Through the first three weeks of the NBA season, FiveThirtyEight’s projections have 10 teams with a greater than 90% chance to make the playoffs and a total of 14 teams with at least a 71% chance to get in. That would leave only two playoff slots up for grabs.
So, how much of the playoff hunt is already locked up? Can we settle on all but the two final spots?
The easy answer is no, of course. Injuries can become a major factor, even for those 10 teams above the 90% line, and struggling teams can swing for a win-now trade. It’s still early for shooting luck to begin evening out, given the small sample size. And teams with heavy roster turnover continue to integrate new pieces. However, there are parts of the postseason picture that seemingly look more certain than usual.
Let’s explore how much we know about the playoff races in each conference, and how many teams deserve to be on the bubble.