2016-17 NBA Power Rankings: Preseason Edition
With the new NBA season inching closer and closer, it's time to get serious about the 2016-17 campaign.
Of course, that means everyone is starting to dish out power rankings and making declarations about certain teams and players.
And even with a top-heavy Association, this season isn't shy of intriguing storylines -- just how good will the Golden State Warriors be with Kevin Durant? Will the Boston Celtics improve and challenge for the Eastern Conference crown? Are the Detroit Pistons legit? How far can Russell Westbrook carry the Oklahoma City Thunder?
Here is what our algorithm thinks about the upcoming season, based on our nERD metric, which is predictive of a team's ultimate winning percentage.
|1||Golden State Warriors||100.0%||51.2%||61.3||20.7||88.7|
|2||San Antonio Spurs||100.0%||16.4%||56.3||25.7||78.6|
|4||Los Angeles Clippers||99.2%||4.8%||51.3||30.7||68.3|
|8||Oklahoma City Thunder||81.8%||0.5%||44.0||38.0||55.5|
|11||Portland Trail Blazers||75.0%||0.1%||43.0||39.0||53.4|
|24||New York Knicks||6.5%||0.0%||33.6||48.4||37.0|
|26||New Orleans Pelicans||7.1%||0.0%||33.4||48.6||36.8|
|29||Los Angeles Lakers||0.2%||0.0%||27.6||54.4||25.5|
There's a lot to soak up here, but we'll touch on a few things, starting with the Warriors. They're favored over the field to win the NBA championship at 51.2%, which is just absurd to think about.
Our numbers see the Thunder winning 44 games, which might seem high given Durant's departure, but the Westgate Super Book has set their win total at 45.5. That's not to imply anything of action, but perhaps they can stay above .500 even without Durant.
The Portland Trail Blazers are in a similar range as the Thunder, though they didn't undergo a massive roster loss like the Thunder did, and a handful of Western Conference teams -- the Utah Jazz, Memphis Grizzlies, and Dallas Mavericks -- are in the same bucket. Health could likely determine which teams out-perform their projections.
The East has a cluster of its own around the league-average mark, featuring the Charlotte Hornets, Indiana Pacers, and Washington Wizards. All three, though, have at least a 62.8% chance to reach the playoffs.
We aren't crowning the New York Knicks just yet, as one of their big additions -- Derrick Rose -- played like a player who would cost an average team 8.1 wins last season, according to our nERD metric.