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FiveThirtyEight Offers Predictions for Eighth Seed Race

The prediction model gives Portland a 10% chance of making the playoffs.

New Orleans Pelicans v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers will enter the NBA’s season restart as the ninth seed, 3.5 games back of the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies. Portland will be joined by the New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns in the hunt for a playoff spot. Analytics site FiveThirtyEight has released its updated predictions for the season restart, adjusting their model to take the new eight-game schedule into account. These predictions are “based on 100,000 simulations of the rest of the season and playoffs, using team ratings to generate win probabilities for each game.”

In March, before the season was suspended, the model gave Portland a 14% chance to make the playoffs. That number placed them below the Pelicans (60%) and Grizzlies (15%) but ahead of the Kings (9%) and Spurs (2%).

Here’s each team’s updated chances in the eighth seed race:

  • Pelicans: 45% (down from 60% in March)
  • Grizzlies: 37% (up from 15% in March)
  • Blazers: 10% (down from 14% in March)
  • Kings: 7% (down from 9% in March)
  • Spurs: <1% (down from 2% in March)

The NBA will utilize a play-in tournament during the Orlando restart if the ninth seed finishes within four games of the eighth seed after the initial eight-game schedule.

What do you think of FiveThirtyEight’s predictions? Let us know in the comments.