NBA Playoff Picture & Standings: Odds to Make Postseason, Projected Seeding and More
Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Royce O’Neale #23 of the Utah Jazz and Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz.
The NBA Playoffs are two weeks away. Teams are battling to the finish for seeding, home court, preferred matchups, and to make it in, or out, of the play-in tournament.
This season the playoff picture looks a bit different with the play-in tournament added. The teams that finish in seventh and eighth in each conference will play for the No. 7 seed; the loser will face the winner of the No. 9 vs. No. 10 matchup for the eighth and final spot in each conference.
Here’s a look at where the eight teams are currently slated to land in the play-in tournament and their odds to make the playoffs.
Western Conference Playoff Standings
Eastern Conference Playoff Standings
NBA Playoff Picture
Using our projections, we’ve predicted how the playoff standings would shake out based on simulating the final games of the regular season.
Here’s a look at where the NBA Playoff picture stands as of today:
Based on our model, here are the results of where each team is expected to land and the most likely first-round playoff matchups in each conference:
Projected Eastern Conference Matchups
Projected Western Conference Matchups
- The Sixers’ magic number for the 1-seed is just two. They can lock up the 1-seed as early as Tuesday.
- Milwaukee still has a realistic shot at the No. 2 seed thanks to tiebreaker over the Nets. That could matter if the Heat finish in sixth, given Milwaukee’s loss to Miami last season.
- The Knicks’ win over the Clippers went a long way to keeping the No.4 seed. Their magic number for a playoff spot is two. They have a 55% chance of the 4-seed and 83% chance of being in the 4-5 matchups
- Atlanta’s still in a prime spot due to tiebreaker over the Heat, and the ability to pass the Knicks in a 3-way tie due to division winner. They have a 76% chance of being in the No. 4-vs-No. 5 series.
- Boston’s recent slip-ups, in particular the loss to Miami Sunday, have them now at roughly a 78% chance of being in the play-in as the 7-spot.
- The Wizards, Pacers, and Hornets can all clinch play-in spots by Wednesday.
- Utah is in command for the No. 1 seed. A Phoenix loss Monday and Jazz wins vs. the Warriors and Blazers can lock up the top seed by Wednesday. That suddenly looks more important with the Lakers likely headed for the 7th-seed, but it should be noted that if the Lakers do finish in 7th and lose in the first round of the play-in and win the second, they’ll be the 8th. Being the 1-seed does not guarantee avoiding the Lakers.
- The Nuggets are just a game behind the Clippers in the loss column and have the tiebreaker, but don’t seem to be in any hurry to move to third. Don’t be surprised if they stay put a fourth.
- According to our projections there’s now a 54% chance of the Lakers getting the seventh and, assuming they win their first round of the play-in, facing the Suns in the No. 2-vs-No. 7 matchup.
- Our projections have the Kings at just a 5.4% chance at the 10th seed, but the Spurs’ remaining schedule is absolutely brutal and the Kings play San Antonio once more. The Spurs have tiebreaker over the Pelicans and Kings both, but there’s still a possibility for things to go sideways over the next week.
- The Warriors and Grizzlies can clinch play-in spots Monday. — Matt Moore