wall and having Norman Powell and Robert Covington for a full season will be great to see for the Clippers, but Powell and RoCo will be carrying a lot of the load when the Clippers Big 3 ends up sitting out 25-30 games this season or more. John Wall joining the Clippers also did not really move their odds to win the NBA Finals very much, nor did it budge their win total number when the transaction occurred. I think the books are comfortable with this number, which is why we have seen it juiced to the over for some time now.
Finally, the Clippers have never eclipsed 52.5 wins in the Kawhi-PG13 era yet. In fact, they have not eclipsed 52.5 wins since the 2015-16 season when they got 53 wins with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan. The last three seasons have seen declining win counts, going from 49, to 47, to 42. I do not think they go lower than 42 this season by any means, but 52.5 is a tall ask for any team that will have issues with resting their star players. I love the under here, and getting it at even odds is an added bonus!
Los Angeles Lakers: Under 45.5 Wins (-130) - 1.5 Units
If you are a fan of either Los Angeles basketball team - sorry not sorry. I did not want to throw the warning at the beginning of the plays, but here it is. Both LA teams are going under this season.
The biggest part that I don't understand with the Lakers is how people legitimately believe the additions that they made this offseason will help them this year. The Lakers added Dennis Schroder, Patrick Beverly, Lonnie Walker, Thomas Bryant, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Troy Brown, Damian Jones, and Dwayne Bacon in the 2022-2023 offseason. I understand if someone wants to make the case for Pat Bev being a difference maker in his defense and tenacious personality, but has anyone actually thought any of the remaining players were a value add to a team with championship aspirations?
This Lakers team fell short of the playoffs last year for a reason. The Lakers have fallen short of 45.5 wins back-to-back seasons, and have surpassed this mark once during LeBron's four years in LA which was the bubble season. Russell Westbrook is unfortunately not the piece that the Lakers need running the point guard and is too reliant on needing the ball in his hands to benefit his teammates because his shot-making is below par, especially behind the arc. Anthony Davis is still so spectacular to watch when he plays, but the act of playing has continued to become rarer and rarer as the fragile big man can't stay off the injury report.
LeBron's motives for signing the extension are still not clear, but he is one of the most calculated athletes we have ever seen in professional sports. Is LeBron happy cashing his checks in LA and continuing to expand his media footprint in the greatest city to do so while he promotes Bronny in an effort to play with his son? Or is he on a quest for rings 5 and 6? I do not see a way that he can achieve further title aspirations on this roster, especially with the worst GM in the league Rob Pelinka pulling the strings alongside the greatest case study on "groupthink" ever with Jeannie Buss and Kurt Rambis making poor decision after poor decision.
If Darvin Ham can actually change Russell Westbrook's game after multiple different head coaches have failed, I will be stunned and will publicly apologize for blasting the Lakers. This team may have the man who many consider to be the GOAT, but the Lakers have criminally pissed away three of his years with bad roster after bad roster to help him out. Meanwhile, the Suns, Clippers, Warriors, Mavericks, and Grizzlies will fight for top spots in the West, while the Nuggets, Blazers, and Pelicans have gotten healthy and the Timberwolves have made serious roster moves. There is no room for 9 teams in the West to break 45 wins at the same time, even with historic levels of tanking on our hands for Victor Wembanyama in the 2023 NBA Draft.
See you at the finish line when both LA teams underwhelm once again in the regular season folks, and thanks for reading!
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