Shock & Laughter At ESPN’s NBA Win Total Predictions

People all around the NBA are shaking their heads at the shocking and sometimes laughable win total predictions revealed today by ESPN. The numbers were based on a bizarrely complicated combination of statistical projections. Kevin Pelton calls it an 
expected wins total based on average health luck.

Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges was so amused by the projections in the East, he posted 21 laughing faces with the list. 

Perhaps the biggest shocker in the East finds them listing the Milwaukee Bucks, with Damian Lillard now lining up with Giannis Antetokounmpo, at just 48.5 wins, third in the conference, behind the Cleveland Cavaliers (48.6 wins).

Out West, it gets even crazier, as the sports network lists the Memphis Grizzlies, who are without Ja Morant for 25 games to start the season, as the top seed, with 48.4 wins. But that's just the beginning of the insanity:

ESPN picks the Minnesota Timberwolves to have the 2nd-most wins in the West, at 47.7, ahead of the defending champion Denver Nuggets (46.4). If "health luck" is a big determining factor, it's even more strange to see the T-Wolves at No. 2 after Karl-Anthony Towns missed 53 games last season. 

And wait, there's more: The Phoenix Suns, considered the top contender to unseat the Nuggets in the West, are pegged as fifth in the Conference, at just 43.5 wins. The Los Angeles teams are dissed big-time, with the conference finalist Lakers at 41.5 wins on the ESPN list, and the Clippers at 40 (the health projections obviously had a big influence with those two teams, eg. AD, Kawhi, PG). 

NBA players like Bridges weren't the only ones having a hard time consuming the bizarre lists.  

 Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sport