We are just halfway through the NBA’s regular season, but for nearly two-thirds of the league’s team, their playoff hopes have already been decided and all that is left is shuffling for playoff seeding or draft lottery ping pong balls.
Using a rating system that accounts for margin of victory, home-court advantage, strength of schedule, and prior performance, and then simulating the rest of the season thousands of times, Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.com has determined the probability each team has of making the playoffs.
Of the NBA’s 30 teams, 22 still have a realistic shot (at least 5%) to make the playoffs. Of those teams, 11 are locks or near-locks (at least 95%) to make the playoffs including five teams in the Western Conference and six in the Eastern Conference.
That leaves 11 teams that still have a realistic shot at one of the remaining five playoff spots (3 in the West, 2 in the East) and one of those will almost certainly go to the Portland Trail Blazers.
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