A basketball in an NBA playoff game

NBA Playoff Predictions: 2014-2015 Season

This list includes estimated positions of each team at the end of the NBA’s regular season (before the playoffs begin), and are based on previous records, offseason movement, and preseason injuries.

Western Conference Rankings:

  1. San Antonio Spurs
    This isn’t a tough one to call. The Spurs didn’t make any huge offseason moves this summer, but they also didn’t suffer any serious preseason injuries. With Kevin Durant injured, Tim Duncan and company have a chance to gain a padded lead at the beginning of the season and, like last year, take the top spot in the regular season standings. (Win-Loss Prediction: 61 – 19)
  2. Los Angeles Clippers
    Aside from the spectacle surrounding their previous owner, the Clippers’ offseason was relatively quiet. They had no major injuries and only added two players (Spencer Hawes and Jordan Farmar). With the same team intact, it is likely that the Clips will wind up in the same position as last year. (Win-Loss Prediction: 56 – 26)
  3. Memphis Grizzlies
    Last year, in a season characterized by injuries, the Grizz were still able to clinch seventh place in the competitive Western Conference. So far this offseason, their core group is looking healthy. With their minor players returning from injuries and major players managing to stay healthy, we can expect to see this club in the playoff mix once again. (Win-Loss Prediction: 54 - 28)
  4. Oklahoma City Thunder
    In the Western Conference, each win counts, and next year the Thunder will definitely win fewer games, but not too many. Kevin Durant may be out at the beginning of the season with a stress fracture in his foot, but he has a strong, supportive cast. Serge Ibaka and Russell Westbrook (and many others to varying degrees) will likely step up in KD’s absence and ease him back into his return. (Win-Loss Prediction:  54 – 28)
  5. Portland Trail Blazers
    This team’s success last year was hard to believe. They kept the best record in the league at last season’s start, and though they couldn’t keep it the whole way through, they still managed to finish strong as well. Look forward to seeing this team play well again this year—hopefully, with improved chemistry after their playoff run last year. (Win-Loss Prediction:  53 – 29)
  6. Golden State Warriors
    The biggest change that occurred for this team over the offseason was in the coaching staff. Mark Jackson was let go and Steve Kerr was hired on as head coach. While we can’t expect this to make no difference at all, the same basic players are there and have had more time to develop their teamwork, so a top-8 finish seems definite for this club. (Win-Loss Prediction:  51 – 31)
  7. Houston Rockets
    While James Harden and Dwight Howard have had more time to develop chemistry during the offseason, the team lost a valuable piece in Chandler Parsons. Despite this loss, this team can be expected to play at the same level they did last year if given minor contributions from other teammates. (Win-Loss Prediction: 50 – 32)
  8. Dallas Mavericks
    By signing Chandler Parsons and Tyson Chandler this offseason, this team took big steps towards improvement. With these added pieces it’s hard to imagine they could do worse than they did last year when they also grabbed the eighth seed. (Win-Loss Prediction: 49 – 33)

Eastern Conference Rankings:

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers
    We’ve all seen how dominant a big-three-based team can be in the Eastern conference, and now Cleveland is that team. With LeBron James signing in Cleveland, as well as their acquisition of All-Star Kevin Love, the Cavs are the favorites to take the East next season. (Win-Loss Prediction: 53 – 29)
  2. Chicago Bulls
    Derrick Rose returns again and Pau Gasol will be joining him. A healthy Rose-Gasol tandem should be enough to take this already tough team to the top of the Eastern Conference. (Win-Loss Prediction: 52 – 30)
  3. Miami Heat
    James’ departure definitely hurt their stock, but the Heat still have enough talent on their team to remain a dominant team in the East. Shabazz Napier, Luol Deng, James Ennis, and Josh McRoberts have all been added to next years’ roster. These added pieces should be enough to land the Post-James Heat in the top three. (Win-Loss Prediction: 49 – 33)
  4. Toronto Raptors
    Last season, this club surprised a lot of people with its continued success after trading Rudy Gay. They made other trades in the offseason but were ultimately able to keep their core players and add a little bit of depth. This year, this team is expected to play as well as ever and make another splash in the playoffs. (Win-Loss Prediction: 48 – 34)
  5. Washington Wizards
    With the signing of Paul Pierce, this talented squad will be gaining a veteran player. Pierce can contribute a lot to this team in terms of leadership, and occasionally, in terms of scoring. With their continued improvement and the addition of Pierce, this up-and-coming team will surely be in the playoff mix once again. (Win-Loss Prediction: 45 – 37)
  6. Charlotte Hornets
    The acquisition of Lance Stephenson added a huge amount of talent to this young team and provided Stephenson with an opportunity for a star role. Whether he takes the reigns or acclimates to their style of play from last year, Stephenson and his new team can expect another successful (over .500) season. (Win-Loss Prediction: 44 – 38)
  7. Brooklyn Nets
    Losing Pierce to Washington and Coach Jason Kidd to Milwaukee might be perceived negatively by fans, but they shouldn’t be expected to do much worse than they did last year. This offseason, they were able to add depth by hiring a Playoff-tested coach Lionel Hollins. (Win – Loss Prediction:  42 – 40)
  8. Indiana Pacers
    With Paul George out for the season with a compound fracture in his leg and Lance Stephenson playing in Charlotte, there’s no way this squad will take the top spot like they did last season. The team has other offensive options to lean on, but learning to play without George and Stephenson will take time and definitely cost them a significant number of wins. (Win-Loss Prediction: 37 – 45)
Last Updated: March 29, 2016