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New Orleans Pelicans sit 7th in the Western Conference according to Bovada futures

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Internal improvement or the effects of free agency on Portland and Dallas?

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Free agency is wrapping up throughout the NBA, and the New Orleans Pelicans did very little beyond bringing the gang back together. Most teams are working on filling out the last spots in the rotation, or even just the last remaining seats at the end of the bench. A quick look at the best remaining free agents shows that the class is well picked through. Las Vegas is home not only to the premier summer league for the NBA (there were also summer leagues in Orlando and Utah this year) but a whole bunch of smart folks setting betting lines. There the Pelicans have improved their standing, if only slightly.

Bovada futures put the Pelicans 7th in the Western Conference, and tied with the Atlanta Hawks for 10th overall in the NBA at 40/1 odds to win the NBA championship. For comparison's sake the New Orleans Saints, also given 40/1 odds (as of July 18th), are tied for 8th in the NFC and 17th overall in the NFL. Of course, the Saints are also tied for first in the NFC South as the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons also sit at 40/1, but that is just the reaction to the division being absolutely horrendous in 2014.

Team 2016 Odds 2015 Finish Difference
San Antonio Spurs 3 / 1 6 5
Golden State Warriors 5 / 1 1 -1
Oklahoma City Thunder 17 / 2 9 6
Los Angeles Clippers 9 / 1 3 -1
Houston Rockets 25 / 1 2 -3
Memphis Grizzlies 33 / 1 5 -1
New Orleans Pelicans 40 / 1 8 1
Dallas Mavericks 50 / 1 7 -1
Los Angeles Lakers 66 / 1 14 5
Phoenix Suns 100 / 1 10 0
Portland Trail Blazers 100 / 1 4 -7
Utah Jazz 100 / 1 11 -1
Minnesota Timberwolves 150 / 1 15 1
Sacramento Kings 150 / 1 13 0
Denver Nuggets 200 / 1 12 -3

That the San Antonio Spurs (huge victors in free agency) and Oklahoma City Thunder (ravaged by injury during the 2014-15 season) are expected to improve should be no surprise. The Pelicans are the only other projected playoff team expected to improve from where they finished last season, even if that improvement is only to leapfrog the Mavericks.

What do you think? Where will the Pelicans finish season?