Tuesday Projections: Season Wins and Lottery Order, Week 1

This is going to make way more sense around February, and more so as the playoff race narrows in late March/April. But, every Tuesday, I will update my win projections for the season. With most teams only having 2 to 4 games’ worth of data, this is going to be very far off for a while, but it will be fun to see what could be in an alternate universe.

This projection is currently based only on point differential per 100 possessions (to control for the insane pace and scoring boon we’ve seen so far this season) and the offensive/defensive Four Factors. The Four Factors have already been extensively studied and discussed since they were formulated by Dean Oliver, but they have been found to be very good predictors of a team’s success. My projections are going to become more accurate over time, because I am going to update them weekly and because I am going to enhance it in various ways as time goes along (stay tuned).

Win Projections

Some interesting things going on here — Portland’s red-hot start, were it to continue, would likely rocket them to home-court advantage for the entire playoffs. A similar thing can be said for the Pelicans — we’ll see if this is thrown out the window were they to get blown out by LA tonight or by one of their other opponents in the next week. San Antonio, who I think has been playing pretty well (especially considering the fact that they’re incorporating DeRozan and dealing with point guard injuries), isn’t faring well based on the data. Teams are being projected into the playoffs while finishing under .500 for the first time since 2015, when the Nets and Celtics made it.

Lottery Results

This doesn’t include any potential pick allowances owed yet, but this is a very preliminary lottery order based on the above projections. I don’t think LA, OKC, or San Antonio fans need to worry about this for the time being, since this is based on two to four games for each team — I just wanted to establish this series now to show how modeling wins can become much more accurate over time.

Variables in the model are courtesy of Basketball-Reference. Modeling and lottery projection done in R.