Rockets' "Meaningless" Finale Wasn't Meaningless for Gamblers
DENVER NUGGETS UNDER 45
In the end, the whole league's record is .500. Someone has to win and someone has to lose every game. It's a zero sum game, and if you believe that the Rockets will be improved (which I do) and that the Warriors will win more games than last regular season (which I also do), then it has to come at someone's expense in the upper echelon, and that team is Denver. Now, some of that is baked into their number already at an "8 seed waiting to happen" total of 45. Still, this team has had a "pending collapse" level of doom swirling around it from about the time Steph Curry turned it into his bitch in the playoffs last season. And now in the off-season they lose Andre Iguodala, have Danilo Gallinari rehabbing an ACL injury, and break in a first-time head coach in Brian Shaw, who now has to forfeit his long held title of "most touted assistant coach to get passed over for jobs every season."
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS UNDER 40.5
So if Denver falls out of the playoff race in the West, they have to be backfilled by somebody, right? Well, yes, I suppose. So that somebody will be the newly named New Orleans Pelicans, right? Well, wrong. And it has nothing to do with the new nickname. As I've said many times before, pelicans are underrated badasses in the animal kingdom. Just watch this pelican go to work offensively and eat up this pigeon: