NBA SportsLine projections: 76ers should crack 50 wins after Jimmy Butler trade; Wolves’ playoff chances take plunge

The 2018-19 NBA season has been off to an entertaining start, and now that we’re nearly a month in, it’s time to take stock of the league and see where things are heading. SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh has run the simulations and crunched the numbers to give us some updated projections on where teams will finish this season. 

Here’s a look at the odds for every team to make the playoffs, win their conference and win the title. 

Western Conference

Teams

Projected wins

Make playoffs

Win Western Conference

Win NBA title

Golden State Warriors

68.4

100%

79.5%

68.1%

Portland Trail Blazers

49.4

97.6%

4%

1.5%

Denver Nuggets

48.6

96%

3.2%

1%

Oklahoma City Thunder

48.4

95.5%

3%

1.1%

Los Angeles Lakers

46.7

90.3%

5.2%

2.2%

San Antonio Spurs

44.8

81.3%

0.7%

0.2%

New Orleans Pelicans

43.9

73.5%

1%

0.2%

Utah Jazz

43.8

73.5%

1.4%

0.4%

Houston Rockets

42.5

59.5%

1.4%

0.6%

Minnesota Timberwolves

37.6

15.7%

0%

0%

Memphis Grizzlies

36.2

9.9%

0%

0%

LA Clippers

35.7

7.5%

0%

0%

Dallas Mavericks

32.1

1.5%

0%

0%

Sacramento Kings

28.2

0%

0%

0%

Phoenix Suns

24

0%

0%

0%

A few takeaways from these projections:

  • The Timberwolves obviously took a big hit with the Jimmy Butler trade as their chances to make the postseason go from 31.0 percent with Butler down to 15.7 after the deal. It’s possible that Minnesota could still make a playoff push, but just a 15 percent chance of that happening certainly makes sense.
  • The Warriors have looked completely dominant early in the season, and as a result, their title odds have shot way up. They were big favorites even before the season, with SportsLine giving them a 40 percent chance to win the title. Now? The Warriors’ chances for a three-peat have spiked to over 68 percent. It’s hard to argue with that given how well they’re playing, especially considering they’re still yet to add DeMarcus Cousins to the mix.
  • The data is back in on the Trail Blazers. Prior to the season, SportsLine’s projections saw the Blazers as one of the teams getting squeezed out of the playoffs in the crowded Western Conference. Not so anymore, as they now have a nearly 98 percent chance of making the postseason again.
  • A slow start for the Lakers does not seem to be affecting how the projections view them. While their win total projection has slipped a bit, they’re still seen as having a greater than 90 percent chance of making the playoffs.

Eastern Conference

Teams

Projected wins

Make playoffs

Win Eastern Conference

Win NBA title

Toronto Raptors

60.4

100%

35.5%

11.4%

Boston Celtics

54.6

100%

26.7%

6.9%

Milwaukee Bucks

53.8

99.9%

14.4%

2.8%

Indiana Pacers

50.1

99.4%

8%

1.4%

Philadelphia 76ers

50.0

99.6%

3.2%

1.4%

Charlotte Hornets

45.5

94.5%

3.2%

0.3%

Miami Heat

44

88%

2.4%

0.5%

New York Knicks

39.2

50.4%

0.3%

0%

Brooklyn Nets

38

36.7%

0.3%

0.1%

Detroit Pistons

37

27%

0.1%

0%

Washington Wizards

32.4

4.7%

0%

0%

Atlanta Hawks

28.3

0.4%

0%

0%

Orlando Magic

26.9

0.2%

0%

0%

Chicago Bulls

21.4

0%

0%

0%

Cleveland Cavaliers

20.6

0%

0%

0%

A few takeaways from these projections:

  • The Sixers really made a bold move in acquiring Jimmy Butler from the Timberwolves. Butler gives the team another playmaker and Philadelphia is now projected to reach the 50-win mark for the second consecutive season.
  • The Raptors and Celtics are still the favorites in the East. While the odds have tilted slightly in the Raptors’ favor for now, the projections show a greater than 60 percent chance that one of these teams will win the East. 
  • The projections finally believe in the Bucks. Prior to the season, SportsLine’s projections saw them as a 43.5 win team, with just a 1.4 percent chance to win the East. Now, thanks to their 8-1 start, their win projection has shot up to nearly 54, while their chances to win the conference have jumped to 14.4 percent. 
  • Perhaps the most interesting projection for any team here is the Knicks. Before the season started, SportsLine’s data gave them just a 1.9 percent chance of making the playoffs. Yet despite a 3-7 start, the odds have spiked in New York’s favor, with SportsLine seeing them as having a 50/50 chance of making the playoffs. 

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