Vegas Over/Under: 51.5
The Record Projection: 52-30 of fromal The Bet: Prevent but lean over
Since 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 seat was awful last year, 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 select Terrance Ferguson has potential as a spot-up shot on the wing, and also the team desperately needed last year. Still, with Taj Gibson probably leaving in free agency, the Thunder will be thin. But while their projection doesn't place the team almost at the amount of this Golden State Warriors, as well as the recently minted Chris Paul Houston Rockets, acquiring George should have an outsize influence on the Thunder."
The TL;DR version here is that even without factoring in the upside that stems from potential internal improvement, the Thunder already should have been expected to acquire 51 games. And that was written before OKC inked Patrick Patterson–a power forward who fits perfectly with another anticipated starting pieces–to a deal of a bargain.
Improving much beyond the 51-win benchmark is a difficult job as the Thunder attempt to weave in fresh players effortlessly. But after watching Russell Westbrook function as a one-man show throughout his MVP-winning effort, they get to place so much more talent .
Expect huge things.