Hoops Rumors Polls

Poll: Utah Jazz’s 2017/18 Win Total

After steadily increasing their win total for a few years, the Jazz broke through in a big way in 2016/17, winning the Northwest division with a 51-31 record. However, the club’s hopes of taking yet another step forward this season likely dissipated around the time that Gordon Hayward published his Players’ Tribune piece on July 4.

The Jazz are still a talented team, but Hayward was the club’s top scorer and its only All-Star. With both Hayward and George Hill gone, Utah may struggle to put the ball in the net — the team’s other best player, Rudy Gobert, is more of a force on the defensive end than on offense, and new point guard Ricky Rubio is very much a pass-first player.

Besides Hayward, Gobert, and Hill, the only other Jazz player to average double-digit points last season was Rodney Hood, and he’ll have to improve significantly on his 12.7 PPG to help fill the gap left by Hayward’s departure. Joe Ingles, Derrick Favors, and Alec Burks may be asked to do more on offense too, with newcomers like Thabo Sefolosha and rookie Donovan Mitchell also chipping in.

The Jazz still look like a playoff contender, but they’re no longer a lock for the postseason, and oddsmakers’ projections for the team reflect that. Offshore betting site Bovada currently has Utah’s over/under for 2017/18 at 41 wins. Since we prefer to avoid whole numbers in these polls, and action on the over has been heavy so far on Bovada, we’ll bump that number to 41.5.

What do you think? Does this Jazz roster still have enough talent to finish above .500, or is a dip of 10 games or more in the cards without Hayward or Hill around anymore? Vote below and jump into the comment section to share your thoughts!

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Poll: Philadelphia 76ers’ 2017/18 Win Total

With the exception of the lockout-shortened season in 2011/12, the Sixers haven’t finished over .500 since the 2004/05 campaign. They’ve posted a 41-41 record twice during that stretch, but have been unable to reach the 42-win threshold in over a decade.

There’s some reason to believe that streak could come to an end in 2017/18. After all, the Sixers’ roster is more stacked with young talent than it has been at any time during that stretch, with No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz joining a group that includes Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, Robert Covington, and last year’s No. 1 pick Ben Simmons, who looks ready to go after missing his rookie season.

However, while Philadelphia’s young core is exciting, it’s also unproven. Fultz and Simmons have yet to play in an NBA game. Embiid has only played in 31 of them. And Simmons and Embiid are both coming off major injuries.

While a playoff berth is the goal for the Sixers, president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo has made an effort to temper expectations. As we noted yesterday, Colangelo recently suggested that Philadelphia is “hoping” to make the postseason, but not forecasting an appearance in the playoffs. That would be “getting a little ahead of ourselves,” in Colangelo’s words, and he’s not wrong — the Sixers improved their win total from 10 in 2015/16 to 28 last season, but they’d need another big jump to make the postseason.

Oddsmakers are optimistic about the Sixers’ chances to make that leap, with offshore betting site Bovada putting the team’s over/under for 2017/18 at 41.5 wins. Bettors are a little more hesistant to go all-in on the Sixers, with Bovada’s current lines indicating that action has been heavy on the under.

What do you think? Is this the year the Sixers finally get back up to 42 wins, or does the team’s young core need a little more time to develop? Vote below and jump into the comment section to share your thoughts!

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Poll: Portland Trail Blazers’ 2017/18 Win Total

After posting a 54-28 record in 2013/14, the Trail Blazers have found themselves slowly slipping down the Western Conference standings in recent years, with their win total declining from 54 to 51 to 44 to 41. Although the club earned a playoff spot last season, its 41-41 regular season record was a letdown.

The late-season arrival of Jusuf Nurkic provided a spark for the Blazers and gives the team a reason for optimism heading into the 2017/18 season. Since LaMarcus Aldridge‘s departure in 2015, Portland’s offense has been driven by its backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, but if Nurkic recovers from his broken leg and continues playing like he did in his first 20 games with the Blazers (15.2 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 1.9 BPG), the team’s attack looks more balanced.

Still, while a full season with Nurkic in the lineup would bode well for the Blazers’ chances to improve, they won’t have it easy in a Western Conference that looks more daunting than ever. In Portland’s division alone, the Thunder added Paul George, the Timberwolves acquired Jimmy Butler, and the Nuggets signed Paul Millsap.

The Blazers, on the other hand, didn’t make any notable additions outside of rookies Zach Collins and Caleb Swanigan, who aren’t likely to make a major impact right away. Portland had to dump Allen Crabbe for nothing in order to cut team salary and reduce its projected luxury tax bill, giving the club one fewer outside shooter to rely on in 2017/18.

Despite Portland’s quiet summer and a loaded Western Conference, oddsmakers still project a very modest improvement for the Blazers this season, with offshore betting site Bovada putting the club’s over/under at 42.5 wins.

What do you think? Are the Blazers, with the help of Nurkic, set to bounce back and improve on last year’s record, or will they be hard-pressed to top 42 wins in a tough conference? Vote below and jump into the comment section to weigh in with your thoughts!

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Poll: Charlotte Hornets’ 2017/18 Win Total

The Hornets have bounced up and down the Eastern Conference standings over the last five years, with their win total going from 21 to 43 to 33 to 48 to 36 during that stretch. While last year’s 36-46 record was a disappointment, Charlotte has reason to believe that better things are in store for the 2017/18 season.

Although the Hornets didn’t make major changes to their roster, the moves they did make look like good ones. A trade with the Hawks that sent Miles Plumlee and Marco Belinelli to Atlanta cost the club some outside shooting, but allowed Charlotte to acquire Dwight Howard, who should be an upgrade up front over Plumlee.

Meanwhile, the Hornets were able to replace some of that outside shooting in the draft, nabbing Malik Monk – who was viewed by most experts as a probable top-10 pick – with the No. 11 selection. Charlotte also made a savvy second-round pick, scooping up promising rookie Dwayne Bacon at No. 40.

While the Hornets made a few solid roster moves, the team didn’t have the cap flexibility to make any major splashes, and there are still question marks at some spots on the roster. Charlotte struggled to get reliable point guard production behind Kemba Walker last year, for instance, and while the team addressed that issue in free agency by replacing Ramon Sessions and Brian Roberts with Michael Carter-Williams and Julyan Stone, MCW is battling injuries again, and Stone hasn’t played in an NBA game since 2014.

Oddsmakers are optimistic about the Hornets’ chances of improving over last year, with offshore betting site Bovada putting their over/under at 42.5 wins.

What do you think? Does a seven-game improvement on last season’s record seem reasonable for the Hornets, or are there still too many areas of concern on the roster for the club to rack up 43 or more wins? Vote below and share your thoughts in the comment section!

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Poll: Miami Heat’s 2017/18 Win Total

The Heat entered the offseason with aspirations of re-adding some of the star power they’ve lost since the days of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. However, despite getting a meeting with Gordon Hayward, Miami failed to land its top target, and pivoted to Plan B: Re-signing its own players and adding a second-tier free agent in Kelly Olynyk.

Outside of the addition of Olynyk and a couple minor losses – Luke Babbitt and Willie Reed found new homes – the Heat’s roster looks very similar to last year’s version. With all the core pieces involved in last season’s 30-11 second-half run returning, and Olynyk and Justise Winslow set to join them, it’s reasonable to be enthusiastic about Miami’s chances of making some noise in the Eastern Conference.

Still, this also looks a lot like the team that had a 11-30 record in the first half of the 2016/17 campaign, which shouldn’t be overlooked. Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside, and Dion Waiters make up a solid core group of scorers for the Heat, but none of those players – or anyone else on the Miami roster – has made a single All-Star appearance, limiting the club’s upside.

Oddsmakers projecting the Heat’s 2017/18 win total lean slightly more toward the second-half version of the club than the first-half version. Offshore betting site Bovada has Miami’s over/under at 43.5 wins.

What do you think? Can the Heat build on last year’s scorching final stretch and reach 44+ wins in 2017/18, or was their offseason too quiet to expect a major step forward? Vote below and jump into the comment section to share your thoughts.

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Poll: Los Angeles Clippers’ 2017/18 Win Total

The summer of 2017 represented the end of an era for the Clippers, who sent nine-time All-Star Chris Paul to Houston in a blockbuster trade that helped replenish their depth, but cost them a superstar. While the Clips did well to extract several pieces of value for Paul, who could have joined the Rockets as a free agent, the club will face a challenge as it enters the coming season without its longtime starting point guard.

With Paul, J.J. Redick, and Raymond Felton all gone, the Clippers’ new-look backcourt will be fortified by Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams – two players acquired in the CP3 trade – and international import Milos Teodosic, who will get his first taste of NBA action after years of starring in Euroleague play.

Meanwhile, the frontcourt no longer features Luc Mbah a Moute, Marreese Speights, Paul Pierce, or Brandon Bass, but Danilo Gallinari was a big acquisition for the Clippers, Willie Reed should provide solid minutes off the bench, and the trade with the Rockets also provided a couple interesting young forwards in Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell. Of course, Blake Griffin – locked up to a new long-term contract – and DeAndre Jordan are still the mainstays up front.

The Clippers look deeper and more balanced than they have in recent years, but losing Paul will hurt. The club has played a certain style with CP3 leading the way for years, so it will be interesting to see what adjustments Doc Rivers makes with his new group. It also remains to be seen how Gallinari will acclimate to his new team — he looks like a natural stretch four, but he’ll likely end up spending more time at the three if he plays frequently alongside Griffin and Jordan.

The Clippers have won between 51 and 57 games in each of the last five seasons, but oddsmakers aren’t as enthusiastic about the new-look roster, with offshore betting site Bovada putting the team’s over/under for 2017/18 at 43.5 wins.

What do you think? Will the post-Paul era result in some struggles for the Clippers in a tough Western Conference? Or does the team still have enough talent to win 44 or more games this year? Vote below in our poll and then jump into the comment section to weigh in with your thoughts!

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Poll: Denver Nuggets’ 2017/18 Win Total

The Nuggets missed the postseason in 2016/17, but you could make a convincing case that they were the most talented team to land in the lottery. Only the Heat had a better record than Denver among non-playoff teams, but the difference was only one game, and the Nuggets played in the stronger conference.

That conference has gotten even more daunting within the last few months. Not only have teams above the Nuggets in the standings, such as the Rockets and Thunder, added star talent, but some of the West’s other lottery teams, like the Timberwolves and Pelicans, have made major moves and hope to enter the postseason picture themselves.

Denver made a signficant move of its own when free agency opened, landing All-Star big man Paul Millsap, who is expected to make an excellent frontcourt partner for breakout star Nikola Jokic. With young guards Gary Harris and Jamal Murray showing signs of developing into core pieces as well, the Nuggets have a strong foundation and look poised to get over the hump and make the playoffs in the West this season.

Still, Denver’s roster isn’t without its weaknesses. The point guard position remains unsettled, with neither Jameer Nelson nor Emmanuel Mudiay looking like a solid starter at this point. Longtime Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari is also gone, and it still feels like the club needs to make one more trade for its roster to really take shape.

Oddsmakers are optimistic about the Nuggets’ chances of taking a major step forward in 2017/18 though. After finishing last season with a 40-42 record, Denver is currently projected to have an over/under of 45.5 wins for the coming year, per offshore betting site Bovada.

What do you think? Can the Nuggets finish with 46 wins or more, or is the Western Conference simply too tough for a non-playoff team like Denver to make that kind of leap in 2017/18? Vote below in our poll and then jump into the comment section to share your thoughts!

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Poll: Milwaukee Bucks’ 2017/18 Win Total

The Bucks were one of the NBA’s best teams down the stretch in 2016/17. Having fallen to 22-30 in early February, Milwaukee reeled off a 22-10 run to finish the season, earning a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and then giving the Raptors all they could handle in the first round.

With Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s star on the rise and many of the Bucks’ other core players – such as Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon, Thon Maker, and Jabari Parker – still young enough to expect improvements, the team is a popular pick to make some noise in the East in 2017/18.

Still, the Bucks’ cap situation prevented the club from making roster upgrades over the summer. Milwaukee didn’t lose many key pieces — off-the-bench scorer Michael Beasley headed elsewhere, and veteran glue guy Jason Terry remains unsigned, but virtually everyone else is back. The Bucks also didn’t add any players likely to make an impact in 2017/18 though. The team’s only real additions were draftees D.J. Wilson and Sterling Brown.

The Bucks have enough young talent that it’s reasonable to expect the team to take a step forward even without any changes to the roster, and oddsmakers are counting on that. After finishing with a 42-40 record last season, the Bucks have an over/under of 47.5 wins for 2017/18, per offshore betting site Bovada.

What do you think? Can the Bucks improve by at least six wins this season, even with Parker not expected to return until sometime in 2018? Or should we temper our expectations for the young squad a little? Vote below in our poll and jump into the comment section to share your thoughts!

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Poll: Washington Wizards’ 2017/18 Win Total

The 2016/17 season was a bounce-back year for the Wizards, who had finished with a 41-41 record and missed the playoffs a year earlier. Not only did the Wizards claim a top-four seed and win a playoff series this past spring, but the team also won 49 games, the most regular season victories by the franchise since the late-1970s, early in the Washington Bullets days.

While the Wizards certainly intend to take another step forward – perhaps breaking the 50-win barrier and making a deeper playoff run – their salary cap situation prevented them from making major upgrades this summer. Matching a maximum salary offer sheet on Otto Porter used up any cap room the club might have had and pushed team salary across the luxury tax line, limiting further acquisitions.

The Wizards did make some changes around the edges of their roster, signing Jodie Meeks to replace departed sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic, and trading for Tim Frazier to replace Trey Burke and Brandon Jennings as the team’s backup point guard. Washington also added a little more size by signing Mike Scott.

Still, those aren’t significant roster moves, so in order to continue improving, the Wizards will likely have to count on their core players to get even better. John Wall is still just 27 years old and Bradley Beal and Porter are 24, so there could be room for further development, but all three players had career years in 2016/17, with Beal finally avoiding injury problems and Porter posting one of the league’s most efficient shooting lines (.516/.434/.832). Expecting even more out of them next season would be asking a lot.

With the Wizards’ roster remaining fairly stable, it’s no surprise that oddsmakers forecast a similar regular season result for the club in 2017/18. The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has placed the over/under for Wizards wins at 47.5, following last season’s 49-33 mark.

What do you think? Can the Wizards hold steady (or continue to improve), despite the lack of roster upgrades? Or will they slip a little this season? Vote below in our poll and jump into the comment section to share your thoughts.

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Poll: Toronto Raptors’ 2017/18 Win Total

When speculation centers on which team will win the Eastern Conference in 2017/18, the Cavaliers and Celtics generally dominate the conversation, with the Wizards earning a mention and the Bucks perhaps being labeled a dark horse. The Raptors, who finished last season tied with the Cavaliers at 51-31, and faced Cleveland in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2016, are often overlooked.

There are multiple reasons why that happens. Raptors stars Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have struggled to translate their regular season success to the postseason in recent years, and the club’s style of play is somewhat dated. Additionally, the Raptors will have to cope with some key departures this season.

Longtime power forward Patrick Patterson left in free agency, as did veteran swingman P.J. Tucker, who became a crucial part of the Raptors’ rotation down the stretch last season. With big new contracts for Lowry and Serge Ibaka threatening to push Toronto into tax territory, the club also had to shed salary by trading DeMarre Carroll and Cory Joseph. Carroll had been a disappointment during his two years in Toronto, but Joseph was one of the league’s more reliable backup point guards.

The Raptors still have a strong starting five, and the addition of C.J. Miles should provide a boost to the club’s outside shooting, but the team will have to rely on a handful of youngsters to step up and claim rotation roles in 2017/18. As such, it’s no surprise that – after averaging 52 wins per year for the last three seasons – the Raptors’ over/under for the coming season is a slightly more modest 48.5, per offshore betting site Bovada.

What do you think? Are the Raptors still talented enough to win 49 games or more for the fourth straight year, or will the impact of their offseason departures knock them below that mark? Vote below in our poll and jump into the comment section to share your thoughts!

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