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The Bird Calls Podcast Ep. 33: New Orleans Pelicans improved playoff odds and all Western Conference over/unders

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NBA: Preseason-Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Following several more free agent signings and Carmelo Anthony joining the Thunder, the Western Conference win totals have been amended somewhat by Las Vegas oddsmakers. The New Orleans Pelicans are one of the teams that received a bump up the ladder, as presumably the Tony Allen and Dante Cunningham signings in September were seen as a positive.

Listen to Preston and Zach break down every team in the Western Conference, both from an over/under standpoint and their playoff chances. The guys in particular pay attention to last season’s bottom feeders, mentioning there is hope for improvement among a few franchises, and the predicted tight race for the final playoff seeds which now includes the Pelicans and Trail Blazers in a tie for eighth.

  • The Phoenix Suns (28.5 wins) are predicted to finish last in the West, but Zach likes a lot of the young talent on their roster. Devin Booker is a favorite of his and he really likes Josh Jackson and Tyler Ulis — so he’s taking the over.
  • The Sacramento Kings (29 wins) have an interesting mixture of youth (Buddy Hield, De’Aaron Fox) and old (Zach Randolph, George Hill), but the guys are unsure where this experiment is headed.
  • Many feel the Los Angeles Lakers (32.5 wins) will take a step forward this season thanks to new additions like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Brook Lopez and Lonzo Ball; however, Zach strongly favors the under here.
  • Both Preston and Zach are down on the Dallas Mavericks (35.5 wins). Although they’re both fans of Dennis Smith Jr. in the long run, they feel rookie point guards require significant adjustment periods.
  • The Memphis Grizzlies (38.5 wins) still have Mike Conley Jr. and Marc Gasol, but the rest of the roster is uninspiring to Preston and Zach. Under.
  • The Utah Jazz (38.5) are another team predicted to slip out of the playoffs because of key departures in Gordon Hayward and George Hill. Despite this, Preston feels Ricky Rubio may be able to salvage Utah’s offense and astound some in the West.
  • Surprise, surprise, the guys are going with the over for the New Orleans Pelicans (40.5 wins). Preston and Zach are buying the DeMarcus Cousins-Anthony Davis tandem, and they feel the team should be able to absorb loss of Solomon Hill.
  • Another team the guys like the over on and to make the playoffs are the Portland Trail Blazers (40.5 wins). Preston loves what Jusuf Nurkic brings and feels Damian Lillard will continue to play with that chip on his shoulder.
  • Our first big disagreement! The Los Angeles Clippers (42.5 wins) are now Blake Griffin’s team, but while Zach thinks depth will propel them into the playoffs, Preston is definitely taking the under.
  • The Denver Nuggets (43.5 wins) came together nicely last season with Nikola Jokic leading the offense and Paul Millsap should prove a valuable addition. While Preston likes what he sees, Zach isn’t feeling it and thinks Denver will miss the postseason.
  • The Minnesota Timberwolves (46.5 wins) are expected to make the biggest jump in the west and add 15.5 wins. While both guys are taking the under, they expect the Wolves to find the playoffs.
  • The trades for Paul George and Carmelo Anthony have vaulted the Oklahoma City Thunder (52.5 wins) to a top four team. Zach likes them even more, thinking they’re headed to the next Western Conference finals.
  • The San Antonio Spurs (53.5 wins) had a rather uneventful summer, but they’ve still got Gregg Popovich and Kawhi Leonard. A total of around 53 wins seems just about right.
  • The Houston Rockets (54.5 wins) are predicted to finish second, but Zach and Preston both aren’t sold on the Chris Paul/James Harden combination. They should be fine in the regular season, but the playoffs could be an entirely different story.
  • The Golden State Warriors (67.5 wins) are a juggernaut and are justifiably overwhelming favorites to win another title. However, Preston is taking the under here because he thinks they’ll pace themselves in the regular season.