NBA

NBA Western Conference over/under predictions for the 2023-24 regular season

Oct 24, 2023, 6:00 AM | Updated: 9:36 am

Malik Monk #0 of the Sacramento Kings reacts after De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings made a t...

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It’s been too long since we’ve gotten to say this: Who’s ready for some NBA basketball?

Four months ago, the Denver Nuggets lifted their first Larry O’Brien trophy, defeating the Miami Heat in five games. Now, we do it all over again Tuesday Night. The Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers open the 2023-24 season at 4:30 p.m. PST. Then, the Phoenix Suns face off against the Golden State Warriors at 7 p.m. to round out the doubleheader.

But before we get to the opening tip, let’s take a look at the over/under projections for each team’s regular season win total and if they’ll hit the “over” or the “under”, this season.

Disclaimer: All projection props were accurate at the time of publishing this article. All opinions expressed are that of Sactown Sports writer Amil Fragoso, who you can follow here.

Western Conference

Northwest Division:

Denver Nuggets

Over/Under: 52.5 Wins

Last Season’s Record: 53-29

Prediction: Over

After years of building the foundation, the Denver Nuggets finally broke through and won their first NBA Championship. And it was all thanks to Nikola Jokic.

Just kidding, well kind of.

We’d be lying to say the Serbian big man isn’t the main reason for the Nuggets’ turnaround, becoming one of the greatest all-around centers in modern history. His ability to dissect the opposition in real-time is uncanny to how elite quarterbacks do it in the NFL. Still, in his prime at 28, Jokic guarantees close to 40 wins on his own for Denver.

Then you add point guard Jamal Murray, who became a big-time clutch performer down the stretch. He returns, now entering a full season coming off a 2021 ACL tear.

Michael Porter Jr. and Aaron Gordon also came up big when it mattered most. While both wings have their off nights, what they bring to the squad is valuable nonetheless.

However, Denver did lose some pieces from their championship team. The biggest was Bruce Brown, who left on a big-money deal for Indiana.

Still, the Nuggets are at the top of the West for a reason, with coach Michael Malone looking to add to his coaching legacy with this squad.

Good times should be ahead for the reigning champs, especially if Jokic and Murray can stay healthy.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Over/Under: 44.5 Wins

Last Season’s Record: 42-40

Prediction: Over

After the blockbuster trade to acquire former DPOY Rudy Gobert, many Wolves fans had their team pegged for a big breakout.

Well, that didn’t really happen.

Instead, franchise center Karl Anthony Towns suffered a long-term injury to his leg in early December. That setback put Minnesota on a slippery slope for the rest of the season, too reliant on budding star Anthony Edwards. To make matters worse, Gobert underperformed, with his defense getting exposed on the perimeter during the regular season

Despite all that, the Timberwolves still finished 42-40, winning the final spot in the postseason to take on Denver in round 1. And while Minnesota ultimately lost the series in six games, Edwards & Co. gave them the most trouble, especially when Towns was back to 100%.

Because of that, give me the over for this Wolves team. They just have too much talent on the roster.

Of course, it’s all dependent on Edwards taking that leap to superstardom. But the 22-year-old looks ready to take over, giving up a preview on the international circuit for Team USA.

Forty-five wins are attainable for a team that wildly underperformed a season ago.

Portland Trail Blazers

Over/Under: 27.5 Wins

Last Season’s Record: 33-49

Prediction: Under

After 11 years, Portland finally pulled the trigger and traded star PG Damian Lillard, shipping him to Milwaukee for players and picks. Now the hard part starts for the Northwest franchise.

The rebuild.

Luckily, they are set up to have sustainable success in a few years. And that starts with Scoot Henderson.

The third overall pick has been the real deal in the preseason, looking like he’s played in the NBA for a few years now. Sure, there’ll be a learning curve, but the point guard oozes confidence, something you want from your new No.1 guy.

The development of guards Shaedon Sharpe and Anfernee Simons will be key to turning this around also. Both men have shown flashes of elite play, with the latter more ready to be a co-star.

Then you throw in new big men DeAndre Ayton and Robert Williams, and Portland has some real players.

Still, it’s a young team, one that will lose a lot of games this season. Enough that they’ll look to add more draft capital by trading other ancillary pieces like Jeremi Grant.

This won’t be your usual young franchise though, putting teams on notice with their competitive play throughout the regular season.

Think of the Orlando Magic from last season.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Over/Under: 44.5 Wins

Last Season’s Record: 40-42

Prediction: Over

Could the 2022-23 season have gone any better for the Thunder?

PG Shai Gilgous-Alexander became a star, churning out clutch moments on a nightly basis. Meanwhile, the front office hit on more draft picks, with F Jalen Williams and G Josh Giddey showing more promise as the season went on. To cap it off, they made the play-in tournament, despite not having a traditional center available.

Could it get any better for this young squad? Oh wait, the 2022 second overall pick Chet Holmgren is healthy.

The Gonzaga alum has been on fire in the preseason, showing the two-way versatility that made him so coveted. He reaches anywhere near his potential, oh boy, look out for this team.

It’s a resounding over here for this emerging squad on the brink of something special.

Utah Jazz

Over/Under: 35.5 Wins

Last Season’s Record: 37-45

Prediction: Under

Year 1 under Danny Ainge didn’t go to plan, at least for him (probably).

The Jazz were good last season, despite trading away Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. The collection of Lauri Markkenen, Jordan Clarkson, Collin Sexton and Walker Kessler got the job done most nights, especially Markkenen.

Then they started losing games and traded away PG Mike Conley and F Jarred Vanderbilt for draft picks.

So the question remains: Can they repeat that success a year later?

Eh, probably not.

Sometimes players overperform and this is one of those teams. Seeing some regression from Markkenen should be expected, and the rest of the roster is pretty young.

They do have pieces to build around (especially if rookie Keyonte George is the real deal), but this season could be less fruitful for Utah.

And that’s okay.

Pacific Division:

Golden State Warriors

Over/Under: 47.5 Wins

Last Season’s Record: 44-38

Prediction: Under

Is the Warriors dynasty finally coming to an end? This season could be another turning point one way or another.

Golden State returns almost the exact same roster from a year ago, except with Chris Paul instead of Jordan Poole. That was their big move of the summer, hoping the veteran “Point God” can supply more than the streaky scorer on a consistent basis.

I don’t see it, both in terms of scheme fit and overall consistency. The 38-year-old has steadily declined over the last few years. But maybe if he’s used in a sixth-man role, he’ll be able to provide more of a burst.

That’s what Warriors fans are hoping for at least.

Besides that, it’s basically the same team.

Draymond Green got paid this offseason, but Klay Thompson hasn’t and probably won’t until the summer of 2024.

Could this mean a last hurrah for the Bay Area’s Big 3?

It’s possible, which is why they focus on the postseason more than the regular season this year.

LA Clippers

Over/Under: 45.5 Wins

Last Season’s Record: 44-38

Prediction: Under

This is pretty simple: Until Kawhi Leonard and Paul George play more than 60 games a season (which hasn’t happened for either guy since they joined the Clippers), this team can’t be trusted on any over/under prop.

Maybe the acquisition of James Harden changes that, but then again, it’s James Harden.

The under is always the play here until they show us otherwise.

LA Lakers

Over/Under: 46.5 Wins

Last Season’s Record: 43-39

Prediction: Over

The Lakers look so much different than at the start of last season.

From starting 2-10 to making the Western Conference Finals, Los Angeles proved that they can still be a playoff threat with LeBron James and Anthony Davis as the cornerstones. If not for James’ bizarre foot injury, would they have taken Denver to a six or seven-game series?

That’s what this season is all about.

LeBron is entering Year 21, still playing at an elite level in the NBA. Davis had stretches of All-NBA play last season, showing that he’s still in his prime at 30 years old.

Both men staying healthy will be the key to a title, but they have help at least.

Austin Reaves is back, so is Rui Hachimura, and so is D’Angelo Russell. All of those guys are irrationally confident players who can light it up on any given night. Then, they added Gabe Vincent, Taurean Prince, Christian Wood and Jaxson Hayes to round the depth.

That’s a pretty deep team if we’re being honest, with 10 to 12 guys that can give meaningful minutes. Good job, Rob Pelinka, you finally got LeBron a well-rounded team.

LA is also set up for a big-name trade if they feel so inclined, with a disgruntled star probably becoming available in the next few months.

The options are endless for the LakeShow, but all of them lead to a team that should win 50 games this season.

Size, scoring, defense, good coaching: The Lakers should hit that over unless disaster strikes the aging stars.

Phoenix Suns

Over/Under: 52.5 Wins

Last Season’s Record: 45-37

Prediction: Under

This is a hard one, because at first glance you consider all the firepower in the starting lineup.

The trio of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal is lethal in the desert, giving us a preview during the preseason. Beal is finally unleashed as a sidekick to bigger stars, able to have more breathing room when he goes on a scoring terror.

Then a healthy KD & DBook take over when it’s time? Yeah, the Suns have a championship contender on offense.

But it’s their defense and long-term outlook that will doom them over here.

Both Booker and Beal aren’t the best defenders, with no other guard on the roster able to fill the void for long stretches. Josh Okogie will be needed for that, but his offense isn’t amazing.

And then their interior defense, with newly-acquired Josef Nurkic holding down the fort.

Don’t get me wrong, I think he is a great rebounder alongside the Big 3. But his defense is one of the worst in the NBA.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint in the regular season, and Phoenix knows that. Which is why they value being healthy at the end to make a playoff push as more important than 53 wins.

They are going to be a great playoff team, not a regular-season team.

Sacramento Kings

Over/Under: 44.5 Wins

Last Season’s Record: 48-34

Prediction: Over

The darlings of the NBA, our Sacramento Kings have returned to basketball relevancy.

The 2022-23 season was magical for Sacramento, as first-year head coach Mike Brown finally unlocked De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis. Both men will be the key to sustained success, making the All-NBA team last season.

If they continue to play at that level or higher, who knows the good the Kings can be?

But then again, the rest of the West got better, and Sacramento only made small additions to keep most of its core intact. Euroleague MVP Sasha Vezenkov should add more three-point shooting to the team, as should Chris Duarte.

But can they play defense? Can Sacramento get to the league average in that department? Only time will tell.

Still, the Kings are a loaded team that plays as a unit. That unit has another year together under their belts.

So, expect the over, even if it’s close in April. This season is about the playoffs anyway, right?

Southwest Division:

Dallas Mavericks

Over/Under: 43.5 Wins

Last Season’s Record: 38-44

Prediction: Over

This is a real fork in the road season for the Mavericks, with both the over and under very much in play.

On the one hand, Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving are two of the greatest individual players we’ve seen in the last 15 years. On the other hand, this is a team sport and those two didn’t play team basketball down the stretch last season.

But maybe a full training camp and more time can make it work, which is why the over is the call here.

Dallas has too much talent in their cornerstones. And in ancillary players like Tim Hardaway Jr., Grant Williams, Seth Curry, this team can at least get buckets.

Oh, and Josh Green can play on both ends, inking a three-year extension on Monday.

Another key will be their big men, specifically rookie Dereck Lively II. They have a lot of faith in him to be their starter right away.

Will it work out? Who knows. But that could put them in the trade market for something else in a few months.

It’s a cautious over (I get the under too), but Luka x Kyrie is just too good to not get 45 wins.

Houston Rockets

Over/Under: 31.5 Wins

Last Season’s Record: 22-60

Prediction: Under

The new-look Rockets could be a scary team in a couple of seasons, just not quite yet.

Year 1 of Ime Udoka is going to be a steep learning curve for a formerly nonsensical franchise. Just look at the Celtics’ record in 2021-22 before the New Year.

I expect it to take more time in Houston, which is why the under is in play here.

But don’t be surprised if the Rockets get better as the season moves along. Veteran Fred VanVleet is a perfect fit for the Rockets’ young stars, like Jabari Smith Jr. and Amen Thompson. H-Town also has former second-overall pick Jalen Green, Can Whitmore, Alperen Sengun and Tari Eason.

If only half of those prospects turn into their potential, look out.

Another team primed for more wins in the near future, just not more than 30 right now.

Memphis Grizzlies

Over/Under: 46.5 Wins

Last Season’s Record: 51-31

Prediction: Under

Ja Morant is suspended for 25 games to start the regular season, Steven Adams is set to undergo season-ending surgery before the season even starts, and the depth is still a concern.

Morant missing time is the real key here, which is why them just squeaking into the postseason is more likely than another 50-win season.

But then again, the Grizzlies could surprise all of us.

New Orleans Pelicans

Over/Under: 44.5 Wins

Last Season’s Record: 42-40

Prediction: Under

The Clippers of Louisiana, where Brandon Ingram is PG, and Zion Williamson is Kawhi.

If both men could stay healthy for a full season, the over would be no problem. But until that happens, the under is probably the most likely outcome.

It’s wait-and-see time with a very talented New Orleans squad.

San Antonio Spurs

Over/Under: 28.5 Wins

Last Season’s Record: 22-60

Prediction: Over

Probably the most talked about franchise in the last few months is the San Antonio Spurs.

The Spurs have been front-page news since winning the NBA Draft lottery and the rights to take phenom Victor Wembanyama.

And for good reason.

Wemby has been awesome in preseason play, showing flashes of “what the hell just happened” almost every quarter. The game against the Warriors was his most impressive performance, dominating the former champions with ease.

His size and length, coupled with scoring and ball-handling, make him virtually unguardable. And the scary part? He’s 19 years old.

But the Spurs are more than the Frenchmen, equipped with budding studs across the board.

Devin Vassell has looked the part so far, with a big jump on the horizon for the 23-year-old. Jeremy Sochan enters Year 2 in the NBA, looking to be the Draymond Green of the Spurs. Keldon Johnson and Tre Jones are also steady guys to even out the inconsistencies of the youth.

Point being, San Antonio could win 30 games in Year 1 of Wemby, especially if Gregg Popovich wants to.

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NBA Western Conference over/under predictions for the 2023-24 regular season