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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