Playoff Probabilities (03/01/16)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
NBA Playoff Probabilities – Odds to win the NBA Championship



Golden State became the first team to clinch a playoff spot. The Warriors are the fastest team in NBA history to secure a postseason berth beating the 1986 Boston Celtics by one day.

As the playoff pictures becomes clearer and in the weeks leading up to the postseason, we will simulate the rest of the regular season and playoffs 50,000 times with updated player and team statistical information to provide up-to-date projected records, standings, playoff probabilities and odds to win the Larry O'Brien Trophy for each team in the NBA.

Top Storylines:

It is still a two horse race for the title as the Warriors and Spurs dominate the playoff probabilities. Golden State and San Antonio combine to win the NBA title 76.4 percent of the time.

That is good news for the rest of the league. Two weeks ago, Golden State and San Antonio, the top two teams in our Power Rankings, were 83.1 percent likely to capture the championship.

Oklahoma City, despite a tough loss to the Warriors last weekend, has seen its championship odds increase by 20 percent. The Thunder have the third best chance of winning it all.

Numerous issues from bedbugs to coaching turnover and player unrest have put a damper on Cleveland's season. Still, the Cavs are the most likely team to emerge from the East and have a 40 percent chance of reaching the Finals.

Chuck the Condor made his debut Monday as the Clips new mascot. Clipper Nation wasn't impressed. LA fans also won't like the team's chances of winning the title. The Clippers have the sixth best odds but that equates to less than a two percent chance.

More than a third of the league is essentially eliminated from playoff contention. The following teams have less than a seven percent chance of playing past the 82nd game of the regular season – Kings, Magic, Pelicans, Bucks, Nuggets, Knicks, Timberwolves, Nets, Suns, Lakers and 76ers.

The most likely teams to make the playoffs that aren't currently in: Utah (68.1 percent), Detroit (62.5 percent) and Washington (16.7 percent).

Houston is currently the 8th seed in the West but the Rockets are 51.7 percent likely to not make the postseason.

2016 NBA Playoff Probabilities

Team Playoff% Conf. Quarters Conf. Semis Conf. Finals Finals
Golden State Warriors 100.0 97.1 56.3 45.5 42.3
San Antonio Spurs 100.0 98.0 42.9 36.3 34.1
Oklahoma City Thunder 100.0 90.7 65.2 15.4 11.6
Cleveland Cavaliers 100.0 82.6 53.4 40.2 6.1
Toronto Raptors 100.0 73.0 32.8 21.9 2.6
Los Angeles Clippers 100.0 85.5 30.1 2.5 1.5
Boston Celtics 99.9 64.8 35.4 15.0 0.9
Atlanta Hawks 91.1 43.7 21.9 7.3 0.4
Indiana Pacers 84.2 35.2 17.9 5.8 0.3
Charlotte Hornets 87.9 33.2 14.4 4.0 0.2
Miami Heat 94.4 33.3 11.5 2.6 0.1
Detroit Pistons 62.5 16.8 6.8 1.9 0.1
Memphis Grizzlies 98.1 5.6 0.4 0.0 0.0
Portland Trail Blazers 90.4 9.3 2.0 0.1 0.0
Dallas Mavericks 87.3 6.7 1.2 0.1 0.0
Utah Jazz 68.1 4.6 1.4 0.1 0.0
Chicago Bulls 61.1 15.0 5.3 1.2 0.0
Houston Rockets 48.3 2.3 0.5 0.0 0.0
Washington Wizards 16.7 2.3 0.6 0.1 0.0
Sacramento Kings 6.6 0.2 0.1 0.0 0.0
Orlando Magic 2.0 0.2 0.1 0.0 0.0
New Orleans Pelicans 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Milwaukee Bucks 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Denver Nuggets 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
New York Knicks 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Minnesota Timberwolves 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Brooklyn Nets 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Phoenix Suns 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Los Angeles Lakers 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Philadelphia 76ers 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0