Deadline Results (02/20/15)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
NBA Trade Deadline – how did a busy day around the league impact the playoff race?

It was the busiest NBA Trade Deadline day in 25 years. Seventeen teams made eleven trades (the over/under was set at 9.5 trades per sending 39 players to new franchises, or in the case of Kevin Garnett, back to the team that drafted him.

Now that the dust has settled, which moves impacted the playoff race?

Goran Dragic to Miami

Here is what I wrote before news broke that Chris Bosh could miss the remainder of the season with a blood glut.

Miami acquired Dragic, a third team All-NBA player last season, from Phoenix in one of the biggest trades on deadline day. The point guard joins All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh as well as Luol Deng and an improving Hassan Whiteside to form what looks like one of the best starting fives on paper.

The trade improved Miami's odds of returning to the playoffs. Before the All-Star break the Heat were 59.8% likely to reach the postseason, now Miami has a 74.0% chance. Yet, the defending Eastern Conference Champions are still less than one percent likely to win it all.

If Bosh were to miss the remainder of the season Miami drops to 21st in our Power Rankings. The Heat become just 54.3% likely to make the playoffs without one of the best power forwards in the game. This is an unfortunate turn of events for the team and fans in South Beach, we wish Bosh and his family all the best.

Enes Kanter to Oklahoma City

OKC and Brooklyn had been in talks to trade center Brook Lopez since January, so when the Thunder shifted gears and acquired Kanter from the Utah Jazz it surprised many around the league. Kanter is 22 years old, he has averaged 13.8 points and 7.8 rebounds this season. In addition to Kanter, the Thunder added depth when Detroit sent DJ Augustin and Kyle Singler to Oklahoma as part of the trade for Reggie Jackson.

We projected OKC to make the playoffs as an eighth seed at the All-Star break. The Thunder are still projected to be the eighth team from the West but OKC's playoff probability has increased from 62.9% to 90.3%. More importantly, before the trade deadline Oklahoma City had a 2.5% chance to win the NBA Championship, the eleventh best odds. The Thunder's championship odds have quadrupled (10.2%) and OKC has the sixth best odds to win it all in the league. This increase has more to do with the team playing to its expected talent level before the season started than any acquisition made at the trade deadline.

Aaron Afflalo to Portland

The Trail Blazers acquired Afflalo from Denver in a deal that involved five players and a first round draft pick. Neil Olshey, the Blazers President of Basketball Operations said, “Afflalo possesses a skill set that complements our style of play on both ends of the floor and will make an immediate impact as we continue our playoff push.”

We agree. Portland has been in the top ten of our Power Rankings and a lock to make the playoffs all season. The Blazers are now the sixth best team in our Power Rankings, one of just five squads that rank in the top ten in both offensive and defensive efficiency.

Standing Pat

Absent from the mania at the trade deadline were the Warriors and Cavaliers. Golden State's starting five is 31-3 when they are healthy and playing together and Cleveland has won fourteen of their last sixteen games after making moves to improve the team in early January. Being spectators at the deadline didn't hurt either club's chances to win it all.

Golden State and Cleveland were the most likely teams to meet in the NBA Championship and remain the favorites after the trade deadline. The Warriors championship odds have decreased slightly as teams like Oklahoma City begin to play more like the team we expected before the season began. The Warriors are projected to face the Thunder in the first round, OKC is currently third in our rankings, a tough draw for the best team in the NBA.

The Cavs are now our most likely champion winning it all 21.0% of the time. Cleveland and Golden State are the only teams with a greater than 15.0% chance to win it all. LeBron and the Cavs

Additional Notes

Boston, who acquired Isaiah Thomas from Phoenix, was not projected to make the playoffs before the deadline. The Celtics are now likely to be the eighth seed. Boston is currently 1.5 games out of the last spot in the East.

Biggest Winner – Oklahoma City's championship odds increased by 7.7%. The Thunder could be the best eighth seed of all-time.

Biggest Loser – Memphis was the fourth most likely champion before the trade deadline. The Grizzlies odds to win the championship have plummeted to 2.7%, 11th in the NBA. Memphis' title odds suffered because of potential matchups against the Spurs, Blazers and Clippers (assuming a healthy Blake Griffin).

Team Playoff Odds Before Win Title Before Playoff Odds After Win Title After
Cleveland Cavaliers 100.0 16.0 100.0 21.0
Golden State Warriors 100.0 21.5 100.0 18.9
Chicago Bulls 100.0 13.1 100.0 11.5
Atlanta Hawks 100.0 8.3 100.0 10.2
Oklahoma City Thunder 62.9 2.5 90.3 10.2
Portland Trail Blazers 99.9 4.1 99.9 5.2
Los Angeles Clippers 96.6 2.2 99.7 4.8
Dallas Mavericks 98.9 3.8 99.1 4.7
San Antonio Spurs 97.8 5.5 98.2 4.5
Toronto Raptors 100.0 4.6 100.0 4.3
Memphis Grizzlies 100.0 12.8 100.0 2.7
Washington Wizards 100.0 2.0 100.0 1.0
Houston Rockets 99.6 3.0 99.5 0.8
Milwaukee Bucks 100.0 0.4 100.0 0.1
Phoenix Suns 28.6 0.1 9.1 0.0
Boston Celtics 14.5 0.0 46.7 0.0
Brooklyn Nets 23.1 0.0 7.6 0.0
Charlotte Hornets 54.8 0.0 23.5 0.0
Denver Nuggets 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Detroit Pistons 22.9 0.0 29.4 0.0
Indiana Pacers 24.8 0.0 38.6 0.0
Los Angeles Lakers 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Miami Heat 59.8 0.0 54.3 0.0
Minnesota Timberwolves 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
New Orleans Pelicans 15.6 0.0 4.3 0.0
New York Knicks 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Orlando Magic 0.1 0.0 0.1 0.0
Philadelphia 76ers 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Sacramento Kings 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Utah Jazz 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0