NBA Season Win Totals and My Rockets Prediction

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Last add on my post from yesterday about Kris Kardashian Humphries re-signing with the Nets:

For those of you who think I was a little too hard on Big Humph (and by my count, there were exactly none of you who felt that way), just know that according to results of a recent poll of NBA fans, Humphries is now the most hated player in the NBA. Yes, Kris Humphries.

The entire list looks like this:

1. Kris Humphries (50 percent dislike) 2. LeBron James (48 percent) 3. Kobe Bryant (45 percent) 4. Tony Parker (37 percent) 5. Metta World Peace (36 percent) 6. Chris Bosh (34 percent) 7. Carmelo Anthony (27 percent) 8. Paul Pierce (25 percent) 9. Dwyane Wade (23 percent) 10. Lamar Odom (21 percent)

So if you're keeping score at home, in one offseason, Humphries went from anonymous NBA grunt worker to being more loathed than:

-- JAMES: the one athlete who had a made-for-TV special to announce his free agency intentions last year (and was arguably the most hated non-criminal athlete on the planet for a full year afterward) -- BRYANT, PARKER, WADE: three known adulterers (including one who may or may not have raped a woman in 2003 and another who banged his teammate's wife) -- METTA WORLD PEACE: a clinical kook who thanks his psychiatrist after games and who started the biggest melee in the history of American sporting events -- BOSH: It's Bosh. Enough said. -- ODOM: A guy who actually stayed married to a Kardashian.

It's a fact. Only the Rockets had a worse offseason than Humphries.

Speaking of the Rockets (world-class segue there), the sports betting world has weighed in on how they think the Rockets will do in 2011-2012. The posted total for your hometown team this season (keep in mind, 66 games this season) is 32 1/2. If you're wondering how the Samuel Dalembert acquisition yesterday effected the number just know that the posted number Monday night was 32 1/2, and after the Dalembert signing it didn't move at all.

I'm not a big Dalembert fan, but I have a hard time believing that this team's having a seven-footer who is proficient in a couple basketball skills (as opposed to Hasheem Thabeet who may be a better soccer player than basketball player, and is MUCH better at hanging out at the mall than he is at both of those things) manning the paint will not result in a couple more wins. And they were already a 43-39 team last year with Chuck Hayes (God bless him) playing most of the minutes at center.

Truth be told, I think last year's team overachieved a little bit to get to 43-39, but a bet on going over 32 1/2 wins against this schedule is essentially a bet that the Rockets are a .500 team or better. I think they are provided that:

1. Kyle Lowry takes the leap from solid all-around point guard to "firmly in the All-Star debate." The only point guards in the West who teams would definitively take over Lowry for this season are Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Steve Nash, and maybe Tony Parker. After that, there's no reason Lowry shouldn't be more productive than Jason Kidd (although I had a hard time slotting him because of intangibles and his improved shooting), Ty Lawson, Devin Harris, and Andre Miller.

2. Dalembert has to stay on the floor. He's played 80 games or more the last five seasons, so what he's lacked in dominance he's made up for in durability. If Dalembert gives the Rockets 8.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 2 blocks per night this contract will be a huge win. They have nothing resembling a competent NBA center behind him on this roster. 3. Chase Budinger has to become a 30+ minutes a night guy. It's not that Budinger doesn't have the skills to be a solid above-average rotation guy, it's a lack of consistency that dogs him. Go look at his game log from this past season. So many ups and downs, it reads like a basketball box score version of a soap opera, with incredibly high highs and painfully low lows. The good news is he was a better player by season's end than he was in the first half of last year.

4. Someone, ANYONE, from the 2009 Lottery Club needs to step up. Hasheem Thabeet (2nd pick in 2009), Jonny Flynn (6th), Jordan Hill (8th), and Terrence Williams (11th) have all been brought in via various trades the last two years. Right now exactly ZERO of them are firm rotation players for the Rockets. Flynn and Williams have the best chance of cracking the lineup, but unfortunately Thabeet and Hill play the biggest positions of need.

I'll have faith that at least three of these things happen, and if they do, I think 34-32 sounds about right.

A few other over/under season bets I like:

Detroit Pistons UNDER 21 1/2 wins. Maybe the most poorly constructed team in the league, they will be among the league's worst.

Los Angeles Clippers OVER 40 1/2 wins. I hate being "climb on bandwagon" guy, but the fact is Chris Paul made supporting casts a LOT worse than this one into playoff teams in New Orleans.

Miami Heat UNDER 50 1/2 wins. With the funky, overpacked schedule, I don't know that we're going to see any team go "balls to the wall" during the regular season. 50 1/2 equates to around 62 wins on a real NBA schedule. Betting over on 62 wins is a virtual suicide bet.

Oklahoma City UNDER 48 1/2 wins. Still too soon to buy into such a young team to being of "60-22 during a real season" caliber.

Los Angeles Laker UNDER whatever their total is. They haven't posted a total on the Lakers, likely because of Kobe's latest injury, but when they do, take the under. There's a much better chance of this turning into a Kobe sulks his way through a "fuck you, I'm taking every shot" season than Dwight Howard falling out of the sky.

One final item: I don't often use this space to cross promote radio events, but if you're on vacation Friday and looking for some fun, I highly encourage you to join John Granato and myself out at Michael Klein's Fine Jewelers (6100 Westheimer) for 1560 The Game's annual Christmas party, starting at 7:00 a.m.

There are tons of incredible giveaways (a potential gift from the gods for you last-minute shoppers) including a 42-inch flat-screen television, a piece of jewelry every fifteen minutes, numerous Arian Foster autographed footballs, a Traeger wood pellet grill, and Meineke Car Care Bowl tickets.

We expect to be visited by former Texan Marcus Coleman, former Houston Oiler Alonzo Highsmith, and possibly new Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin. There will be free food from Mardi Gras Grill and Traeger will be grilling up food as well, and free adult libations as well.

It don't get no better! Please join us! RSVP not necessary!

Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.

Follow Hair Balls News on Facebook and on Twitter @HairBallsNews.

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