We are almost into that phase of 2016-17 Regular season for NBA with most of the teams aware of their to-dos in order to make it to the play offs. With the introduction of new qualification criteria, wherein any 8 teams in a particular conference, irrespective of their division, can make it to the Play Offs. Only key criteria that needs to be met is the ‘Win %’ followed by a series of tie breaks.
As the table stands, the eight teams with the highest Win % (also accounted for tiebreaks) in EAST conference are:
Cleveland Cavaliers [Win: 71.9% | Remaining: H-8, A-10, Total: 18]
Toronto Raptors [Win: 68.8% | Remaining: H-8. A-10, Total: 18]
Boston Celtics [Win: 59.1% | Remaining: H-7, A-9, Total: 16]
Miami Heat [Win: 57.6% | Remaining: H-8, A-8, Total: 16]
Charlotte Hornets [Win: 56.9% | Remaining: H-7, A-10, Total: 17]
Atlanta Hawks [Win: 56.1% | Remaining: H-9, A-7, Total: 16]
Indiana Pacers [Win: 53.8% | Remaining: H-11, A-6, Total: 17]
Detroit Pistons [Win: 51.5% | Remaining: H-11, A-5, Total: 16]
In order to predict the teams that could finally make it to the Play-Offs and the expected positions at which they could potentially finish off at the end of regular season, I used the differential of success between the teams that contest.
The success % at Home and Away are considered as a proxy for the strength of teams’ during their Home and Away games. This strength of the teams is compared to the opposition teams’ strength and the result is predicted.
As it turns out, the below table indicates current win % at home and away for all the 15 teams in EAST conference along with avg. estimated strength of the opposition teams they encounter in the remaining matches.
No change in the Eight Teams:
Based on the predicted results, there would not be any difference in the teams that could make it to the Play Offs but expect to witness very tight tussle in mid-table between Indiana, Atlanta and Miami.
Cleveland Cavaliers could end up at the pivotal position in the EAST conference even though they could potentially face a setback in away games. They have a possibility of winning all games at home but could only win potentially 40% of games away. The more they could pull off these away games, the easier would be for them to buffer for Toronto’s upsurge.
Toronto Raptors could finish at the second position with a minimal difference from Cleveland. They need to play 10 games away from home and every game they play away would be crucial to bridge the gap between themselves and Cleveland.
Expect a really tight race for the Top position in EAST conference.
The bottom two teams that could make it to the Play Offs rather easily are: Charlotte Hornets and Detroit Pistons.
But, the very interesting contest in the EAST conference comes from the mid-table, where Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat fighting desperate to move as many positions up as possible.
Here is the predicted table at which EAST conference end up: