NBA playoff projections: Warriors' chances of three-peat decrease; championship odds rise for Bucks and Celtics

It's hard to believe, but the 2018-19 NBA season is nearly coming to a close. There's just over a month left for teams to make a late playoff push or climb up the standings to secure a better seed. As the league prepares for the stretch run, SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh has run the simulations and crunched the data to see where every team will end up when it's all said and done.

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

Western Conference

Team

Projected wins

Make playoffs

Win conference

Win 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

99.9%

1.93%

0.7%

Oklahoma City Thunder

48.5

99.9%

1.83%

0.7%

San Antonio Spurs

46.7

99.6%

1.45%

0.5%

Los Angeles Clippers

44.7

95.2%

0.13%

0.00%

Los Angeles Lakers

39.5

2.5%

0.00%

0.00%

Sacramento Kings

39.5

1.6%

0.00%

0.00%

Minnesota Timberwolves

38.1

1.0%

0.01%

0.00%

New Orleans Pelicans

36.8

0.1%

0.01%

0.00%

Dallas Mavericks

33.7

0.0%

0.00%

0.00%

Memphis Grizzlies

33.3

0.0%

0.00%

0.00%

Phoenix Suns

19.2

0.0%

0.00%

0.00%

A few takeaways from these projections:

  • It's a testament to the Warriors' talent that their title odds took a big drop this week and yet they still have a 62.3 percent chance to win a third straight championship, according to SportsLine's simulations. 
  • The Rockets have continued their turnaround after a rough couple of opening weeks, surging up into third place in the standings thanks to an eight-game winning streak. They're looking more and more like a team capable of challenging the Warriors in the West again, and the simulations agree, giving them an 11.53 percent chance of winning the conference -- second behind the Warriors.
  • LeBron James and the Lakers have seen their season fall apart in recent weeks. Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram are out for the season, and their playoff chances are pretty much non-existent. According to the SportsLine data, the Lakers have just a 2.5 percent chance of getting to the postseason. 
  • The SportsLine simulations see the Western Conference playoff race as pretty much over. The eight teams currently in playoff position have at least a 95 percent chance of making the postseason. No one else has more than a 2.5 percent chance. 

Eastern Conference

Team

Projected wins

Make playoffs

Win conference

Win NBA title

Milwaukee Bucks

60.7

100%

34.13%

11.3%

Toronto Raptors

57.7

100%

20.62%

5.2%

Philadelphia 76ers

51.5

99.9%

15.92%

4.0%

Indiana Pacers

50.3

99.9%

5.79%

0.9%

Boston Celtics

49.8

99.9%

14.85%

3.8%

Detroit Pistons

42.3

97.6%

2.57%

0.3%

Brooklyn Nets

39.3

72.6%

0.30%

0.0%

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%

0.00%

Washington Wizards

34.3

1.7%

0.00%

0.00%

Atlanta Hawks

28.6

0.0%

0.00%

0.00%

Chicago Bulls

24.3

0.0%

0.00%

0.00%

Cleveland Cavaliers

21.2

0.0%

0.00%

0.00%

New York Knicks

17.3

0.0%

0.00%

0.00%

A few takeaways from these projections:

  • The Bucks have established themselves as the best team in the East, and the SportsLine simulations finally believe in them. Heading into the last month-plus of the regular season, the data gives the Bucks a 34.13 percent chance to win the East and get to the Finals for the first time since 1974.
  • But while the Bucks are the clear favorites to win the East, there are a number of talented teams lurking just behind them, which could make for a thrilling last couple of rounds of the playoffs. Per the SportsLine simulations, the Raptors have a 20.62 percent chance of taking the East, while the Sixers come in third with a 15.92 percent chance and the Celtics have a 14.85 percent chance. That's much different than the West, where it's pretty much the Warriors' conference to lose. 
  • While these teams have little hope of competing for the Eastern Conference title, there's also a thrilling race for the final playoff spots in the East. The Nets, Heat and Magic are projected to finish within 0.6 wins of each other in the simulations, but only two of them can make the playoffs. Right now, the SportsLine data gives the edge to the Nets and Heat, but the Magic still have a 56.6 percent chance of making the postseason. 
NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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