John Hollinger’s Western Conference playoff odds

Yesterday, we took a look at John Hollinger’s Eastern Conference playoff odds. Today we’ll look at the Western Conference.

1. LA Lakers (100)
2. Phoenix (96.5)
3. Portland (96.3)
4. Denver (93.8)
5. Utah (88.6)
6. New Orleans (81.1)
7. Dallas (80.6)
8. Houston (78.1)
9. Golden State (34.4)
10. Memphis (20.3)
11. San Antonio (19.9)
12. Sacramento (7.7)
13. Minnesota (2.6)
14. L.A. Clippers (0.1)
15. Oklahoma City (0.0)

He looks like he has the West pegged save for one big problem. I don’t see how the Mavericks – who are 5-7 at full strength – will make the playoffs but the Spurs – who are 5-6 and missing two of their three best players – will not. Hollinger’s formula is probably heavily mathematical, so he can’t account for injuries, and that’s part of the problem with taking a pure statistical approach to something like this. Tony Parker is due back in mid-December, while Ginobili is ahead of schedule and should be back a bit earlier. The Spurs are getting good play from George Hill and Roger Mason, and if they can stay near .500, they shouldn’t have a problem making the playoffs if Parker and Ginobili come back strong.

As for the Mavericks, barring a major injury to one of the other eight teams (including the Spurs), I don’t see how they make the postseason. Denver’s 8-4 record seems a little odd, but they are getting good play from Chauncey Billups, who has changed the team’s attitude defensively.

Even without Monta Ellis, Golden State has surprisingly kept its head above water, and if the Warriors can stay close to .500 until January (when Ellis is set to return), they would be a dark horse to make the playoffs.

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John Hollinger’s Eastern Conference playoff odds

John Hollinger is ESPN’s numbers guy for the NBA, and he has a statistical formula that predicts the playoff odds for every NBA team. Here’s a look at the East:

1. Cleveland (98.9)
2. Boston (95.9)
3. Detroit (90.1)
4. Atlanta (88.8)
5. Philadelphia (67.7)
6. Miami (63.6)
7. Orlando (63.6)
8. Indiana (63.1)
9. Chicago (57.2)
10. Toronto (53.7)
11. Milwaukee (32.4)
12. New York (10.5)
13. New Jersey (7.6)
14. Charlotte (6.8)
15. Washington (0.2)

Things are obviously looking dire for the Wizards right now. They are 1-7 and will be without Gilbert Arenas for a while. It’s early, but unless they are able to put together some wins with the current lineup, it looks like they will indeed miss the playoffs this season.

With all that talent, I would be shocked if the Raptors miss the playoffs. Hollinger says they have a 54% chance, but with Jose Calderon, Chris Bosh and Jermaine O’Neal, I think it’s just a matter of time before Toronto gels and strings a few wins together. I suspect that Toronto will replace Indiana in the top eight. Chicago and Milwaukee are darkhorses – they need more consistent play and a healthy Kirk Hinrich and Michael Redd, respectively.

Interestingly, the Knicks are 6-5, but Hollinger says that they only have a 11% chance to make the postseason.

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