Let’s NBA: Revisiting Preseason Predictions, First Round Playoff Projections

Okay. So below are my predicted records for each conference in the NBA. Let’s see how close I got.

EAST

Cleveland Cavaliers – 56-26 predicted, 53-29 actual. Off by 3 games.

Chicago Bulls – 51-31 predicted, 50-32 actual. Off by 1 game.

Toronto Raptors – 50-32 predicted, 49-33 actual. Off by 1 game.

Washington Wizards – 48-34 predicted, 46-36 actual. Off by 2 games.

Here’s where the wheels came off:

Charlotte Hornets – 46-36 predicted, 33-49 actual. Off by 13 games.

Detroit Pistons – 44-38 predicted, 32-50 actual. Off by 12 games.

Miami Heat – 43-39 predicted, 37-45 actual. Off by 6 games.

Atlanta Hawks – 41-41 predicted, 60-22 actual. Off by 19 (!) games. I’m quite sure I’m not the only one that got that one wrong.

WEST

Los Angeles Clippers – 59-23 predicted, 56-26 actual.

San Antonio Spurs – 58-24 predicted, 55-27 actual.

Oklahoma City Thunder – 55-27 predicted, 45-37 actual. Note that I made this pick right before Durant went out with a foot injury.

Portland Blazers – 53-29 predicted, 51-31 actual.

Golden State Warriors – 52-30 predicted, 67-15 actual. Oops.

Memphis Grizzlies – 50-32 predicted, 55-27 actual.

Dallas Mavericks – 50-32 predicted, 50-32 actual. Yay!

Phoenix Suns – 49-33 predicted, 39-43 actual.

I picked the Rockets to miss the playoffs. They ended up a 2 seed.

And now, my predictions for the first round of the playoffs.

EAST

Atlanta (1) vs Brooklyn (8): This will be a snorefest, that much I can predict. Don’t know how much of this series I’ll be watching, if any at all. I’ll go with the Hawks in 4. I don’t think I’ve seen a 60 win team this dismissed in a long time.

Cleveland (2) vs Boston (7): Cavs got this. Man, these East teams have it so easy! Cavs sweep.

Chicago (3) vs Bucks (6): Bulls in 5. I’m confident the Young Bucks can steal one, but not so confident they’ll do much more than that. The Bulls are too seasoned, too well coached.

Toronto (4) vs Washington (5): Another series I have little to no interest in! Thanks, Eastern conference! These two have limped into the playoffs, so it is fitting that they square off in round 1. I’ll take Washington in 6, only because I think their bigs and the veteran presence of Grumpy Old Man Pierce will serve them well.

WEST

Golden State (1) vs New Orleans (8): This should be fun. Who can stop Klay and Steph, who can stop the Unibrow? I think it will be over quickly – Warriors in 5 – but I think the games will be competitive. Can the Dubs prove that they aren’t a newer version of the 7 seconds or less Phoenix Suns, ie. a fun team that can win 60+ in the regular season, yet come up short in the playoffs? Are New Orleans Pelicans or Pelicant’s? Let’s see.

Houston (2) vs Dallas (7): The battle for Texas. Harden has yet to get out of the first round as The Man in Houston, will this be the year he does it? The Rockets are banged up but I think they’ve got enough to handle the Mavericks. And I keep hearing about Playoff Rondo like it’s a thing. I’m dubious. Sometimes championships overrate the wrong players. Rockets in 6.

LA Clippers (3) vs San Antonio (6): We had that second seed on lock! We had it! Then we had to go and lose to the Pelicans on the last day. Damn. Anyway, this has all the makings of a classic series. The Spurs are going for something that has eluded them in all this Tim Duncan era success: a championship defense. His legacy is secured no matter what, but getting a sixth ring as a six seed (a la Olajuwon in ’95) would be the cherry on the sundae. The Clippers need to make a deep playoff run, because Chris Paul’s legacy is far from secure. Ditto Blake Griffin, though it’s still early for him. It’s strange to think that one of these teams will be bounced early. Look for CP3 and Blake to whine and flop, and for Matt Barnes to do his studio gangsta schtick. Also look for Pop to employ Hack-A-Jordan early. Homer pick, Spurs in 6.

Portland (4) vs Memphis (5): This series would be more fun if everyone was healthy. That said, it could still be fun and competitive. I expect Aldridge to go off, maybe not to the extent as last postseason against Houston, and look for Lillard to add to his growing legend. Conley and Allen are hurt but supposedly playing in Game 1, though how effective they will be remains a concern. The Grizz will lean heavily on Z-Bo and Gasol to provide the offensive punch, and hope that Jeff Green shows up. Memphis in 7.

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