NBA Playoff Picture & Predictions: Eastern & Western Conference Scenarios

NBA playoff predictions scenarios picture

Getty Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors forwards Paul George and Kevin Durant

The 2019 NBA Playoffs are right around the corner, and the final night of games will decide a handful of the seedings. With two days left in the NBA regular season, just two spots in the Western Conference is locked in, while five are set in the Eastern Conference.

In terms of the overall playoff outlook, there is just one spot still up for grabs, and that’s the No. 8 seed in the East. We’re going to break down both conferences and the playoff picture while also offering predictions on each of the spots which are up in the air. Let’s start with the East and evaluating the bottom half of the playoff picture, as well as who will grab the last spot.


NBA’s Eastern Conference Playoff Picture & Predictions

*Teams locked into their current spot, updated as of Monday, April 8.

  1. 1. *Milwaukee Bucks 60-21
  2. 2. *Toronto Raptors 57-24
  3. 3. *Philadelphia 76ers 50-30
  4. 4. *Boston Celtics 48-33
  5. 5. *Indiana Pacers 47-34
  6. 6. Brooklyn Nets 41-40
  7. 7. Orlando Magic 41-40
  8. 8. Detroit Pistons 39-41
  9. Charlotte Hornets 38-42
  10. Miami Heat 38-42

The final three seeds here are up for grabs, with giving the Brooklyn Nets an 85 percent chance to hold the No. 6 seed. They also give the Orlando Magic a 58 percent chance to finish No. 7 and the Detroit Pistons (48 percent) are favorites for the eighth and final spot.

Per the site, Brooklyn can fall no further than No. 7, while the Magic can finish in any of the final three spots. Detroit can jump up to No. 7, but could also fall entirely out of the postseason if they lose one of their final two games and the Charlotte Hornets win out. As for the Miami Heat, the chances of Dwyane Wade having one more trip to the postseason are slim, listed at just one percent as they’d need a bit of a miracle.

Prediction on seeds up for grabs: Nets (No. 6), Pistons (No. 7), Magic (No. 8)

While the Pistons have to win their final two games to be safe and secure a playoff spot, I think they’ll do just that. It’s worth noting that the second falls on the same day/time as a Magic vs. Hornets matchup. If the Hornets are still in the mix for the playoffs at that point, expect Kemba Walker to will Charlotte to a win and knock off Orlando. Two wins from Detroit and a loss by the Magic will push Andre Drummond and company up to No. 7.

NBA’s Western Conference Playoff Picture & Predictions

*Teams locked into their current spot, updated as of Monday, April 8.

  1. 1. *Golden State Warriors 56-24
  2. 2. Denver Nuggets 53-27
  3. 3. Houston Rockets 53-28
  4. 4. Portland Trail Blazers 51-29
  5. 5. Utah Jazz 49-31
  6. 6. Oklahoma City Thunder 47-33
  7. 7. San Antonio Spurs 47-34
  8. 8. Los Angeles Clippers 47-34

Only one seed in the Western Conference is locked in, but the other seven teams have all clinched playoff spots. The bottom three teams are jockeying for position to avoid the Golden State Warriors in round one, and Playoff Status pegs the Clippers as the most likely (67 percent) to finish as the No. 8 seed. The San Antonio Spurs are actually favored to finish in the sixth spot (70 percent) while the Oklahoma City Thunder are given a 51 percent chance to be the No. 7 seed.

There’s a very real chance that fans could be treated to a first-round matchup between the Thunder and either the Warriors or Houston Rockets. James Harden and company can finish in either the two, three or four spots, with No. 2 and 3 listed as the most realistic. And speaking of the current two seed, the Denver Nuggets have a 65 percent chance to hold where they are, but the furthest they can fall is No. 3.

Both the Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz are likely to remain where they are. The Blazers are pegged at 76 percent to finish as the No. 4 seed and the Jazz are 94 percent to be No. 5. Assuming that holds, we know at least one of the first-round playoff matchups.

The final few days for the West could feature quite a few teams moving around, and a number of things remain up in the air currently.

Prediction on seeds up for grabs: Rockets (No. 2), Nuggets (No. 3), Blazers (No. 4), Jazz (No. 5), Spurs (No. 6), Thunder (No. 7), Clippers (No. 8).

I think the Nuggets wind up slipping to No. 3, but it’s a bit of a tough call to make. For this to happen, the Rockets would need to defeat the Thunder on the road Tuesday and have the Nuggets either lose on the road to the Jazz (possible) or fall to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Beyond that, I think the Spurs jump the Thunder, but Oklahoma City holds onto the seven-seed, but just barely thanks to Utah defeating the Clippers.

Realistically, the Nuggets and Rockets flipping, and even Thunder/Clippers swapping are both very real possibilities.

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