In September, I made predictions for the win totals for the Eastern and Western Conferences. Mind you, this was before the Jimmy Butler drama began with the Minnesota Timberwolves. This is how my predictions have fared through the season so far, with every team having played 10-12 games apiece. I know, it’s early in the season. It’s not time to overreact quite yet (except for you, Washington Wizards.) Let’s see how my projections have looked so far. As of Friday afternoon, here’s how things look.
Here are the teams I have been fairly accurate on as far as current win-percentage versus my projection for their win-percentage at the end of the season. These teams are all within 10% of those two numbers, so I’m feeling pretty good about them.
- Indiana Pacers (7-5, 58% wins) – 1% difference in my preseason projection
- Miami Heat (5-5, 50%) – 1% difference
- Detroit Pistons (5-5, 50%) 2% difference
- Philadelphia 76ers (7-5, 58%) 3% difference
- Orlando Magic (4-7, 36%) 4% difference
- San Antonio Spurs (6-4, 60%) 4% difference
- Oklahoma City Thunder (7-4, 64%) 4% difference
- New York Knicks (4-8, 33%) 4% difference
- New Orleans Pelicans (5-6, 45%), 7% difference
- Atlanta Hawks (3-8, 27%) 8% difference
- Boston Celtics (7-4, 64%) 9% difference
- Chicago Bulls (3-9, 25%) 10% difference
Here are teams I have been off by more than 30% thus far. Yikes.
- Washington Wizards (2-8, 20%) 35% difference
- Houston Rockets (4-6, 40%) 34% difference
- Cleveland Cavaliers (1-10, 9%) 32% difference
- Denver Nuggets (9-2, 82%) 31% difference
So, the remaining 15 teams are in the middle of the pack between 11-29% off of my projections.
Which team do I regret projecting where I did?
So far, it looks like the Nuggets are much better than I anticipated. My biggest concerns for Denver were Mike Malone and defense. Well, they are 9-2, tied for third in the NBA behind a staggering 101.2 opponent’s points per game, which is second in the NBA. They are 19th in points per game. I would have thought the defensive and offensive ranks would be flip-flopped. It looks like the Nuggets have figured some things out, and a healthy Paul Millsap has really helped them.
Which team do I feel good about where I projected them?
I’m feeling pretty good about my local team, the Detroit Pistons. Blake Griffin has definitely surprised me, but he’s also been healthy. 27/11/5 on 41% three-point shooting is a lock for the All-star game. Reggie Jackson has been a sourpuss and shoots too much. Andre is putting up great numbers statistically (19/17), but not impacting the game like the stats may suggest. Reggie Bullock really needs to find his shot (23% from three.) They have won most of the games they should have won, and lost the games against superior opponents. Nothing shocking thus far in Detroit after a 4-0 start. Carry on.
Let’s revisit these numbers in another dozen games. Of course, this is a small sample size, but it’s interesting to see how the season has unfolded so far.