Thunder 2019-20 Season Win Total: Will OKC Compete or Start Rebuild?

Thunder 2019-20 Season Win Total: Will OKC Compete or Start Rebuild? article feature image
Credit:

Photo credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Chris Paul

  • Prior to the 2019-20 NBA season, Matt Moore (@HPBasketball) analyzes each team's win total odds.
  • Below, Matt provides a case for the over and under + gives his confidence rating for the Oklahoma City Thunder's win total this year.

Check out this post for updated season win total odds and this post for my other 29 season win total picks.

All odds as of Friday. Check out PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).

Oklahoma City Thunder Win Total

The Case for the Over (31.5, PointsBet)

Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari and Steven Adams is the core of a playoff team in the East. They don’t play in the East, which is why their playoff odds are rightfully low. But that team is probably as good as several of the lower-seed playoff teams in the East, even without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Billy Donovan has never set himself apart in the NBA the way he did in college, but there’s also never been any real signs he’s not a good coach. His defenses have consistently excelled; his offenses have consistently struggled with small signs that they could be better if, you know, there wasn’t a Jordan Brand demon at the wheel.

This is not to disparage what Russell Westbrook has accomplished, but it’s to note that when the Thunder ran an offense that was more egalitarian, as they did for a three-month stretch mid-season last year, there were signs it could be good.

This number is a pretty damning indictment of Chris Paul, the future Hall of Fame point guard who may not be the player he once was but remains dangerous in many aspects. Paul’s down year shooting was 36% from deep, and his defense was still tenacious and disruptive. He may be a domineering pain to deal with in the locker room, but he’s also the guy who’s going to yell at your wing to get out of the paint to fix the spacing in your set.

Will the Thunder trade assets this year? The sense talking to sources both close to OKC and around the league is that it’ll depend on how it goes. If they get off to a good start? They’ll see it through. For right now, CP3 is committed to giving this a go. Steven Adams is going to be the same guy he always is, and Gallinari is a professional.

The rest of the roster is uninspiring… but they’re also almost entirely veterans. They know what they’re doing, and that, plus their defensive potential, will give them a chance in a lot of spots.

The Thunder may cut bait and start trading off the rest of their assets, but that may also be so late in the season that the Thunder finish in the mid-30s anyway.

Additionally, let’s say they deal Paul and even Gallinari. They still have Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Do you want to subject a promising player in his second season, coming from L.A., now in a small market, to a prolonged losing/rebuilding stretch?

The Case for the Under (32.5, DraftKings)

There’s a pretty simple scenario for the under to hit: OKC has the toughest strength of schedule through November, and if things go downhill, that means the team could simply pull the plug early.

This is the overriding concern. The high variance of their trade forecasts creates instability, and teams rarely thrive in those scenarios.

Paul is 34 with meniscus issues in both knees. Adams was not the same player defensively last season for whatever reason and has put on a lot of miles during his short career. Gallinari has a long injury history. And the supporting cast lacks almost any semblance of shooting.

Their only shooter from last year over 35% from deep still on the roster is Terrance Ferguson. It’s bleak.

The Verdict

  • The pick: Over 31.5
  • Confidence: 1 out of 10

Going into the season, this roster can easily hit the over. The team it may be by the end of the season is a possible under.

The range of outcomes is large — even more so than other teams that might shift directions. The Thunder are cocooning into something new, but until they fully submerge, they can still win 35-plus games.

O…OVE..R…?