Now that the Damian Lillard three-team trade is officially complete, it’s time to consider a couple of win-total bets for the upcoming NBA season. With the league’s balance of power in flux, these picks could offer some value.
James Harden’s desire to leave Philly is apparent, with reports suggesting he won’t even attend media day. While the 76ers have managed a 17-10 record without Harden since he arrived in 2022, it’s evident that discontent permeates the City of Brotherly Love. The 76ers are unlikely to improve without Harden, and their championship aspirations took a hit with Damian Lillard teaming up with Giannis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee. Joel Embiid, who has yet to advance past the second round of the playoffs, will turn 30 during the 2023-24 season. He has achieved individual success but not postseason glory. If you believe Embiid’s social media activity, bet the over. But it’s possible that his championship window is closing, and he may explore options away from a team whose “process” has fallen short. The last time the 76ers surpassed 49 wins without Harden was in the 2018-19 season, during Ben Simmons’ first All-Star campaign.
The Kings finished with a 48-34 record last season, securing third place in the Western Conference and first in the Pacific Division. However, replicating that level of success seems unlikely. Although Sacramento retained its core from the 2022-23 season, it faces a daunting challenge in the NBA’s toughest division this year. The Golden State Warriors are unlikely to struggle as much on the road, the Phoenix Suns have bolstered their roster, and the Los Angeles Lakers found their winning form late in the previous season. These three teams are among the top six favorites to win the NBA title in 2024. The Kings will face them multiple times, making their schedule significantly more challenging. While the Kings should still contend for a playoff spot, the odds are stacked against them this time. The win total will likely be lower than last season, but they will still have their moments.