The early line on the 2012 NBA win totals just came out. I think they speak for themselves regarding the “changes” that Joe Lacob has brought to the Warriors.
- Lakers ? (On the site I rely on, the Lakers appear to be off the board. Curious, as the Magic are listed at 38.5.)
- Thunder 48.5
- Mavs 42.5
- Spurs 40.5
- Clippers 40.5
- Grizzlies 39.5
- Blazers 37.5
- Nuggets 36.5
- Rockets 32.5
- Suns 27.5
- Warriors 25.5
- Jazz 25.5
- Hornets 24.5
- TWolves 22.5
Ouch. So if the Warriors “outperform” and go 26-40 you will actually win money betting the over! It looks like the oddsmakers ran Kwame Brown through their computers.
At the sight of this scurrilous line, I’m very tempted to go ahead and make my traditional “over” bet on the Warriors. It’s possible to envision the Warriors gelling into a playoff team. If Mark Jackson’s vision (the Warriors need to play to their strengths) prevails over Mike Malone’s. (Remember Malone was utterly complicit in one of the greatest basketball crimes every committed: turning Lebron James into a halfcourt player in Cleveland.) I have predicted that Mark Jackson will get it with this Warriors roster. But Bill Simmons believes the opposite.
If Stephen Curry stays healthy. If Andris Biedrins stays healthy. If Ekpe Udoh matures into a force. If David Lee is the Warriors’ center in crunch time. If Charles Jenkins and Klay Thompson can play. If Brandon Rush and Charles Jenkins play more than Klay Thompson.
That’s a lot of ifs. And we haven’t even gotten to the biggest if of all: If Joe Lacob decides to support his team this year at the trading deadline. As I read the tea leaves, I have serious doubts about whether that will happen. I am actually growing convinced that Lacob is looking to blow up the core of this Warriors team with a Monta Ellis trade, and that it could happen this season. (More on this in my next post.)
Relying on Lacob’s support becomes even more iffy when you take into account the Warriors’ schedule this season. It starts out nightmarishly difficult, which means that the team’s results will likely look even worse than they really should at the time the trade deadline rolls around.
I’m also told the Warriors schedule includes 48 games against the tougher West, and only 18 against the easier East.
Weighing everything up, I think there are just too many serious ifs to risk a wager on the Warriors this season, despite the grave insult to my pride at the Vegas sharpsters’ line. (I wonder if Joe Lacob feels similarly insulted? He’s being slapped in the face.)
I think the best way to bet the Warriors this season is just to watch them for signs that they are exceeding expectations. If they do take off, you can just jump on them then for as long as it takes for the bookies to adjust.
(See also: My own 2012 Western Conference Rankings.)