Jamie Cutler’s Favorite NBA Win Totals for 2021

NBA win totals 2021 Credit: ClutchPoints

Every year, Bill Simmons does a two part NBA win total podcast going over every team and picking a side. It is always one of my favorite listens before the season starts; it helps get to gage where each team is at based on the consensus of basketball junkies I trust. This year I decided to hold off listening to the podcast so I could pick a few of my own. Win totals are always a fun bet that gives you more of a rooting interest in different teams. Without further ado, here are my five favorite NBA win totals for 2021.

Golden State Warriors Over 47.5 Wins

This is the first total that stuck out to me, each time I look, I keep coming back. The once dominant Warriors have come back to reality with a plethora of catastrophic injuries over the past couple seasons, but there is optimism in the bay once again. Klay Thompson is on track to play for the first time in over 2 years, clips of him practicing have looked encouraging. Stephen Curry is coming off an MVP caliber season, and the Warriors got better over the season.

The Warriors have much more talent this time around with Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins, the return of Andre Igoudala and a another year of last years 2nd overall pick James Wiseman. Combined with two high draft picks and Otto Porter who has flashed signs of being a valuable role player in the past.

All of this depth plus a player who I expect to make a leap this season, Jordan Poole. Poole has really come into his own and he has shown flashes of being a true number 3 option on this team. Expect Poole to be a major part of the Warriors offence this season. The Warriors are ready to re-enter the title conversation, and should smash this win total.

Charlotte Hornets Under 38.5 Wins

The Hornets were one of the league’s most surprising teams last season, they beat their win total of 26.5 by 6 games. Come 2021 LaMelo Ball and co. have higher expectations. While I believe this team is on the right track, I think a lot broke right for Charlotte last season, from a weaker eastern conference to lucky breaks. The east has definitely improved this season, with the top 6 likely a combination of the Bucks, Celtics Hawks, Heat, Nets and 76ers. The Bulls, Knicks and Pacers all improved this season and added key contributors through personnel or coaching.

That is 9 teams currently set up to be better than Charlotte, not including a pesky Raptors squad and a always in the mix Wizards. The Hornets are young, but it feels like they are missing established vets who help right the ship during a tough stretch. I expect some growing pains from the young Hornets, this feels like a learning season to get LaMelo to the next level.

Philadelphia 76ers Over 50.5 Wins

One of the biggest question marks in the NBA right now is Ben Simmons. After talk all offseason that Simmons would not play for the Sixers again, Ben has finally reported and it sounds like he is on track to play for the team this season. A shocking development that no one expected, makes it hard to get a read on this team. The Sixers were the #1 seed in the east last season, winning 49 games in a shortened season. I believe this Sixers team is capable of winning 50 games with or without Ben Simmons.

The Sixers have one of the league’s best in Joel Embiid and a fantastic supporting cast for him. Tobias Harris and Seth Curry are perfect complimentary pieces to Embiid’s game. Tyrese Maxey is a player i expect to make a leap this season, he showed flashes in 2020 and the Sixers would be wise to push him into the starting lineup sooner than later. Embiid and Simmons have both shown they play better in a system without each other.

The best case scenario is trading Simmons for a package that includes shooters, or a floor general to work with Embiid. If they could pry Tyrese Haliburton or in a crazy situation, De’Aaron Fox from the Kings, that would upgrade the lineup immensely. The Sixers are in a good position regardless of Simmons status, I expect another strong regular season from the team.

Sacramento Kings Under 36.5 Wins

Speaking of the Kings, I am expecting their under to hit as well. The Kings roster construction confuses me, two years in a row they drafted best player available. A draft strategy I usually love, but the team already had a young stud point guard in De’Aaron Fox. Now they have 3 ball dominant guards with Tyrese Haliburton and Davion Mitchell, plus another guard who loves to shoot in Buddy Hield. They can’t possibly play the 4 of them at once, the defense could have prime Hakeem as their 5th and still be horrendous. While I like Richaun Holmes as role player his defense lacks as well.

The best thing this team could do is trade for Simmons. A defensive stud who can drive to the basket, and make plays. The Kings also suffer from having the worst coach in the league, Luke Walton. Walton and the Kings are in for a rough season, which might see them saying goodbye to some of their core players.

Denver Nuggets Over 47.5

Coming off an MVP season, Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets are looking to make the jump from perennial playoff team, to title contender. They have had playoff success the past two seasons but couldn’t get past the hump. Late last season rising star Jamal Murray tore his ACL just weeks before the playoff run. While Murray is out for at least the first half of the season, the other Nuggets will need to step up in order for the team tops in the west again.

This team gets a full season of Aaron Gordon, and Will Barton is fully healthy for the first time since last march. I am excited to see how Michael Porter Jr. looks in the absence of Jamal Murray. Many around the league are expecting a major jump from Porter Jr in year three.

The Nuggets have intriguing role players from PJ Dozier, to rookie Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland . They will need one of the guards to step up as well as more of a scoring effort from Gordon and Porter. Nikola Jokic is a threat to take over any game, he is one of my favorite league pass alerts (a player who gets so hot you have to text a friend telling them to turn on a random basketball game in December, Steph Curry usually leads this made up stat).

He can keep the Nuggets in any game, which always helps the win total. The Nuggets high powered offense and good coaching will lead them to another strong season, I expect another 50 win season for Michael Malone.

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Can the Hornets Build off this Season?

The Charlotte Hornets have not been much of a top line organization, but after the recent years of moves made by the office, the Hornets could be looking at a turn-around. The way that the league has altered in recent years has created a NBA game that is dominated by the guard position, and you need to have a guard who can make other players better. Last season with the third overall pick in the NBA draft, they might’ve found their guy in Lamelo Ball.

Lamelo Ball had what was at the time considered a fairly odd road to the NBA after dropping out of school to play overseas, then he came back to the states in order to play for high school again, then he played in the drew league, and then went back overseas before finally entering the draft. Ball has been playing top tier talent and professional talent since he was 16 years old. The young star burst onto the scene along with his two older brothers, Lonzo and LiAngelo Ball at Chino Hills High School. Lamelo, although he was the youngest of the ball brothers, was perhaps considered the most talented of the three. Looking back to that thought today, I think it’s fair to say that is true.

The Hornets knew that they were taking a risk with Ball at pick three, for multiple reasons. Everyone knew the Ball brothers due to their very out-spoken father, LaVar Ball. LaVar had proclaimed to the world that his boys are going to be the best in the world and revolutionize the league. Although, his quotes were extremely far-fetched, he was able to create a big name for his family and get their names out there. Lamelo’s play style was considered a risk as well. Being a trigger happy shooter, his transition and ability to play a advanced game of basketball was considered another risk. However, after an incredible rookie season, his translation to league has already succeeded the organizations expectations.

There is a lot that goes into making a team, but the first thing that you have to do is find a guy you can build around and give him a team to work with. Over the course of the past couple seasons the Hornets have acquired Lamelo Ball, P.J. Washington, Terry Rozier, Gordon Hayward, Devonte’ Graham, and Jalen McDaniels. They have put together a well rounded team with the exception of a true center, but given the Hornets schematical game-play, they have built a team that fits their perimeter game-play perfectly.

Looking ahead to next season, they will have some decisions to make as they have some big names that are potential free agents. Looking at the list of free agents they have: Cody Zeller, Devonte’ Graham, Malik Monk, and Bismack Biyombo. Within those free agents, they also have to determine how much of an impact they can get from holding the 11th overall pick in the draft. They have been mocked multiple different players, but they seem to be looking along the lines of a SG/SF player.

They are in a division and a conference that’s going to make it difficult to get into the playoffs, but with free agency being out there in which they could look at getting a player to fill their void at center, and improve their big man game, they could be a competitor each and every season.