East Win Total Leans

The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook released their opening win total numbers on July 28. For West win total leans, click here. My recommendation is always that you wait until preseason is over to give yourself the best shot at avoiding a situation where you’ve invested in a team that suffers a crippling injury, but these are my early leans in addition to reactions to offseason changes, some of which I’m more convinced about than others.

From tweaks to complete makeovers, here’s how things have shaken out:

Atlanta Hawks
Projected win total/Recommendation: 33.5 OVER
In: F De’Andre Hunter, G/F Cam Reddish (R), G/F Evan Turner, F Jabari Parker G Allen Crabbe, F Chandler Parsons, C Damian Jones, F/C Bruno Fernando (R)
Out: F Taurean Prince, F/C Dewayne Dedmon, G Kent Bazemore

The Hawks’ projected win total has been bumped up by 10 and could be a bargain if Trae Young and John Collins become Eastern Conference All-Stars. Although it lost three of their top glue guys this offseason and will attempt to incorporate rookies Hunter and Reddish into major roles alongside other young wings like Kevin Huerter and De’Andre Bembry, Atlanta won 24 of their last 59 games after a slow start, a pace that would surpass this number. It’s worth betting that Lloyd Price has too much talent at his disposal to drop 50 games. Grade: C+

Boston Celtics
Projected win total/Recommendation: 49.5 UNDER
In: G Kemba Walker, C Enes Kanter, G/F Romeo Langford (R), F Grant Williams (R), G Carsen Edwards (R)
Out: G Kyrie Irving, C Al Horford, F Marcus Morris, Sr., G Terry Rozier, C Aron Baynes, F Guerschon Yabusele

The Celtics’ projected win total has been trimmed by eight after the departures of three of last year’s top four scorers and top performers. Irving and Rozier will be starting at the point elsewhere in the conference, allowing Walker the opportunity to suit up for a star turn after being handed the keys to a premier NBA franchise. We’ll see if improved chemistry leads to more consistency as Brad Stevens hopes his puzzle pieces fit far better than they did a season ago, but a number of willing defenders also exited in addition to Irving and unless Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown show marked improvement, there should be additional regression. It doesn’t necessarily help that so many Celtics are playing at the World Cup since it could catch up to them down the stretch. I don’t see Boston matching last season’s 49 wins. Grade: B

Brooklyn Nets
Projected win total/Recommendation: 44.5 OVER
In: F Kevin Durant, G Kyrie Irving, C DeAndre Jordan, F Taurean Prince, F Wilson Chandler, G Garrett Temple
Out: G D’Angelo Russell, F/C Ed Davis, F Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, F/G DeMarre Carroll, G/F Jared Dudley, G Allen Crabbe, G Treveon Graham, G Shabazz Napier

The Nets’ projected win total has been bumped up by 12 despite the likelihood that Durant will sit the entire season out recovering from his ruptured Achilles. Irving will have to co-exist with Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert as far as sharing the ball goes but the pace is expected to be fast enough to keep everyone happy. Prince will likely have a larger role without Durant around and Jarrett Allen and Rodions Kurucs will be expected to make strides to improve the frontcourt, so there’s no certainty that this group will take a significant step forward since Irving will have to get himself acclimated to replace Russell’s production. Don’t forget, he was an All-Star last season. While not a lock, you have to take a shot at this Durant-less group winning 45 games if LeVert can stay healthy alongside Irving. Grade: A+

Charlotte Hornets
Projected win total/Recommendation: 23.5 UNDER
In: G Terry Rozier, PJ Washington (R), Jalen McDaniels (R), Cody Martin (R), Caleb Martin (R)
Out: G Kemba Walker, G Jeremy Lamb, G Tony Parker, F Frank Kaminsky, G Shelvin Mack

The Hornets’ projected win total has been trimmed by 12 after losing Walker and landing Rozier, which seems drastic unless you take a good look at the roster. It certainly appears that Charlotte will take a step back this season with so many expiring contracts they’re likely to shop and more shots to go around for guys who aren’t exactly suited for a higher volume of looks. Talented head coach James Borrego got the most out of last year’s group but looks to be bringing up the rear, talent-wise, in the entire league. Buzz City will likely lose 60-plus in its 30th year of existence. Grade: D

Chicago Bulls
Projected win total/Recommendation: 33.5 OVER
In: G Coby White (R), C Daniel Gafford (R), F Thaddeus Young, G Tomas Satoransky, F/C Luke Kornet,
Out: C Robin Lopez, G/F Wayne Selden

The Bulls’ projected win total has been bumped up by six and is one of the better plays available a few months out. Between Dunn’s improvement and the arrival of White and Satoransky, the Bulls have multiple lead guards who Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Otto Porter, Wendell Carter and Young can excel alongside. If Gafford can pick up where he left off after an impressive Summer League effort and Jim Boylen’s top-eight stays healthy, this group can make a run at .500. Carter, the top returning rim-protector, showed a lot of promise before being limited to just 44 games due to numerous ailments. Grade: A-

Cleveland Cavaliers
Projected win total/Recommendation: 24.5 OVER
In: Darius Garland (R), Dylan Windler (R), Kevin Porter, Jr. (R)
Out: G/F David Nwaba, G Nik Stauskas, F Marquese Chriss

The Cavs’ projected win total has been trimmed by six, but John Beilein has a chance at exceeding expectations in his debut as an NBA coach. Although he’s being brought in to work with the team’s young guards, immediate success hinges on Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson and Larry Nance, Jr. staying healthy given how much the Cavs struggled when they were out of the lineup. Collin Sexton should take a step forward and his backcourt partnership with Garland will get the bulk of the attention, but veterans Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Knight and Matthew Dellavedova should be on the floor enough in three-guard lineups to hang around in their share of games.Grade: B-

Detroit Pistons
Projected win total/Recommendation: 37.5 OVER
In: G Derrick Rose, F Markieff Morris, G/F Tony Snell, G Tim Frazier, F Sekou Doumbouya (R), Svi Mykhailuk
Out: G Ish Smith, G Wayne Ellington, F/C Jon Leuer, C Zaza Pachulia, F/G Glenn Robinson, Jr.

The Pistons’ projected win total has been placed at the exact same spot it was last season despite them finishing at .500 and reaching the playoffs. This season’s roster looks improved given the significant upgrade at the point with Rose and Frazier on board in addition to Morris and Snell arriving to fill vacancies in Dwane Casey’s rotation. A significant step forward would be possible if Kennard emerges as the consistent perimeter threat he was expected to be when drafted ahead of Donovan Mitchell. His 3-point percentage has to climb to 45 percent to offset his defensive limitations. Grade: B-

Indiana Pacers
Projected win total/Recommendation: 46.5 UNDER
In: G Malcolm Brogdon, F T.J. Warren, G Jeremy Lamb, G T.J. McConnell, C Goga Bitadze (R)
Out: F Thaddeus Young, G/F Bojan Bogdanovic, G Darren Collison, G Tyreke Evans, G Cory Joseph, G/F Wesley Matthews, C/F Kyle O’Quinn

The Pacers’ projected win total has been trimmed by one from a season ago despite Nate McMillan squeezing 48 wins out of a group that only had Victor Oladipo available for 36 games before he ruptured his quad tendon. He’s not going to be available to open the season and likely won’t look like himself until at least a month into 2020, so take that into account before pulling the trigger. This group underwent a facelift with so many of McMillan’s most trusted rotation guys moving elsewhere, so this next group may need time to gel despite an influx of talent. Securing Brogdon’s services will pay long-term dividends but probably won’t result in immediate success. Grade: B

Miami Heat
Projected win total/Recommendation: 43.5 OVER
In: F/G Jimmy Butler, F/C Meyers Leonard, G Tyler Herro (R)
Out: G Dwyane Wade, C Hassan Whiteside, G Josh Richardson

The Heat’s projected win total has been bumped up by only two despite adding Butler. While losing Richardson hurts, Whiteside’s departure shouldn’t be viewed as a substantial loss despite his numbers since Bam Adebayo was set to take more of his minutes this season anyway. It remains to be seen whether the long-rumored acquisition of Chris Paul takes place but I still like Butler to lead Miami to its seventh Southeast Division title in a 10-year span and the team’s largest win total since 2016. The key will be Adebayo emerging as a candidate for Most Improved since he’s likely to average 35-plus minutes per night. Grade: C-

Milwaukee Bucks
Projected win total/Recommendation: 58.5 UNDER
In: C Robin Lopez, G/F Wesley Matthews, F/C Jon Leuer, F Dragan Bender
Out: G Malcolm Brogdon, F Nikola Mirotic, G/F Tony Snell, G Tim Frazier

The Bucks’ projected win total has been bumped up by 12 after they rolled to 60 wins last season, which is too rich for my blood despite the fact they’re likely to be among the top teams this season. Losing Brogdon hurts and should affect them down the stretch considering he’s the NBA’s top free-throw shooter. Mirotic’s return to Spain removes another major piece from the equation since he was tailor-made to spread the floor for Giannis Antetokounmpo. Considering they could go 57-25 and fail to cash for you, the smart money is on fading the Eastern Conference favorite. The fact Greek Freak intends to play such a large role at the World Cup for Greece could require a few pre-playoff rest days that would keep Milwaukee from a second straight 60-win season.Grade: C-

New York Knicks
Projected win total/Recommendation: 27.5 OVER
In: G/F R.J. Hunter (R), F/C Julius Randle, F Bobby Portis, F Taj Gibson, G Elfrid Payton, G Reggie Bullock, G Wayne Ellington
Out: C DeAndre Jordan, F Noah Vonleh, G Emmanuel Mudiay, F Lance Thomas, G John Jenkins, F/C Luke Kornet

The Knicks’ projected win total has been bumped down by a single win and bet down yet another, but it looks a little light to me. After tanking for Zion and coming up empty, David Fizdale has now been handed a roster capable of competing for a playoff spot. With Mitchell Robinson and Kevin Knox joined up front by capable frontcourt options in Randle, Portis and Gibson, New York should hold its own inside. Dennis Smith Jr. will be tasked with taking another step forward and making life easier for Hunter, who should make a run at Rookie of the Year honors despite his rough start at Summer League. This looks like a 35-win team if the key guys stay healthy. Grade: B-

Orlando Magic
Projected win total/Recommendation: 41.5 OVER
In: F Al-Farouq Aminu
Out: G Jerian Grant, F Jarell Martin, G Troy Caupain

The Magic’s projected win total has been bumped up by 10 as they return basically their entire rotation from last year’s unlikely Southeast Division championship squad. To cash the high side, Orlando simply needs to match its 42-40 showing and should be able to count on improvement from forwards Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac in addition to center Mo Bamba. X-factor Markelle Fultz, the 2017 Draft’s top pick, will be given an opportunity to play as large a role as he can carve out. If he fails to straighten out his jumper, the combination of D.J. Augustin and Michael Carter-Williams will keep this team from reaching its full potential. Expect the Magic to battle Miami for the division crown, falling just short but finishing with more wins than they managed in their first season under Steve Clifford. Grade: C+

Philadelphia 76ers
Projected win total/Recommendation: 55.5 UNDER
In: F/C Al Horford, G/F Josh Richardson, C Kyle O’Quinn, G Trey Burke, G Raul Neto, G Matisse Thybulle (R), C Christ Koumadje (R)
Out: F Jimmy Butler, G JJ Redick, G T.J. McConnell, C Boban Marjanovic

The 76ers’ projected win total has been bumped up by one, which makes it a bit of a bargain since last season’s number projected Fultz to emerge as a factor and didn’t take into account the acquisition of Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris. Although Butler bolted for South Beach, Richardson should fit right in as the defensive catalyst. Adding Horford, who has tormented Joel Embiid the past few years, could be the summer’s most underrated acquisition. If Simmons shoots more to keep defenses honest and Embiid stays healthy enough to play over 60 games for the third straight season, we should see them improve on last season’s 51 wins. Making the leap to 55-plus is quite the gamble considering Embiid requires so much time off and Horford isn’t likely to push it either. Grade: B

Toronto Raptors
Projected win total/Recommendation: 46.5 UNDER
In: F Stanley Johnson, F Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, G Cameron Payne
Out: F Kawhi Leonard, G Danny Green, G Jodie Meeks, F Eric Moreland

The Raptors’ projected win total has been trimmed by eight due to the loss of Kawhi Leonard. The defending champions intend to build around Pascal Siakam and will have veterans Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka in place around him. If OG Anunoby, Fred VanVleet and Norman Powell continue improving, there will be enough depth in place for them to remain among the East’s elite by riding a collective approach. Toronto should continue to impose its will at home as it has managed to the past few seasons but will now carry a target on its back when it tours through opposing arenas. Expecting them to win 45-to-48 games is fair, so I don’t see much of an advantage either way here.Grade: C-

Washington Wizards
Projected win total/Recommendation: 27.5 UNDER
In: F Rui Hachimura(R), F Admiral Schofield (R), G Isaiah Thomas, G Ish Smith, F Moritz Wagner, F Jemerrio Jones, C Isaac Bonga
Out: F Bobby Portis, F Trevor Ariza, F Jeff Green, G Tomas Satoransky

The Wizards’ projected win total has been trimmed up by 17, which is still way too high. The Wizards have more talent than the Hornets due to the presence of Bradley Beal, they should lose 60 games too since there Is so little left around him with the untradeable John Wall on the mend all season. Washington will give Thomas an opportunity to try and return to his Celtics’ form and should give kids Hachimura, Schofield and second-year wing Troy Brown plenty of minutes, so expect to see the losses pile up. Grade: D

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