Vegas Over/Under: 51.5
Fromal's Record Projection: 52-30 The Bet: Avoid but lean over
As Kyle Wagner broke down to FiveThirtyEight, the addition of Paul George immediately vaulted the Oklahoma City Thunder back into contention in the Western Conference:
"The top-5 of Westbrook, George, Enes Kanter, Steven Adams and Andre Roberson are worth 53 wins all on their own. But CARMELO thinks so little of this Thunder seat that the rest of the roster is worth -2 wins. That bench was bad this past season, but young players like Alex Abrines and Doug McDermott may improve with an extra season with the group, and this year's first-round draft pick Terrance Ferguson has potential as a spot-up shooter on the wing, which the staff desperately needed last year. Still, with Taj Gibson probably leaving in free agency, the Thunder will be sparse. But while their projection doesn't place the team nearly at the level of the Golden State Warriors, as well as the newly minted Chris Paul Houston Rockets, acquiring George should have an outsize influence on the Thunder."
The TL;DR version this is that even without factoring in the upside which stems from possible internal improvement, the Thunder already should've been expected to acquire 51 games. And this was written before OKC inked Patrick Patterson–a power forward who matches perfectly with the other expected starting pieces–to a deal of a deal.
Improving much beyond the 51-win benchmark is a challenging task as the Thunder try to weave in fresh players effortlessly. But after watching Russell Westbrook function as a one-man show during his MVP-winning campaign, they now get to put so much more talent .
Expect big things.
Read more: valsdaily.com