Economist NBA Playoff Analytics
The NBA Playoffs have begun and I thought it would be a great idea to do a project in the style of the Economist. In this text you will read about my predictions for many of the best matchups in the first and second round and finally my thoughts on who will make it to the NBA Finals. I will use research from major sports analysts, other sports webpages and as well as Fantasy Leagues and sports betting websites.
Lets begin with the Golden State Warriors and the Denver Nuggets in round 1 of the Western Division. Golden State is shooting 44.3 percent from three-point range and making 17.0 threes a game, which is a playoff-high. Both Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are averaging over 20 points per game and shooting over 40% from three-point range. Draymond Green, meanwhile, is passing out 8.3 assists while making things difficult for Jokic. Jordan Poole, whose play this season and series has more than proven his status as a new member of this title-contending core, may be the biggest threat. Poole is averaging 28.7 points per game on 66.7 percent shooting from the field and 59.1 percent from three-point range.
I have the Golden State Warriors winning in 6.
The most interesting and best matchup in this first round in the East is the Boston Celtics vs. the Brooklyn Nets. The strength and size of the Boston Celtics appeared to be the main key in this matchup. They still seem to have the upper hand on this one, but Jayson Tatum's victory over Kevin Durant in their individual matchup was an unexpected event that might shorten the series . Tatum is averaging 25.0 points, 9.0 assists, and 2.5 threes while shooting 41.7 percent from deep in only two games, both of which were in Boston. Durant is shooting 31.7 percent from the floor and has 25.0 points. However, his 4.0 assists are less than half of Tatum's average. Tatum is 2-of-13 when guarding him. Though it's difficult to imagine that change is coming throughout the series. Durant will definitely go off for a big game.
I have the Boston Celtics winning in 5.
The Chicago Bulls battled in Game 1 against the Milwaukee Bucks, then came back to win Game 2 on the road. The Bucks, on the other hand, reminded everyone how high they can go with a 30-point beating in Chicago on Friday. In that game, Jrue Holiday was the only starter who had to play 30 minutes. Reserve Grayson Allen was the only player to score more than 20 points. Before the first half ended, it felt like a regular blowout that might help to change the series' direction. Milwaukee has been able to play swarming defense even without Khris Middleton (who suffered a knee injury in Game 2), especially on DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine (both below 50% from the field).
I have the Milwaukee Bucks winning in 5.
Finals Prediction: Golden State Warriors vs. Boston Celtics
Even without Payton, the Warriors are beginning to resemble the dominance that helped them win three championships, especially when fellow veteran Otto Porter Jr. is on the court. Jonathan Kuminga began Games 4 and 5 against Memphis, but Porter came in for the second halves of both games. When Curry, Thompson, Green, and Porter are all on the court, the Warriors are plus 23.8 points per 100 possessions, due to there small size. And each of those top three players appears to be capable of playing a little better than they have in the playoffs. The Warriors also have tons of experience in the NBA Finals. I think the Celtics will put up a good fight but will struggle at some point.
I have the Golden State Warriors winning in 6. This will be their 4th title in the last 10 years securing them as one of the most successful dynasties in the history of the NBA.