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NBA Playoff Picture & Standings: Odds to Make Postseason, Projected Seeds, More

NBA Playoff Picture & Standings: Odds to Make Postseason, Projected Seeds, More article feature image
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Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: CJ McCollum #3 of the New Orleans Pelicans, Anthony Edwards #1 of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

We're down to the last week of the season and it's going to be a scramble to the finish line. Teams are battling for seeding, home court, preferred matchups, and to simply make it in to the NBA Play-In Tournament.

With so much parity around the NBA this season, we'll likely be waiting until the final night of the season to see who makes the playoffs and who will match up in play-in games during the opening week of the postseason. Still, we have some idea of how things could play out in the next six days.

Here's a look at where the each of the postseason hopefuls is slated to land in the play-in tournament, their odds to make the playoffs and Sean Koerner's projections for each team's playoff probability.

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Eastern Conference Standings
Projected Playoff Seeds
Projected Playoff Matchups

Western Conference Playoff Standings

Playoff odds as of Thursday and via DraftKings
Team
GB
Playoff Odds Yes / No
Chance to Make Playoffs
No. 1

Clinched
100%
No. 2

3
Clinched
100%
No. 3

5
Clinched
100%
No. 4

9
Clinched
100%
No. 5

10.5
88.8%
No. 6

10.5
96.1%
NBA PLAY-IN TEAMS
No. 7

11.5
-1400 / +750
77.7%
No. 8

11.5
-130 / +105
62.0%
No. 9

12.5
-120 / +100
51.6%
No. 10

14.5
7.3%
No. 11

14.5
16.3%


Eastern Conference Playoff Standings

Playoff odds as of Thursday and via DraftKings
Team
GB
Playoff Odds Yes / No
Chance to Make Playoffs
No. 1

Clinched
100%
No. 2

3
Clinched
100%
No. 3

5
Clinched
100%
No. 4

7.5
Clinched
100%
No. 5

11
Clinched
100%
No. 6

14
97.6%
NBA PLAY-IN TEAMS
No. 7

15
-750 / +500
84.7%
No. 8

17
-280 / +215
51.7%
No. 9

17
+108 / -225
43.5%
No. 10

19
+550 / -800
22.0%

NBA Playoff Picture

Using Sean Koerner's 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 April 4:


East Notes

There is only one playoff spot left to grab in the East and the Nets are poised to secure the No. 6 seed with a magic number of three. The Bulls can secure a Play-In spot with one win and can move ahead of the Hawks if they manage to get a win against Atlanta Tuesday.

West Notes

The race for No. 5 and No. 6 in the West will be an interesting one. The Clippers and Warriors are tied with three games left on the season and they split the head-to-head. The Clippers have the better division record with two games against Pacific opponents to end the season, which gives them the inside track if both teams finish with the same record. The Warriors have the easier schedule with games against two under .500 teams (Thunder, Trail Blazers).

The Pelicans jumped from 12th in the West two weeks to eighth and their odds to make the playoffs moved from +360 to -215 at FanDuel. They are tied with the Lakers who own the head-to-head tiebreaker and both teams have four games remaining on the schedule.

The Pelicans and Lakers have a wide range of outcomes: there's a slim chance both teams could get home court in the first round if they win out and the Suns, Clippers and Warriors lose their remaining games. Koerner's projections have the Lakers finishing in seventh after the Play-In and the Pelicans and Timberwolves are essentially a toss up for the No. 8 spot.

The Mavericks are in complete free-fall right now. Their chance to make the playoffs projected at 67.5% before losing to the Hornets in back-to-back games. This slide is not exactly out of the blue either. The Mavericks have the fifth-worst record in the NBA since the All-Star break.

FanDuel no longer has their odds to make the playoffs listed, but Koerner's projections give them a 16.3% chance to make the playoffs with three games remaining on their season.


Based on Koerner's 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

No. 1 Milwaukee Bucks
No. 8 Atlanta Hawks
No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers
No. 5 New York Knicks
No. 3 Philadelphia 76ers
No. 6 Brooklyn Nets
No. 2 Boston Celtics
No. 7 Miami Heat

Projected Western Conference Matchups

No. 1 Denver Nuggets
No. 8 New Orleans Pelicans
No. 4 Phoenix Suns
No. 5 Golden State Warriors
No. 3 Sacramento Kings
No. 6 Los Angeles Clippers
No. 2 Memphis Grizzlies
No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers

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Nick Sterling
Feb 24, 2024 UTC