According to the latest ESPN BPI Playoff Odds, the Utah Jazz have a better than 99.9 percent chance of qualifying for the playoffs this season.
Coming into the 2016-17 season, the expectation for the Utah Jazz was without a doubt that they would make the playoffs. With 52 games now under their belt, the Jazz are in fourth place in the West with a record of 33-19. Therefore, it’s looking like that preseason assumption will very likely end up being the case.
BPI (Basketball Power Index) is a measurement of a team’s quality using advanced statistical metrics to look at both their offensive and defensive proficiency as compared to the rest of the league. For a more detailed explanation on how it works, be sure to click this link here.
The BPI Playoff Odds then are intended to predict a team’s chances of making the playoffs, winning a title and earning a top-three pick in the NBA lottery.
While it’s great news to see that the Jazz have such an incredibly high probability of qualifying for postseason play and certainly is a testament to how well they’ve played this season, it’s also evidence of just how poor the teams in the bottom half of the West have been this year.
Utah joins five other Western Conference teams with a probability of 99.9 percent even though there’s still 30 games left to be played in the regular season. Each of the current top six teams in the conference – the Warriors, Spurs, Rockets, Jazz, Clippers and Grizzlies – are listed at a greater than 99.9 percent chance of qualifying.
Meanwhile, the seventh place Thunder are listed at a 99.8 percent chance while Portland and Denver are at 44.1 percent and 43 percent, respectively, clearly indicating the tight race that will exist between those two teams down the stretch.
From there, it’s a big jump down to the Dallas Mavericks who are listed as having just an 8 percent chance of qualifying.
Meanwhile in the Eastern Conference, only the current top three teams, the Cavaliers, Celtics and Raptors have a 99.9 percent chance, but each of the top six teams in the conference has a better than 90 percent chance of qualifying for the postseason.
Therefore, save for a few spots near the bottom of each conference, if probability holds true, we largely already know who the 2017 NBA Playoff teams are going to be. Given how well the Utah Jazz have played so far this season, it comes as little surprise that they would find themselves just 0.1 percent away from a guaranteed playoff spot.
The Utah Jazz might have 99.9 problems, but worrying about not making the playoffs is only 0.1% of one. https://t.co/t2mSqifOaY
Unfortunately, their title odds are unsurprisingly much lower than that. Despite having that 99.9 percent chance of qualifying for the postseason, they come in at just a 0.5 percent chance of winning this season’s NBA Championship.
On the bright side, that is higher than each of the teams below them in the Western Conference standings and higher than all but the top three teams in the East. Yet, unfortunately for the league as a whole, the Golden State Warriors currently have an unbelievable 74.5 percent chance of winning the NBA Championship according to the BPI Odds.
While this isn’t necessarily surprising given their personnel, it’s still somewhat disappointing for the parity of the league to have them at such favorable odds. They’re significantly higher than the second place San Antonio Spurs who are listed at a 13.1 percent chance of winning the championship, while the Cleveland Cavaliers come in at third at 5.3 percent.
Of course, analytics and statistics aside, this is still all speculation. Sure, the Warriors are heavy favorites to win in almost everyone’s book, but there’s obviously no guarantee until a team is actually hoisting up the trophy. For example, excuse me for bringing up an overused joke, but I’m sure Cleveland’s BPI Odds of winning the championship last season after trailing 3-1 were hopelessly low, yet we all know how that wound up.
But in terms of where the Utah Jazz are at, it’s an incredible step forward. For a team that has failed to make the playoffs since the 2011-2012 season, qualifying this season will be an incredible improvement for them. And considering that they were the ninth place team last year and are currently well within reach of the third seed in the West, this year’s progress could end up becoming an even bigger stride than many expected.
Therefore, with Utah’s near-guarantee to qualify for the playoffs this year and the quick improvement that they’ve been experiencing, while their title odds may be quite low this season they very well could jump up in a hurry in upcoming years.
And that will undoubtedly be an extremely welcome sight for Jazz fans who’ve patiently waited for years for their team to finally become relevant once again.
But for now, given where the Jazz were as recently as the 2015-16 season, a 99.9 percent chance of making the playoffs is nothing to complain about at all.