Sat. Jun 15th, 2019

Reporter Iedo Ferreira

Awesome Sports Site and Blog

NBA Playoff Race

It may be hard to believe, but we are only one month away from the end of this year’s NBA regular season and what a ride it has been. With only a few more matches for teams to play, we are looking at fierce battles between teams to push on and climb to a better seed position. And while the players and teams get ready for the remaining matches, we have checked the numbers provided by Stephen Oh, who has run the simulation and provided us with the data to see where it’s expected each team to end up.

First, let’s start with the Western Conference


Team Projected wins To make playoffs To win conference To win the NBA title
Golden State Warriors 57.2% 100% 75.01% 62.3%
Denver Nuggets 52.4% 100% 6.14% 2.6%
Houston Rockets 51.8% 100% 11.53% 5.9%
Portland Trail Blazers 49.8% 100% 1.96% 0.8%
Utah Jazz 48.6% 99.99% 1.93% 0.7%
Oklahoma City Thunder 48.5% 99.99% 1.83% 0.7%
San Antonio Spurs 46.7% 99.6% 1.45% 0.5%
Los Angeles Clippers 44.7% 95.2% 0.13% 0%
Los Angeles Lakers 39.5% 2.5% 0% 0%
Sacramento Kings 39.5% 1.6% 0% 0%
Minnestoa Timberwolves 38.1% 1% 0.1% 0%
New Orleans Pelicans 36.8% 0.1% 0.1% 0%
Dallas Mavericks 33.7% 0% 0% 0%
Memphis Grizzlies 33.3% 0% 0% 0%
Phoenix Suns 19.2% 0% 0% 0%

Looking at the statistic provided about the Western Conference, we clearly see one team standing out. The Golden State Warriors. While they have not been performing well in the last week, their chances of winning the NBA championship are still extremely high (62.3%), which only proves how dominant this team really is. When we talk about the Western Conference, we can not just look past the Houston Rockets, who have turned their season around after a huge improvement in last weeks. As of now they are 3rd in the West due to their impressive 8 games winning streak. And while they are still only 5.9% to win the championship, I do believe Rockets are the only real team that can challenge the Warriors in the West (11.53%)

And then there are Los Angeles Lakers, who have seen their season crashing down after a terrible run in recent weeks. In addition to not enjoying anything remotely close to a good form, both Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram are out for the season, which ultimately means LeBron James and Lakers chances of reaching the playoffs are nearly non-existent (2.5%).

If we draw a line for the Western Conference, we can clearly see the 8 teams that will come out as the top 8. The only team in the bottom 8 that could potentially reach the playoffs are Lakers, who we have established have little to no chance of reaching the top 8, with only 2.5% calculated chance of doing so. The playoff teams in the West are this point pretty much set in stone, but things get much more interesting when we travel to East.


Team Projected wins To make playoffs To win conference To win the NBA title
Milwaukee Bucks 60.7% 100% 34.13% 11.3%
Toronto Raptors 57.7% 100% 20.62% 5.2%
Philadelphia 76ers 51.5% 99.99% 15.92% 4%
Indiana Pacers 50.3% 99.99% 5.79% 0.9%
Boston Celtics 49.8% 99.99% 14.85% 3.8%
Detroit Pistons 42.3% 97.6% 2.57% 0.3%
Brooklyn Nets 39.3% 72.6% 0.30% 0%
Miami Heat 39.1% 60.9% 2.82% 0.4%
Orlando Magic 38.7% 56.6% 2.89% 0.6%
Charlotte Hornets 35.7% 10.8% 0.02% 0%
Washington Wizards 34.3% 1.7% 0% 0%
Atlanta Hawks 28.6% 0% 0% 0%
Chicago Bulls 24.3% 0% 0% 0%
Cleveland Cavaliers 21.2% 0% 0% 0%
New York Knicks 17.3% 0% 0% 0%

Much like in the West, although not to such extent, we have got one team that has established themselves as the best team in the conference. In the East, that team is no other than Milwaukee Bucks, who are estimated to have 34.13% to win the conference, which I do believe is a fair assessment. If they manage to get into the finals, it would mark the first time Bucks did that since 1974. However, while we have got Bucks as favourites, there are a few other teams that could potentially ruin their plans. Below Bucks, there are Toronto Raptors (20.62%), Philadelphia 76ers (15.92%) and Boston Celtics (14.85%) all more than capable of upsetting the leaders and travel to the finals. This, unlike in the West, where Warriors are the only real contender to win the conference, will surely prove to be an exciting playoff.

But while we wait for the promised exciting playoffs, there is also a very intriguing race to the playoffs going on in the East. Looking at the simulation results, there are three teams who are neck to neck in the playoff race. Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat and Orlando Magic are all projected to finish within 0.6 wins of each other, however, there will only be room for two teams in the top 8. Statistically, Nets and Heat have the best chance of reaching the playoffs with 72.6% and 60.9%, however, Orlando are not too far behind with 56.6%.

Statistics have their own power, however, the unpredictability of any sport has its own. I do believe the Nets will end up as the 7th team in the playoffs, but choosing between Miami Heat and Orlando Magic is where I am unsure which way it will go. Teams are only 4.3% apart, which can quickly turn around after one team wins and the other losses the next fixture. Even an unexpected injury could turn everything upside down.

Whichever way it will go, we can say for sure that the Eastern conference will prove to be the more exciting one to watch, being that the West is more or less dominated by the Warriors.

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