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The NBA races to the top (and below)



While the rest of the NBA rushed to make a move before last Thursday's trade deadline, the two-time defending champions leaned over the fray. Instead of separating from future selections for a mid-season boost, the Golden State Warriors added All-Star DeMarcus Cousins ​​four times in their offense. On the eve of the deadline, they defeated the Spurs by 39 points at home. A lion does not care about the actions of the sheep.

To be fair, the Warriors may be active in the buying market, but as of Sunday, their most recent transaction was on January 17, when they assigned rookie Jacob Evans to the G League. In fact, the Warriors have not. made an exchange in season since 2014, when it was sent Ringer podcaster Kent Bazemore and MarShon "no Dillon" Brooks to the Lakers for Steve Blake. Blake has not played an NBA game in three years and is now in the Big3 group of players, but the Warriors have reached four consecutive NBA finals and have not required a single trade in the season on the road. It's hard to beat Cousins ​​and Kevin Durant in free agency.

More generally, most of the Finals teams do not have to make deals in the season; no champion since 2005 (the Spurs, with Nazr Mohammed) has changed by a player rotation on the deadline. And the annual commercial chaos may prove even more useless this year, as the Warriors have reached terrifying levels of dominance in recent times: Golden State has a record of 15-2 with an offensive rating of 123.3 since the calendar went to 2019. A new Rodney Hood or Mike Muscala We are not going to stop the champions. But there is still much to be resolved between now and June. Let's walk through the remaining careers of the league (title, finals, playoffs and draft position) to see what effects of the deadline could really be met and how each of them qualifies now.

The race for the title

According to Five thirty eightThe projection model, which uses both the performance of a team in the season to date and the talent on its list to make predictions, Golden State came to the limit week with a 63 percent chance of winning the title. Despite not making any moves, while almost all of their main competition in the East was charged for the final stretch, the Warriors' title probabilities suffered just a bit, falling to 58 percent from Sunday.

When only the Warriors divide much of the pie, there are only small pieces for all the other contenders to share. The biggest sources of growth were Milwaukee (from 7 to 12 percent), which added the floor spacer Nikola Mirotic, and Toronto (from 11 to 16), which added to the great man Marc Gasol, but the improvements were only marginal. Essentially, the two best teams in the East (and maybe Philadelphia, now that they've got Tobias Harris) improved their chances of beating Golden State, but they will have to go through an extremely complicated road to the East to reach the Finals.

The finals push

The cruel irony of the flurry of movements in the upper East is that none of the agreements improved the position of a team. All of your best competitors also improved at the same time. If Milwaukee had only added one player of the caliber of Mirotic, the Bucks would have been great beneficiaries, but since Toronto and Philadelphia did the same, the impact of Mirotic is relatively small.

However, the adjustment of Mirotic in Milwaukee made the Bucks the biggest winners of the deadline, at least for the chances of reaching the final: they increased their chances from 28 to 36 percent. (Loading victories before the deadline, including one to claim the season series with Toronto, should also help gain an advantage on the home track and an advantage in the East race). That momentum came mainly at the expense of Boston, which remained slapped on the deadline and saved its best assets for this summer. The Celtics' chances of reaching the finals were reduced by almost half, from 19 percent to 10 percent.

Meanwhile, Out West, none of the best teams made any notable exchanges last week; In addition to the Warriors, the Nuggets, Thunder and Jazz sat down completely, while the Rockets only added Iman Shumpert. So the Warriors' chances of reaching the finals remained stable at 75 percent. That will not change much even if one of your main competitors gets a worthwhile purchase candidate.

Five thirty eight It also ranks each team in a point system, where the league average is approximately 1,500 and the current image varies from the Knicks in 1,266 to the Warriors in 1,803. A comparison of the five teams with the best ratings in the East and West shows the volatility in the upper East compared to the West. (The results of the game also had some effect, Denver, for example, decreased not because of changes in the list of players, but because of three consecutive losses in the Eastern competition).

Changes of the best teams in the deadline

East teamQualification before the deadlineQualification after the deadlineChangeWestern teamQualification before the deadlineQualification after the deadlineChange
East teamQualification before the deadlineQualification after the deadlineChangeWestern teamQualification before the deadlineQualification after the deadlineChange
Bucks16661714+48Warriors18021803+1
Prey birds16861701+15Thunder16951694-one
76ers16521678+26Rocket16781681+3
Celts16711665-6Jazz16301631+1
Pacers15721579+7Nuggets16331623-10

The playoff hunt

Before the start of the week limit, 11 teams had more than 95 percent chance of making the playoffs, while seven more had less than a 5 percent chance. That left only a dozen teams in the middle. Then, once again, there was little movement between another team level.

The Wizards were by far the biggest losers (they did not intend the John Wall games) and went from having a playoff probability of 56 percent to 22 in the last week after trading Otto Porter Jr. and Markieff Morris. The Pelicans (a fall of 9 percentage points) and Timberwolves (4) also fell, but even their decreases were relatively minor, and no other team moved much in that negative direction.

Medium-sized teams did not make many purchases last week, but some benefited from the sale of their competitors. The Lakers' odds improved by 10 percentage points, mainly because teams like Pelicans and Wolves helped clear the way to the 8th seeded West; The same happened with the Magic (19 percentage points increase) and Pistons (11) in the East, which advanced with the elimination of Washington as a realistic playoff contender.

As it stands now, six teams in the West are 95 percent or more, and the Spurs also sit comfortably with an 83 percent chance of making the postseason. The last place in the playoffs should be a battle within the state between the Clippers (51 percent after the sale, thanks to recent victories against Charlotte and Boston), Lakers (36) and Kings (10).

Meanwhile, in the East, five teams are already safe, with the Nets (83 percent) almost there. That leaves two points for any of the Hornets (68), Pistons (58), Heat (33), Magic (36) and Wizards (22). The winners get the rights to be defeated by Giannis and Kawhi in the first round.

The Tank Wars

The thickest race may be the one below, where a prize in the shape of Zion Williamson awaits. Four teams entered the week with a realistic chance at the worst record in the league, and two teams took divergent paths. On the one hand, Phoenix and Chicago actually improved their rosters: new guard Tyler Johnson is classified as one of the best rotation players of the Suns, while Chicago improved Otto Porter Jr. in a wing position and got rid of Negative net production of Jabari Parker in the process. Nevertheless, the Knicks and the Cavaliers accelerated their tank: New York when resigning to Enes Kanter and to the recently acquired Wesley Matthews, Cleveland when exchanging to Alec Burks and Rodney Hood. Here is a comparison of the worst teams in the league before and after the deadline:

Worst equipment changes on the deadline

TeamClassification of the equipment, before the deadlineClassification of the team, nowChangeProjected victories, before the deadlineProjected victories, now
TeamClassification of the equipment, before the deadlineClassification of the team, nowChangeProjected victories, before the deadlineProjected victories, now
Knicks12991266-331917
Gentlemen13041278-261918
Suns13221343twenty-one1819
Bulls130913494019twenty

As a reminder, with the new lottery distribution, the three teams below receive the same odds, so the Suns or the Bulls may have decreased their chances of ping-pong with their deadline activity. But within the last three, the order does not matter much, it can affect only the floor of a team (the team with the worst record could fall to the fifth place in the worst case, the second worst to the sixth and the third worst to seven). The three tank winners must be satisfied, regardless of where they finish in that group in a job well done or very badly done.

While the Cavaliers did well to worsen the deadline and claim their place in the race until the end, the Knicks kept pace and more. The exchange of Kristaps Porzingis does not count for this analysis because it came just before the cutoff week, and the additions of Dennis Smith Jr. and DeAndre Jordan could have improved the Knicks in the short term. But at least the Knicks quickly redirected their tank and are finally doing their business well.


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