Here we are Denver Nuggets fans. The 2016-17 NBA season begins today. 30 teams have reset expectations for the new 82 game stretch, and for many of those teams, the expectation is to make the playoffs.
Some teams like the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers won’t struggle to make the postseason, but for those on the doorstep of the playoffs (the Denver Nuggets come to mind), they will have to win enough games to claim an eighth seed or higher. Just how many wins will it take though?
Below are the win totals of each seed in the Western Conference the last 25 years, excluding the shortened seasons of 1998-99 and 2011-12.
This was a chart I created to help configure my win predictions for each team (an article Daniel and I composed that will come out soon), and the most interesting column is the last one on the right. The eighth seed goes through ups and downs, but throughout the 23 measured seasons, the average win tally was about 43.8 wins.
Last season may have been an aberration, based on the years of data collected before that, and it’s not likely to level out. The Warriors got stronger, and they are much more likely to win 70 games or more than the 62 the average for the first seed would estimate. Because of this, win totals change across the board.
I would expect the eighth seed threshold to be about 42 wins. The strength at the top of the conference and the variability of the teams below the top three or four should lower the threshold below the average. If the Nuggets want to guarantee a spot in the Western Conference’s top eight teams, then they should be gunning for 45 wins as the goal. That being said, I think 41 or 42 wins may be enough to pass for an eighth seed this season.
Let me know in the comments section or on Twitter how many games you think the Nuggets will win this season and if it will be enough to make the playoffs.
***Stiffs Night Out***
We will be hosting SNO on opening night (October 26) at our home sports bar, Jake's Sports & Spirits in Denver's vibrant RiNo neighborhood at 3800 Walnut Street, Denver CO. Located conveniently across the street from the new 38th and Blake Commuter Rail Station and just five minutes (by car) from Coors Field. Jake's will extend happy hour for all Stiffs attendees.
The event is free to attend and all ages are welcome. It's a great way to meet fellow Nuggets fans and Stiffs readers in a fun and friendly environment. We look forward to seeing you there!