NBA teams only have a few weeks left to secure their playoff positioning. The Raptors, Celtics, Cavs, Rockets and Warriors have already earned playoff berths, but which teams will join them?
AccuScore has simulated every game remaining this season and provided probabilities for each team to reach the postseason. The table below shows probabilities to get into the playoffs and week-to-week changes.
NBA PLAYOFFS: Projecting wild Western Conference race
AccuScore's odds to make NBA playoffs
Probability vs. weekly % change
NOTE: The Bulls, Knicks, Nets, Magic, Hawks, Mavericks, Kings, Suns and Grizzlies have already been officially eliminated from playoffs. In addition to those teams, the Lakers are out of the playoffs based on simulations. It is more a question of when, not if, they will officially be out of contention.
Eastern Conference playoff picture
The 76ers, Pacers, Bucks and Wizards have essentially secured their tickets to the postseason. Based on simulations, these teams have 98-99 percent chances to reach the playoffs. It would require gigantic meltdowns for these teams to miss the playoffs this year.
The only interesting discussion involves the last position in the Eastern Conference. The Heat are expected to land at No. 8 in the East, as Miami is currently seven games ahead of the Pistons. Miami’s probability to reach the playoffs is 84 percent, while the Pistons have a 16 percent chance to pass the Heat and get into the postseason party.
It is also worth taking a look at the division battles, which are completely open. Currently, the Raptors (54 percent win probability in Atlantic) and Wizards (86 percent win probability in Southeast) are leading their respective divisions. Expect the Cavs to take over by the end of the regular season in the Central, as their division win probability is 61 percent.
Western Conference playoff picture
In addition to the Rockets and Warriors, it looks like the Timberwolves and Trail Blazers have the best odds to make the playoffs in the Western Conference. Portland had won 13 games in a row before a loss to the Rockets, and that streak improved the team's chances quite a bit. The Thunder also look secure with almost 94 percent probability to get into the playoffs despite the fact that Oklahoma City is only up 2.5 games in the standings on the final West playoff team.
The Spurs find themselves in unfamiliar territory near the bottom of the playoff picture, but the simulations like their chances and predict San Antonio will make the final playoff field (over 92 percent probability). Things don't look so good for the Clippers, who have only a 34 percent probability to make the playoffs behind the Jazz (76 percent) and Pelicans (86 percent).
Heat 84.10 0
The Nuggets are within striking distance, but their chances for the postseason are just under 24 percent. They will need to win at a better clip than .500 like they have done during their last 10 games.
The Rockets and Warriors have already clinched their respective divisions without breaking a sweat. The Northwest Division, though, will be a tight race. The Thunder have an outside shot, but their chances are below 10 percent. It will most likely come down to the Timberwolves (63 percent) and the Trail Blazers (27 percent) for the division crown, according to the simulations.
AccuScore's NBA playoff probabilities will be updated on a weekly basis.