Golden State Warriors Projected wins: 66.8
Within the context of the conservative nature of win projections, which tend to be regressed heavily to the mean, a 67-win projection is remarkable. The Warriors' projection is two wins higher than the next best in the seven years I've gone back to do projections using this method: 64.9 for the 2010-11 Miami Heat, who actually won just 58 games because of the time it took their version of the Big Three to build chemistry on the court.
San Antonio Spurs Projected wins: 54.5
It's a huge step downward to second place in the West. With Tim Duncan's retirement and the aging of other core players, the Spurs will be hard-pressed to stay with Golden State in the regular season as they did last season. But RPM still has them comfortably second in the West.
Utah Jazz Projected wins: 47.6
This might seem like a crazy leap for a team that didn't make the playoffs last year, but remember: The Jazz actually had the fifth-best point differential in the West (plus-1.8 PPG). Ordinarily, that would translate into 46 wins, and that was despite injuries (including Dante Exum missing the entire season) and before Utah loaded up with veterans this offseason. The Jazz should be considered the favorites to win the Northwest Division.
L.A. Clippers Projected wins: 46.3
Given the Clippers won 53 games last year without Blake Griffin for much of the season, a seven-win drop would be a surprise. But RPM sees several key players on the wrong side of the aging curve.
Houston Rockets Projected wins: 45.8
RPM projects the Rockets to be a top-five offense next year, but they'll still struggle to reach 45 wins if their defense is worse than an optimistic projection of 16th in the league.
Oklahoma City Thunder Projected wins: 45.6
Even without Durant, RPM forecasts the Thunder in the mix for home-court advantage in the West thanks to star point guard Russell Westbrook and a deep cast of young role players.
Portland Trail Blazers Projected wins: 44.5
After reaching the second round of the playoffs and adding Festus Ezeli and Evan Turner this offseason, the Blazers hope to take the next step in their development. RPM sees them as about the same team as 2015-16, when they won 44 games but finished fifth in a weaker West.
Denver Nuggets Projected wins: 40.4
Quietly, the Nuggets have assembled an intriguing group of young talent (led by RPM favorite Nikola Jokic, projected for plus-5.0 points per 100 possessions) with a few veterans in tow. Even with Danilo Gallinari projected for just 50 games, internal development could be enough to push Denver into surprising playoff contention.
Memphis Grizzlies Projected wins: 39.4
Yes, the Grizzlies strengthened their starting lineup by signing Chandler Parsons, but their bench is incredibly thin and several starters (including Parsons) are major injury risks. Gulp.
Sacramento Kings Projected wins: 37.7
The Kings have one of the biggest discrepancies of any team between their projection in ESPN's summer forecast (30 wins, 13th in the West) and by RPM, which sees Sacramento deep in average talent around DeMarcus Cousins.
Minnesota Timberwolves Projected wins: 37.1
Remember, RPM projections don't factor in coaching, and the arrival of Tom Thibodeau makes the Timberwolves overwhelmingly likely to outperform their projected ranking of 27th in defensive rating.
New Orleans Pelicans Projected wins: 37.0
New Orleans is deeper after shopping for midtier free agents this summer, but RPM projects just three players on the roster to be better than league average: Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday and newcomer Solomon Hill.
Dallas Mavericks Projected wins: 34.3
Might this be the year that coach Rick Carlisle, veteran big man Dirk Nowitzki and a cast of newcomers can't get the Mavericks to the playoffs? RPM says yes, since swapping Parsons (plus-1.3) for Harrison Barnes (minus-0.7) grades as a major downgrade.
Phoenix Suns Projected wins: 29.2
The Suns figure to be a bit more competitive with the return of RPM favorite Eric Bledsoe (plus-2.2) but are still too young to compete in the West.
L.A. Lakers Projected wins: 24.3
Despite their offseason additions of No. 2 pick Brandon Ingram and veterans Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov, RPM has the Lakers with the league's fewest projected wins.