The Las Vegas Verdict on Joe Lacob’s 2012 Golden State Warriors

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.                 

  1. Lakers ?  (On the site I rely on, the Lakers appear to be off the board.  Curious, as the Magic are listed at 38.5.)
  2. Thunder 48.5
  3. Mavs 42.5
  4. Spurs 40.5
  5. Clippers 40.5
  6. Grizzlies 39.5
  7. Blazers 37.5
  8. Nuggets 36.5
  9. Rockets 32.5
  10. Suns 27.5
  11. Warriors 25.5
  12. Jazz 25.5
  13. Hornets 24.5
  14. 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.

The one pre-season totals bet I really like is one that Bill Simmons also likes: Indiana Pacers over 36.5 wins.  If you read my fantasy forecast, you’ll understand my reasons.

(See also: My own 2012 Western Conference Rankings.)


3 Responses to The Las Vegas Verdict on Joe Lacob’s 2012 Golden State Warriors

  1. Simply upgrading the bench has strengthened the Warriors so much that it’s hard to imagine they won’t do better. On the other hand, whether that improvement really will translate into more wins is anybody’s guess. If it’s possible for two very good basketball minds (Simmons and yes, you, Felticon) to call it so differently, we have to admit we don’t have a clue.

    Maybe it depends on how Mark Jackson sees his job. Does he think his job is to exercise his own judgment? Is he there to realistically assess what he has and try to win with it?

    Or is his job to follow the boss’s lead in all things, including game strategy?

    If the latter, well, Simmons is right, the Warriors are going down. The dubs still don’t have the roster to play Lacob’s preferred style. Jackson could even lose his job over the lousy record they end up with.

    It’s a safe bet that Jackson does know better than Lacob, but is he willing to gamble his job on his own judgment? With Don Nelson we always knew the answer to that question, but he had 1000 years worth of coaching credentials. It’s not the same for a rookie coach, especially one who has a strongly opinionated owner and a very good assistant waiting in the wings.

    Let’s split the difference. The first half of the season will be a total flippin disaster, for lots of reasons – a tough schedule, new coach, new schemes, many new players, not enough prep time, too much emphasis on chasing the ROY award, and a wrongheaded team strategy driven by the boss. The latter half will turn out OK, after Jackson decides he might as well go down doing things his way.

    In that scenario the Warriors would end up with roughly the same W-L % as last year. And lots of questions for next season. Once again.

    Yep, that sounds about right.

  2. Its clear that the Warriors have a couple of good guards and Dave Lee. They don’t have a center and gutting the team to acquire one makes no sense. They need to draft or buy one. The Lakers got a good center and got Paul Gasol by trading wisely. The front office and especially the coach are blind and even color blind. They are unable to draft any real talent below the obvious nor do they trade wiswly because they cannot tell good from bad. They lack a strategy and let good players go. There is a simple reason why they are 3rd from the bottom and that is they lack the ability to tell a good from a bad player. Look at Jeremy Lin and tell me why Mark Jackson could not see the talent sitting on the bench right before is eyes. Mark is color blind and is part of the reason for their standings.

  3. Pingback: Playoffs, Baby!: Feltbot’s 2012 NBA Playoffs First Round Predictions - Feltbot's Warriors Blog