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Sport NBA predictions 2019-20: Final standings, playoff projections, NBA Finals pick

18:45  21 october  2019
18:45  21 october  2019 Source:

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The 2019 - 20 edition of ESPN's NBA summer forecast is here. Which will be the best and worst We polled ESPN's panel of basketball experts for their predictions heading into the season. FiveThirtyEight currently projects the Lakers as having a 20% percent to make the NBA Finals and a

The contracts have been signed. The trades have been completed. The preseason is over. Bring on the real basketball.

LaMarcus Aldridge standing in front of a crowd© Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited

Following one of the wildest summers in league history, the NBA kicks off the 2019-20 regular season Tuesday night. With Kevin Durant in Brooklyn and Klay Thompson sidelined until at least the All-Star break, the Warriors are no longer the heavy title favorites. The championship chase is wide open.

And that's what makes this year's prediction game so difficult. A number of contenders could realistically find a way to reach the 2020 NBA Finals. What should hoops fans expect given all of the recent roster turnover?

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FiveThirtyEight’s NBA forecast projects the winner of each game and predicts each team's chances of advancing to the playoffs and winning the NBA finals . 2019 - 20 NBA Predictions . Powered by FiveThirtyEight's RAPTOR player ratings. More NBA :Player projections Every team’s Elo history.

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Let's take a shot at forecasting the entire 2019-20 season.

MORE: Ranking the top 15 NBA players for 2019-20

NBA predictions: Eastern Conference playoff teams

1. Bucks

2. 76ers

3. Celtics

4. Heat

5. Raptors

6. Nets

7. Pacers

8. Magic

— The Bucks and Sixers should be stuck in a battle for the No. 1 seed throughout the season. With reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the way and the same team (mostly) returning, Milwaukee will rack up a few more wins than Philadelphia.

— Good luck figuring out the middle of the East. The bet here is that a Celtics team devoid of drama will surge to the third seed, followed by the Heat and offseason acquisition Jimmy Butler. The Raptors could choose to move some of its veterans ahead of the trade deadline, but it seems more likely they try to compete as the defending champs.

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NBA Preseason Standings 2019 - 20 . Resources NBA Playoff Matchups Basketball Power Index Playoff Odds Real Plus-Minus NBA Predictions .

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— Indiana is a major wild card. There is no precise return date for Victor Oladipo, and a Domantas Sabonis trade could go down at any moment. The Pacers remain a playoff team in these standings, but don't be surprised if they are fighting for their spot until the last week of the season.

— A note to Steve Clifford: Play all the forwards at the same time.

NBA predictions: Eastern Conference lottery teams

9. Pistons

10. Bulls

11. Hawks

12. Knicks

13. Wizards

14. Cavs

15. Hornets

— Blake Griffin is capable of carrying Detroit to the playoffs. Only five players have hit averages of 24 points, seven rebounds and five assists while shooting at least 36 percent from 3-point range over a full season: Larry Bird, Tracy McGrady, LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Griffin in 2018-19. The depth for the Pistons, though? Not great.

— The Bulls and Hawks will be feisty, but it's a lot to ask for 22- and 29-win teams to make the playoff leap. Expect win totals in the mid-30s with plenty of highlights and not much defense.

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Once the final division standings are set, playoff predictions can be made based on the seeding, all the way to our Super Bowl 54 pick . Those teams will look to maintain their momentum as NFC playoff teams and conference championship contenders, while Washington and New York work to

— A note to David Fizdale: Play all the forwards at the same time.

— Washington... uh... hey, Bradley Beal got paid!

— I'm sorry, Hornets fans. This isn't going to be pretty.

NBA predictions: Western Conference playoff teams

1. Nuggets

2. Clippers

3. Jazz

4. Lakers

5. Rockets

6. Trail Blazers

7. Warriors

8. Mavericks

— Denver surges to the top of the West behind an MVP-caliber season from Nikola Jokic, who could finish in the top 10 in points, rebounds and assists per game. Much like Milwaukee, the Nuggets benefit from another year of consistency.

— Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are going to miss a few games here and there, but the overall talent on the Clippers' roster along with Doc Rivers' coaching should keep them close to the Nuggets. Remember, Los Angeles went 48-34 without a true superstar. Bumping that closer to 60 shouldn't be a huge challenge.

— Some Lakers fans may freak out over the fourth seed, understandable considering, you know, LeBron James and Anthony Davis are playing together. However, new coach Frank Vogel will need time to fit odd pieces together, and the ultimate mission for LA is never about games in January. Give a strong Jazz squad the slight edge at No. 3. Utah already has its defensive identity established, and an upgrade at point guard with Mike Conley should do wonders for the offense.

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Our SportsLine projections actually have the Rockets projected for FEWER wins (from 50 to 49) after trading Chris This might sound crazy to some, but I think the Thunder (before you even factor in the picks they got) are actually There was an error processing your subscription. 2019 - 20 NBA Season.

Get the latest NBA Basketball standings from across the league. Follow your favorite team through the 2019 - 20 season. 2019 - 20 team records, home and away records, win percentage, current streak, and more on

— Houston will be really good, but there are question marks. How will James Harden and Russell Westbrook handle sharing the backcourt duties? Is this really Mike D'Antoni's last year with the Rockets? Will there be any hangover from the team's trip to China and the chaos caused by Daryl Morey's tweet? Will PJ Tucker let me borrow some of his shoes?

— Damian Lillard just won't let the Blazers go home after Game 82. Same rule for Stephen Curry and Draymond Green.

— LUKAMANIA RUNNIN' WILD! THE NBA PLAYOFFS ON TNT! Dallas is the crash-the-party team in 2020. (For what it's worth, FiveThirtyEight gives the Mavericks a 60 percent chance to reach the postseason.)

NBA predictions: Western Conference lottery teams

9. Spurs

10. Pelicans

11. Kings

12. Thunder

13. Timberwolves

14. Suns

15. Grizzlies

— Putting San Antonio in the lottery is just wrong, isn't it? Predictions are dumb. Already feeling bad about this.

— The Pels will be missing Zion Williamson for the start of the regular season. If other health issues flare up for even a few games, that could set New Orleans back too far in the unforgiving West. Whatever happens, Alvin Gentry's group will be fast and fun to watch.

— Oklahoma City's roster could be filled with new pieces by February. Too much uncertainty to pencil in the Thunder for the playoffs.

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Let's go through the 2019 NBA playoff bracket to find out. In true NBA fashion, the standings weren't settled until the final day of the 2018-19 regular season. But late Wednesday night, the league's 16 playoff participants locked into their positions ahead of what should be an entertaining postseason

The 2019 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association 's 2018–19 season. The playoffs began on April 13 and ended on June 13 at the conclusion of the 2019

— Wins won't come easy for the Grizz, but man, Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. should provide excitement on a nightly basis.

Eastern Conference finals picks

76ers over Bucks

— Philly's overwhelming size and athleticism on the defense is too much for Milwaukee to overcome in a physical, six-game series. The Sixers throw Ben Simmons, Al Horford and Joel Embiid at Antetokounmpo to slow him down, and the Bucks' supporting cast fails to step up. Eric Bledsoe disappears... again.

Simmons hits a few jumpers to ignite the crowd at home, and Josh Richardson shines on both ends of the floor. Embiid's celebration trends on Twitter for the next two days.

Western Conference finals picks

Clippers over Lakers

— It's the battle for LA! With the easiest travel schedule in NBA history, the stars stay fresh for a seven-game slobberknocker at Staples Center. Rivers is content to keep George guarding James to start the series, until Games 6 and 7, when he unleashes Leonard to reduce LeBron to a mere mortal.

Lou Williams' pick-and-roll work with Montrezl Harrell is unstoppable against bench units. Davis scores at least 30 points and grabs 10-plus rebounds in every game, but it's not enough to prevent elimination. Billy Crystal hugs Clippers owner Steve Ballmer as time expires.

2020 NBA Finals prediction

Clippers over 76ers

— Midway through a tight series, Rivers employs a strategy of letting Embiid have as many post-up and isolation opportunities as he likes. Embiid falls into the trap, tiring himself out with inefficient possessions. His shooting percentage drops in each game.

Leonard puts the clamps on Simmons, who barely finishes with more assists than turnovers overall. George is the second-best player in the series with impressive shooting numbers, though Horford and Tobias Harris perform admirably in a 4-2 Finals loss.

Ballmer screams so loud all of the champagne bottles explode before the Clippers reach the locker room. (He's a billionaire, so it's not a big deal.)

What can NBA coaches challenge during games? Explaining the new rule for the 2019-20 season .
Following in the footsteps of the NFL and MLB, the NBA introduced a coach's challenge for the 2019-20 season. The tool used by coaches to trigger replay reviews was previously tested out in the G League, and the NBA Board of Governors decided to implement a version of the challenge for at least one year. This doesn't mean coaches will be stopping the officiating crew for an argument over every call, though. Coaches are limited in what they are able to challenge, and referees will continue to play a major role in what is reviewed during crucial late-game possessions.

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