2016 NBA Betting: Eliminated 2015 Teams with Most Offseason Work

Posted by Alex Murphy on May 25, 2015 in

Out of the 16 teams that qualified for the 2015 NBA postseason games, we only have four left—Golden State and Houston Rockets from the Western Conference, and Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference. For some teams like the Washington Wizards and New Orleans Pelicans, there was a lot of promise, as they gave a good account of themselves. For others, however, the postseason exposed their vulnerabilities rather show their strengths. This latter group will be the center of attention in this NBA betting preview, as we succinctly break down what they need to do if they are to reach or even play well in the 2016 NBA Playoffs.

2016 NBA Betting: Eliminated 2015 Teams with Most Offseason Work



Portland Trail Blazers

After cruising to a strong regular season that helped them secure an early qualification for the playoffs as the No. 4 seed in the West, the Blazers were a shadow of their dominant selves, suffering a first-round loss against No. 5 seed Memphis. Being totally outclassed by the Grizzlies was an indication of the need for the Blazers to strengthen their squad, especially in their leaky defensive department. In addition, Portland’s star forward LaMarcus Aldridge is a free agent, alongside Robin Lopez and Wesley Mathews, while Arron Afflalo has $7.7 million opt out option. If the Blazers cannot hold on to these players (or get formidable replacements), the 2015-2016 season won’t be favorable for them.

Toronto Raptors

Like the Blazers, the Raptors had an electrifying regular-season run, finishing among the top teams in the Eastern Conference. However, even with star players like DeMar DeRozan, Jonas Valanciunas and Kyle Lowry in their team, the team looked bereft of winning ideas in the playoffs, suffering a four-game sweep to against the Washington Wizards. With Toronto head coach Dwane Casey set to return next season together the majority of his core players and supporting cast, the biggest priority will be for Toronto to get upgrades in the defense. Having posted a No. 3 ranked offensive efficiency in the NBA in the just-concluded season, a couple of utility defense players could be the key to an improved Toronto in 2015.

San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs aren’t what you’d call a bad team, at least going by their 2014 season and decent showing in the playoffs. However, if the Spurs aren’t able to sort out contract issues for potential free agents like Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili by keeping them in San Antonio, the team could be trouble next year. Also, adding a new breed of young players who can form a nucleus around the do-all Leonard (assuming he stays with San Antonio) will be very important in the offseason. This is especially because the Spurs tend to rely on their veteran players, some of whom have slackened in pace and efficiency, hence necessitating the addition of young blood to support the veteran cast, who are bound to retire soon anyway.

Dallas Mavericks

Being one of the most prolific teams at the start of the 2014 season, the Mavericks were certainly a big disappointment, based on the way they ended their season. The veteran-heavy Dallas was outsmarted by a young Houston team in the first round of the playoffs, with both the Mavs’ offense and defense struggling mightily. Entering the offseason, Rajon Rondo and Tyson Chandler will be unrestricted agents starting July 1st, while Monta Ellis is free to exercise a player option or test the free agency. Besides Rondo, who is nearly guaranteed not to return to Dallas after failing to impress as a free agent, the future of Ellis and Chandler is not clear. In order to have an improved 2015-2016 season, the Mavericks will not only need to convince Ellis and Chandler to stay with the team, but they must also bring in new young players that can blend with the existing veterans in Dallas.

ESPN.com (http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/2983/lamarcus-aldridge)
NBA.com (http://www.nba.com/playerfile/demar_derozan/)