The hits just keep coming. When the Brooklyn Nets made the stunning trade to acquire future Hall of Famers Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the fan base rejoiced. But now, an ESPN article from Bradford Doolittle uses a statistical model to project the records -- and title chances -- of every team in the NBA, and they're a doozy.
Doolittle looks at the Miami Heat, the NBA's back-to-back champions. They have LeBron James, in case you've forgotten. He's pretty good. Doolittle predicts Miami to secure a fantastic 63-19 record as the Eastern Conference has become even weaker this year. Chances are good, unless Wade falls off the Earth, that the Heat will be the team to beat in the East. Here's what else he noted:
Whenever a quality defensive big man springs loose next season, Miami will be first in line to sign him for the veteran's minimum. In the meantime, you can see that the Heat's projection holds up just fine going forward.
Greg Oden anyone? Doolittle gives Miami a 100% chance of making the playoffs once more and staggering 31% for winning their third straight ring. They have LeBron James, did you know that? Either way, the most surprising part is that Miami, in Doolittle's opinion will not own the NBA's best record, nor do they have the best chance of winning the NBA title.
Wait for it...
Yeah. He went there.
Doolittle projects that the Brooklyn Nets will own a 64-18 record, one better than Miami, and a 36% chance of winning the NBA title.
If you haven't picked your jaws up off the floor, here's what Doolittle says:
I was taken aback at just how well the new roster projected, but I would be shocked if that record actually came to pass because of the age, ball-sharing and injury-risk issues I stated. Still, wouldn't you rather start out with that baseline than not?
Certainly, given Garnett and Pierce's age and likely limited playing time, a 64-win season seems rather unlikely. But hey, if you trade for two Hall of Famers, why not set the bar as high as possible? Those are some wild numbers for a team that is a few years removed from starting Anthony Morrow and Johan Petro.
Before you go nuts, Doolittle notes: "You should be aware that I've left all unrestricted free agents off any roster until they've reached an agreement with their current or new team. Teams that already have their 2013-14 rotation more or less set are going to have a big advantage over teams with a lot of flux.
The projections will change on a daily basis, sometimes significantly. What you read here is an early snapshot of where teams stand at this moment of the offseason and the path each team is taking."
With that said: the Miami Heat are already pretty set, and the Nets still have a better projected record. So, we're taking the opportunity to STILL GO NUTS.
Other interesting rankings: placed Chicago 3rd, New York 12th, Indiana 13th, Boston 22nd.
The Nets lost out on Kyle Korver today, as he decided to stay with Atlanta. Rumors say that the Nets could be looking at Matt Barnes now. There's also a chance that the taxpayer midlevel exception will go to Eurostash Bojan Bogdanovic. We'll keep you updated as this crazy summer continues for the Brooklyn Nets.
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