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ESPN: Portland Trail Blazers Not Expected To Improve Win Total

ESPN believes Portland will do no better than its 2015-16 regular season, predicting a 44.5 real plus-minus record for the coming year.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Editor's note: We re-wrote the article to reflect that last year's RPM analysis predicted 40 wins for Portland, while their 31-win prediction is from a panel of writers, and not related to real plus-minus. We apologize for the error.

ESPN's Kevin Pelton released his real plus-minus predictions for the 2016-17 season. He projected Portland winning a similar number of games (44.5) and finishing seventh in the west, despite an earlier summer forecast that the Blazers would finish fourth with a record of 46 wins.

"After reaching the second round of the playoffs and adding Festus Ezeli and Evan Turner this offseason, the Blazers hope to take the next step in their development. RPM sees them as about the same team as 2015-16, when they won 44 games but finished fifth in a weaker West."

However, he does warn that this should be taken "with a grain of salt" given last year’s incorrect prediction. Using the same method for the analysis, he predicted that the seemingly-lacking-in-talent Portland Trail Blazers were expected to win 40 games during the 2015-16 season. In a separate poll, ESPN's panel of writers were quizzed and predicted 31 wins.

The Blazers eventually finished with 44 wins, 5th place and a second-round playoff exit against the Warriors.

ESPN's prediction for the top eight teams in the west is:

  • Golden State
  • San Antonio
  • Utah
  • L.A. Clippers
  • Houston
  • Oklahoma City
  • Portland
  • Denver