While 538 is best known for its political predictions, the statistical website runs plenty of models on sports too.
And it has run one on the Miami Heat and other NBA teams.
Here’s the entire article, which we will explore in more detail — zeroing in on specific Heat players — in future posts here.
But, for now, here’s a look at how they see the team as a whole, based on this calculus…
How this works: These forecasts are based on 50,000 simulations of the rest of the season. Our player-based RAPTOR forecast doesn’t account for wins and losses; it is based entirely on our NBA player projections, which estimate each player’s future performance based on the trajectory of similar NBA players. These are combined with up-to-date depth charts — tracking injuries, trades and other player transactions — to generate talent estimates for each team. A team’s full-strength rating assumes all of its key players are in the lineup.
— They have the Heat as the 15th best team in the league, with a projected record of 42-40. That’s actually below the over-under at most Las Vegas sportsbooks.
— That would have them 6th in the East, behind the Bucks, 76ers, Celtics, Raptors and Pacers. The Nets and Magic are next. If Kevin Durant returns during the season, expect the odds to change.
— They have the Heat with a 78 percent chance of making the playoffs. In the West, that would be significantly lower.
— Chance of making the NBA Finals? That’s at 3 percent.
— Championship chance? Less than 1 percent.
On that last one, they obviously haven’t watched Tyler Herro enough.