Projecting the NBA playoff bracket 

March, 18, 2010

Last week, I looked at playoff monitors for the National Hockey League. Now, it's time to do the same thing for the NBA.

There are two key sites for following your favorite NBA team's playoff chances. One is John Hollinger's NBA Playoff Odds, which uses Hollinger's Power Rankings to project how every team will do over the remainder of the season. Yes, Hollinger is an ESPN superstar, but I wouldn't link to him if I didn't admire his methods. His rankings are as good an amalgamation of statistics as exists at the team level. He uses them to run 5,000 simulations of the rest of the season. And in each simulation, he's careful to regress to the mean (so that teams that go 10-0 early in the season don't end up with 82-0 projections) and include some randomness (so that good teams sometimes play poorly and vice versa).

Peter Keating

ESPN Senior Writer
Peter Keating is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, where he covers investigative and statistical subjects. His column, The Numbers, appears in every issue.