2017 NBA Season Projections

Last Updated: 10/17/2017 11:36 AM ET



We have simulated the NBA regular season 50,000 times to project regular season win totals for each team. There is some guess work involved with predicting injuries and playing time, but we have done our best to account for that in the simulations.

The first and obvious outcome that one would notice is how good the Warriors are, again. The Warriors are large favorites to come out of the West with a projected 66.4 wins, seven clear of the next best team, and have nearly 67% odds to win the Championship.

That next best team happens to be the Houston Rockets with 59.2 wins. We wrote a bit about the move for Chris Paul last season, but Paul makes the Rockets much better, especially considering they kept all the shooters around him. CP3 is an analytical darling as he rates higher than most would expect in most plus-minus metrics. The biggest factor for the Rockets this season will be keeping Paul healthy and on the court. Only second to LeBron James, Paul tends to make all the players around him better. That should bode well for Harden, who will no longer be forced to handle the ball more than neccessary.

Finishing up with the West, the Spurs and Timberwolves are the next best ranked teams with 51.7 projected season wins. Even moreso than previous years, the West is stacked. Of the top ten teams in our NBA Power Rankings, seven come from the Western Conference.

Looking at the East, it may be a bit shocking how big of favorites we consider Cleveland to be over the Celtics. In fact, we don't even consider the Celtics to be the second-best team in the East at the moment. We were critical of the Kyrie Irving trade at the time, and though it may pay off in future years, the Cavaliers got the best of that trade for at least this season. Unlike CP3, Kyrie doesn't rate well analytically, mostly due to his defensive liabilities. Sure, Thomas wasn't any better in this regard, but losing Jae Crowder along with Thomas really weakens their roster.

The Wizards just out-rank the Celtics for the second spot in the East with 50.1 expected wins. John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter can play with any backcourt in the East and should play a large share of mintues. Porter made huge strides last season by posting a 3.6 RPM, 51.6 FG%, 43.4 3P%, and 60.8 eFG%. The Wizards certainly have some value at +1200 to win the East. The Celtics, Raptors, and Hornets follow in the East but are ranked ninth, 11th, and 14th, respectively.

A team that could surprise us this year is the Minnesota Timberwolves, ranked fifth overall, with their additions of Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague. Teague isn't an upgrade from Rubio, but Butler is a huge upgrade to Kris Dunn. If Wiggins is able to improve a bit defensively, the Wolves could have five legitimate starters with a decent bench of Jamal Crawford, Nemanja Bjelica, and Taj Gibson.

Here are our full projected standings for the upcoming season.

Eastern Conference - Atlantic

Team Wins Losses Proj Wins Proj Losses
Boston Celtics 0 0 49.9 32.1
Toronto Raptors 0 0 48.3 33.7
Philadelphia 76ers 0 0 38.2 43.8
Brooklyn Nets 0 0 27.4 54.6
New York Knicks 0 0 26.5 55.5

Eastern Conference - Central

Team Wins Losses Proj Wins Proj Losses
Cleveland Cavaliers 0 0 55.3 26.7
Milwaukee Bucks 0 0 43.6 38.4
Indiana Pacers 0 0 34.8 47.2
Detroit Pistons 0 0 30.1 51.9
Chicago Bulls 0 0 26.0 56.0

Eastern Conference - Southeast

Team Wins Losses Proj Wins Proj Losses
Washington Wizards 0 0 50.2 31.8
Charlotte Hornets 0 0 45.4 36.6
Miami Heat 0 0 41.7 40.3
Orlando Magic 0 0 30.1 51.9
Atlanta Hawks 0 0 29.1 52.9

Western Conference - Pacific

Team Wins Losses Proj Wins Proj Losses
Golden State Warriors 0 0 66.3 15.7
Los Angeles Clippers 0 0 48.9 33.1
Sacramento Kings 0 0 31.0 51.0
Los Angeles Lakers 0 0 27.3 54.7
Phoenix Suns 0 0 25.6 56.4

Western Conference - Northwest

Team Wins Losses Proj Wins Proj Losses
Houston Rockets 0 0 59.3 22.7
San Antonio Spurs 0 0 51.7 30.3
New Orleans Pelicans 0 0 43.2 38.8
Memphis Grizzlies 0 0 36.3 45.7
Dallas Mavericks 0 0 34.6 47.4

Western Conference - Southwest

Team Wins Losses Proj Wins Proj Losses
Minnesota Timberwolves 0 0 51.7 30.3
Oklahoma City Thunder 0 0 49.0 33.0
Utah Jazz 0 0 46.5 35.5
Denver Nuggets 0 0 43.8 38.2
Portland Trail Blazers 0 0 38.0 44.0