NBA SportsLine projections: Warriors' odds for another title increase; Raptors no longer runaway favorites to make Finals

The calendar has turned to 2019, and the NBA season is nearly at the halfway mark. There's still plenty of games to play, though, and time for teams to make moves. SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh has run the simulations and crunched the numbers to give us some updated projections on where teams will finish. 

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

54.5

100%

60.96%

46.5%

Houston Rockets

49

96.8%

11.42%

5.8%

Denver Nuggets

48.7

96.9%

2.20%

0.7%

Oklahoma City Thunder

48.6

96.2%

4.29%

1.6%

Utah Jazz

48.4

96.5%

10.56%

5.0%

San Antonio Spurs

47.5

95.2%

4.82%

1.8%

Portland Trail Blazers

44.7

72.3%

0.85%

0.2%

Los Angeles Lakers

44.4

70.0%

3.81%

1.7%

Minnesota Timberwolves

41

25.1%

0.72%

0.2%

Los Angeles Clippers

40.8

23.3%

0.03%

0.0%

New Orleans Pelicans

39.7

14.9%

0.25%

0.03%

Memphis Grizzlies

38.4

9.0%

0.07%

0.03%

Dallas Mavericks

36.9

2.3%

0.01%

0.00%

Sacramento Kings

36

1.3%

0.00%

0.00%

Phoenix Suns

22.7

0.0%

0.00%

0.00%

A few takeaways from these projections:

  • The drama surrounding the Warriors early in the season has settled down, and they're mostly healthy now. That hasn't completely solved all of their problems on the court, but they've stabilized, and that has helped their championship odds to rise to nearly 50 percent. Per the SportsLine simulations, the Warriors have a 46.5 percent chance to three-peat. 
  • The Rockets have been on fire lately, thanks to a ridiculous stretch by James Harden. And apparently, the SportsLine data believes their recent hot streak is closer to who they actually are than their early season struggles. They're up to No. 2 in the projected standings, and have an 11.4 percent chance to go to the Finals. 
  • Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets have the No. 1 seed in the West at the moment, but SportsLine's projections don't see that keeping up. The simulations have them finishing in third, just ahead of the Thunder and Jazz, but give them almost no chance of doing any real damage in the playoffs. 
  • LeBron James' injury has understandably hurt the Lakers' projections. They're down to eighth place in the projected standings, and now have just a 70 percent chance to make the playoffs. So far this season, they're 1-5 without LeBron in the lineup. 

Eastern Conference

Team

Projected wins

Make playoffs

Win conference

Win NBA title

Toronto Raptors

57.8

100%

24.96%

10.4%

Milwaukee Bucks

53.6

100%

13.69%

4.7%

Indiana Pacers

52.6

100%

21.68%

8.4%

Philadelphia 76ers

52.3

100%

16.80%

5.9%

Boston Celtics

51.3

100%

18.37%

6.3%

Miami Heat

43.5

94.7%

3.55%

0.8%

Washington Wizards

39.3

65.1%

0.16%

0.0%

Brooklyn Nets

38.2

53.3%

0.15%

0.0%

Detroit Pistons

37.9

46.2%

0.46%

0.1%

Orlando Magic

35.6

20.6%

0.14%

0.0%

Charlotte Hornets

35.5

20.2%

0.06%

0.0%

Atlanta Hawks

25.6

0.0%

0.00%

0.00%

New York Knicks

23.9

0.0%

0.00%

0.00%

Chicago Bulls

22.6

0.0%

0.00%

0.00%

Cleveland Cavaliers

19

0.0%

0.00%

0.00%

A few takeaways from these projections:

  • The Raptors have the best record in the league, and are projected to finish first in the East, but they aren't runaway favorites to make the Finals. The SportsLine simulations give them a 24.9 percent chance of winning the East, which is strong, but three other teams have at least a 16 percent chance of their own. 
  • Right behind the Raptors in the league-wide standings are the Bucks, who are having a breakout campaign. But just as the simulations have no love for the Nuggets, they don't love the Bucks either. Still projected to finish second in the East, the Bucks have just the fifth-best odds in the conference of making the Finals. 
  • The Wizards have been one of the most disappointing teams in the league this season, and they recently lost John Wall for the season. But despite that, their projections for the season are actually trending upwards. They beat the Thunder on Sunday night, and are projected to now make the playoffs as the No. 7 seed. 
  • The gap between the top and bottom of the East is staggering. The simulations say that five teams have a 100 percent chance of making the playoffs, while four teams have a zero percent chance. 
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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