Updated 2013 Win-Loss Record Predictions for Every NBA Team at Midseason

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2013

Updated 2013 Win-Loss Record Predictions for Every NBA Team at Midseason

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    In the NBA, it all boils down to the wins and losses. That's why these updated 2013 win-loss record predictions for every team in the Association are so vital. 

    When the season ends, how you got there doesn't matter. What really counts is how many times you emerged victoriously and how many times you hung your head in defeat.

    So, how will each team fare when the buzzer sounds to close out its 82nd game of the 2012-13 season?

    In the following slides, you'll see four pieces of information: the team's current record, the current pace the team is on, the record I'm projecting them to finish the season with and a brief explanation.

    The teams aren't presented in alphabetical order, but rather the order in which these projections would leave them within their respective conferences. It's important to note that divisions did not come into play here, just the win-loss records. 

    To see how your favorite team will finish, you'll have to read on. Or just wait for the season to come to a conclusion, but who wants to take that much time? 

     

    Note: All stats, unless otherwise indicated, are current through Jan. 22. 

Eastern Conference No. 15: Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Current Record: 11-32

    Current Pace: 21-61

    Projected Record: 18-64

     

    As good as Kyrie Irving will be for the duration of the 2012-13 season, it's going to be tough for the Cleveland Cavaliers to maintain their current pace. The reason lies in a certain lung. 

    Anderson Varejao developed a blood clot in his lung after knee surgery, one that will knock him out of action for the rest of the year. Without the long-haired personification of energy on the court, especially since he was embroiled in the midst of a career year before his injury, it's going to be tough for the Cavs to win many games. 

    Things will be looking up next season after another year of development for the young players and the addition of one more potential stud via the draft, but this season is not next season. 

Eastern Conference No. 14: Charlotte Bobcats

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    Current Record: 10-31

    Current Pace: 20-62

    Projected Record: 22-60

     

    With Kemba Walker playing like an All-Star and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist developing into a more and more valuable player by the day, things are actually looking up a little bit for the Charlotte Bobcats. 

    The Cats haven't been able to match the torrid pace they started the season on, but three wins in their last seven games—all against potential playoff teams—means that they are starting to trend in the right direction. 

    It's actually possible that Charlotte won't finish in the Eastern Conference cellar. No, April Fool's Day has not come early. 

Eastern Conference No. 13: Washington Wizards

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    Current Record: 9-30

    Current Pace: 19-63

    Projected Record: 23-59

     

    Although the Washington Wizards' current pace is worse than any other team in the league, they'll finish with the third-worst record in the Eastern Conference when the 82-game regular season draws to a conclusion. 

    How is this possible? 

    Well, John Wall is back and already making a big impact in the nation's capitol. In addition to providing a nice scoring boost for the Wizards, Wall opens things up for the rest of his teammates and brings hope along with him. 

    Since the dynamic point guard returned to the lineup, Washington has gone 4-2. While a winning record is an unrealistic goal, a better second half to the season can be achieved.

Eastern Conference No. 12: Orlando Magic

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    Current Record: 14-27

    Current Pace: 28-54

    Projected Record: 26-56

     

    The Orlando Magic are a very enigmatic team. 

    While Nikola Vucevic, Arron Afflalo, Glen Davis and Co. aren't going to look like the squad that started the 2012-13 season with a 12-14 record, they also aren't going to experience another run of futility like their current 10-game losing streak. 

    Something in between is more realistic, although I'd lean a little bit more toward the latter end of the spectrum. 

    A 12-29 finish to the season seems just about right. 

Eastern Conference No. 10 (tie): Toronto Raptors

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    Current Record: 15-26

    Current Pace: 30-52

    Projected Record: 32-50

     

    There's a very slight chance that the Toronto Raptors could make a playoff run, but it would require moving either Jose Calderon, Andrea Bargnani or Kyle Lowry while hoping that a lot of other pieces fall perfectly into place. 

    In other words, it ain't happening. 

    After eight wins in nine games to prove that they weren't actually one of the worst teams in the NBA, the Raptors have cooled off. Not surprisingly, that's coincided with an uptick in the difficulty of the schedule. 

    Toronto is better than its record will indicate, but DeMar DeRozan and the rest of the Raptors aren't quite ready to make a serious run at the postseason, even in a weaker Eastern Conference. 

Eastern Conference No. 10 (tie): Detroit Pistons

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    Current Record: 16-25

    Current Pace: 32-50

    Projected Record: 32-50

     

    The Detroit Pistons are currently stuck in basketball purgatory. 

    There's just not enough established talent on the roster to make it to the postseason, but it's also clear the the Pistons are too good to just be bottom-feeders. Until the front office purges the roster of the veterans who aren't going to contribute in the future, Detroit will be stuck in the worst place to be in the NBA: the low level of the lottery. 

    Greg Monroe is a bona fide stud, and Andre Drummond appears to be one in the making. Maybe Lawrence Frank will actually start to play them in tandem more during the second half of the year. 

Eastern Conference No. 9: Philadelphia 76ers

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    Current Record: 17-25

    Current Pace: 33-49

    Projected Record: 35-47

     

    The Philadelphia 76ers have already ensured that this season is going to be a disappointing one, but that could change a little bit if Andrew Bynum returns to the lineup. Then again, do we know with any uncertainty whether he'll play at all during the 2012-13 season?

    Even if he returns right around the All-Star break, will he actually stay healthy for an extended period of time? 

    Without Bynum, this team isn't going to be able to do much. Even with Jrue Holiday playing out of his mind, the Sixers find themselves well below .500 due to their complete deficit in the paint on each side of the court. 

    I'm guessing that the center eventually returns and makes a positive impact, hence the jump between the projected record and current pace. That said, I'm not going to deny that I'm just guessing here. 

Eastern Conference No. 8: Boston Celtics

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    Current Record: 20-21

    Current Pace: 40-42

    Projected Record: 40-42

     

    What you've seen is what you're going to get from the Boston Celtics. 

    During the second half of the season, the improvements made by the bench—between the progressions to the mean, the addition of Avery Bradley to the lineup and the development of young players—will be just about canceled out by the regressions of the elder statesmen. The NBA season is a grueling one, which doesn't mean good things for veterans like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett

    When the regular season comes to a close, the C's will make the playoffs, but they'll just end up begin sacrificial victims for the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed. 

Eastern Conference No. 7: Atlanta Hawks

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    Current Record: 23-18

    Current Pace: 46-36

    Projected Record: 41-41

     

    The Atlanta Hawks have been slumping during recent weeks, and there's not much pointing toward that changing during the second half of the 2012-13 season. 

    As well as Al Horford and Josh Smith are playing, it's going to take a monumental effort from Jeff Teague and the rest of the backcourt to overcome the loss of Lou Williams, who is now out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL. 

    Williams was one of the few players on the Hawks capable of creating his own shot and drawing contact, so the team will be even more reliant on fundamental team play during the next 41 games. 

    There's too much talent for Atlanta to miss the playoffs, but thoughts of a top seed might be fanciful at this point. 

Eastern Conference No. 6: Milwaukee Bucks

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    Current Record: 22-18

    Current Pace: 45-37

    Projected Record: 42-40

     

    The Milwaukee Bucks could certainly stand for Larry Sanders to continue playing like he wants to win the Most Improved Player award. His defensive contributions—which lie in so much more than just his shot-blocking talents—are invaluable to this squad. 

    Milwaukee does need more offense out of its frontcourt, though. Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings carry way too much of the offensive load for this team to remain well above .500 at the end of the regular season. 

    Fortunately for the Bucks, their division features a few of the bottom-feeders. 

Eastern Conference No. 5: Indiana Pacers

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    Current Record: 26-16

    Current Pace: 51-31

    Projected Record: 51-31

     

    The Indiana Pacers are attempting to analyze the validity of the old adage, "Defense wins championships." 

    Sporting one of the league's worst offenses, the Pacers have used the best defense in the NBA to storm out to a 26-16 record, putting them on pace for a 51-31 season. Even with Danny Granger eventually returning—unless he's dealt—the lack of offense is eventually going to catch up with them. 

    The Pacers are still one of the five elite teams in the Eastern Conference, but only barely. 

Eastern Conference No. 3 (tie): New York Knicks

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    Current Record: 25-14

    Current Pace: 53-29

    Projected Record: 54-28

     

    Carmelo Anthony is bound to regress a little bit as the minutes start piling up during his MVP-like campaign, but that will be offset by the eventual returns to form of Iman Shumpert and Amar'e Stoudemire. 

    The New York Knicks are for real this season, thanks to the scoring prowess of Melo and the presence of Tyson Chandler. Last year's Defensive Player of the Year sets the tone on the less glamorous end of the court, but his ability to finish pick-and-rolls at the rim opens things up for the bevy of three-point shooters on the roster as well. 

    New York will continue to minimize turnovers and maximize triples, resulting in a lot more wins during the 2012-13 campaign. 

Eastern Conference No. 3 (tie): Brooklyn Nets

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    Current Record: 25-16

    Current Pace: 50-32

    Projected Record: 54-28

     

    I know it feels like a cop-out to end up having the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets tied for the third seed in the Eastern Conference, but let me assure you that these records were arrived at independently of each other. 

    The Nets have just been a different team since P.J. Carlesimo took over the reins and gave Deron Williams a little bit more freedom in the offensive system. The post-Avery Johnson era has gotten off to a tremendous start, as Brooklyn has gone 11-2. 

    That's an unsustainable pace, but it's indicative of the way the second half will go for this newly relocated franchise. 

Eastern Conference No. 1 (tie): Chicago Bulls

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    Current Record: 24-16

    Current Pace: 49-33

    Projected Record: 55-27

     

    Sorry to do this to you, but we have another tie at the top of the Eastern Conference. 

    The Chicago Bulls have done a fantastic job with point guards not named Derrick Rose running the show. That 24-16 record has kept them right in the think of things as they await the arrival of their former MVP. 

    Fortunately for Tom Thibodeau's squad, that return might be coming soon. Rose is taking more contact in practice, which is undoubtedly a good sign. With Rose at the helm, things will only trend upward. 

    Chicago is one of the biggest threats to take home the No. 1 seed in the East, even if they're a few games back at the moment. 

Eastern Conference No. 1 (tie): Miami Heat

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    Current Record: 26-12

    Current Pace: 56-26

    Projected Record: 55-27

     

    Saying that the Miami Heat are going to fail to meet their current pace is in no way a testament to an upcoming decline in performance. The Heat are going to continue to roll through the NBA with the occasional lapse, just like they've been doing for the last year-plus. 

    Instead, it's saying that the Heat aren't going to take the next step forward while a few of their foes in the conference will. Derrick Rose, Danny Granger, Iman Shumpert and Avery Bradley, among others, only make the rest of the Eastern Conference stronger, and that could result in an extra loss or two for the defending champions. 

    Still, there's no way LeBron James lets his team fall any further than this. 

Western Conference No. 15: Phoenix Suns

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    Current Record: 13-28

    Current Pace: 26-56

    Projected Record: 24-58

     

    The Phoenix Suns coming in at No. 15 in the Western Conference shows just how much deeper this half of the NBA is at the moment. 

    If the Suns were in the other conference, their projected 24-58 record at the end of the regular season would leave them in 13th. Then again, they'd also have a few more wins by way of a weaker schedule. 

    Phoenix is stuck in the West, though, which means that Luis Scola, Goran Dragic and Co. have to trudge though another difficult half-season. Even with more chemistry developing—although Jermaine O'Neal might have something to say about that—there isn't too much hope in the desert for this season. 

Western Conference No. 14: Sacramento Kings

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    Current Record: 16-26

    Current Pace: 31-51

    Projected Record: 27-55

     

    The Sacramento Kings have a lot of talent on the roster, led by DeMarcus Cousins, but it seems like we're waiting for the implosion to occur. Or at least the latest implosion. 

    Sacramento's current make-up just doesn't work. The players don't form cohesive units and everyone is fighting for spots in the rotation. That type of atmosphere doesn't promote winning basketball.

    The Kings' 5-6 record over their last 11 games has given the illusion of an upcoming turnaround, but let's take a gander at who the victories have come at the expense of: the Cleveland Cavaliers (twice), Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards and Charlotte Bobcats.

    For those of you keeping score at home, those are four of the five worst teams in the Eastern Conference. 

Western Conference No. 12 (tie): New Orleans Hornets

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    Current Record: 14-27

    Current Pace: 28-54

    Projected Record: 35-47

     

    The light at the end of the tunnel is definitely becoming more and more clear for the New Orleans Hornets, but the conference is just too tough for them to make a much bigger stride than this during the 2012-13 season. 

    A playoff berth might be just within reach in 2014, but 2013 will see a different story unfold. 

    Now that Eric Gordon is playing his way back into form at shooting guard, the Hornets are starting to win games. Of course, it also helps that Anthony Davis is living up to the hype and Greivis Vasquez continues to become one of the most underrated players in the NBA. 

    In the 10 games Gordon has played in since his return, the Hornets are 7-3. 

Western Conference No. 12 (tie): Los Angeles Lakers

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    Current Record: 17-24

    Current Pace: 34-48

    Projected Record: 35-47

     

    At what point do the Los Angeles Lakers give up on the Dwight Howard era in the Staples Center? Even though he's not healthy, it's pretty clear that D12 is not happy, so they might as well get something for him before he bolts in free agency. 

    As well as Kobe Bryant is playing, this team just isn't very good. There's no camaraderie, and the chemistry is absolutely invisible if any exists (kind of like the defense). That 17-24 record isn't a fluke. 

    For those angry Lakers fans out there seeing their team at No. 12 in the Western Conference, hey, at least I'm projecting a slight improvement during the second half of the season!

Western Conference No. 11: Portland Trail Blazers

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    Current Record: 20-21

    Current Pace: 40-42

    Projected Record: 36-46

     

    At some point, the Portland Trail Blazers' complete and utter lack of depth is going to catch up with them, resulting in a fall from their current pace. 

    Damian Lillard has been having a rookie season to remember, and LaMarcus Aldridge has re-asserted himself as one of the premier power forwards in the NBA. Couple that with Nicolas Batum, J.J. Hickson and Wesley Matthews and you have quite the formidable starting five. 

    However, things get iffy for the Blazers as soon as one of the five aforementioned players need a break. You can't win too many games when Meyers Leonard, Luke Babbitt and Ronnie Price are your top contributors off the pine. 

Western Conference No. 9 (tie): Houston Rockets

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    Current Record: 22-21

    Current Pace: 42-40

    Projected Record: 37-45

     

    The Houston Rockets started the season off on absolute fire. It was hard to tell because their jerseys are red, but trust me: The fire was there. 

    However, James Harden and his teammates have cooled off significantly since they beat the Los Angeles Lakers to move to 21-14. The Rockets have since gone 1-7, slumping in the worst way possible. 

    Daryl Morey's quest to find a star will continue after the 2012-13 season. It'll have to after his squad misses the playoffs. 

Western Conference No. 9 (tie): Dallas Mavericks

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    Current Record: 18-24

    Current Pace: 35-47

    Projected Record: 37-45

     

    See that happy/intense/celebratory look on Dirk Nowitzki's face? 

    That's because he knows his return to form is going to spur the Dallas Mavericks on to a better record during the second half of the season. However, that expression will fade once he becomes more aware of the fact that the Mavs don't quite have the talent necessary to make the postseason. 

    The Mavs will exceed the pace they set during the first half of the 2012-13 campaign, but they'll fall just short of the playoffs.

Western Conference No. 8: Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Current Record: 17-21

    Current Pace: 37-45

    Projected Record: 38-44

     

    The Minnesota Timberwolves are going to have to make their playoff push without the services of Kevin Love, who's still out for an extended period of time with his re-broken right hand. That's nothing new, as they've been doing so for the vast majority of the 2012-13 season. 

    Injuries have ravaged the Wolves thus far, but things are bound to look up once the injury imp lets off a little bit. That, along with Ricky Rubio's inevitable improvement as he continues to recover from his ACL injury, should be just enough for this team to sneak into the playoffs. 

    And just imagine if Derrick Williams continues his own ascent as he attempts to live up to the massive potential that got him drafted at No. 2 in last year's selection process.

Western Conference No. 7: Utah Jazz

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    Current Record: 22-19

    Current Pace: 44-38

    Projected Record: 44-38

     

    There's really no reason to expect anything different from the Utah Jazz, who continue to toil away and pile up the wins in almost complete obscurity. It's a shame that more casual fans aren't aware of just how good Al Jefferson is, for example. 

    Utah has been steady throughout its first 41 games, and that's not going to change during the second 41. 

    Of course, this is all conditional on the roster staying as is. If Jefferson, Paul Millsap or someone else is moved in favor of some younger talent—especially the younger talent that currently resides on the Jazz bench—then this projection will have to change. 

Western Conference No. 6: Memphis Grizzlies

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    Current Record: 26-14

    Current Pace: 53-29

    Projected Record: 49-33

     

    Losing Marreese Speights (per Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears) will hurt the immediate success of the Memphis Grizzlies, but the extra financial flexibility should allow them to stay under the luxury-tax threshold and retain Rudy Gay, among others. 

    Let's not fool ourselves into thinking that swapping the productive backup big man and a few guards for Jon Leuer was a move made to make this a better basketball team in the present. It was done to retain the stars. 

    Memphis has been falling back to earth after an impressive start to the season convinced all of us that the Grizz were true title contenders. The fall will continue in the second half, relatively, of course. 

    A 23-19 second-half record will still be plenty good enough to lock up the No. 6 spot in the West. 

Western Conference No. 5: Golden State Warriors

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    Current Record: 25-15

    Current Pace: 51-31

    Projected Record: 51-31

     

    In a Western Conference that is only improving, the Golden State Warriors will still stick around, finding themselves in the middle of the pack of playoff squads. 

    Going 25-15 during the first half of the season is impressive enough, but a 26-16 second half might be just enough for Mark Jackson to take home some hardware at the end of the season by winning Coach of the Year. 

    Stephen Curry and David Lee are playing at remarkably high levels, and the depth of this team is improving by the minute. Don't mistake this version of the Dubs as the video-game, defense-optional version of the past. 

    They have some serious staying power. 

Western Conference No. 4: Denver Nuggets

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    Current Record: 25-18

    Current Pace: 48-34

    Projected Record: 52-30

     

    After overcoming a brutal schedule filled with plenty of games at low altitudes (that phrase reads like an oxymoron, doesn't it?) the Denver Nuggets are starting to creep up the Western Conference standings and assert themselves among the powers. 

    Well, the ascent stops at No. 4, as the top three teams in the conference will prove to be rather untouchable. 

    Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari and Andre Iguodala have all been upping their performances in recent days, and a stellar second half is a strong possibility. 

Western Conference No. 3: San Antonio Spurs

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    Current Record: 33-11

    Current Pace: 62-20

    Projected Record: 60-22

     

    The three-headed monster at the top of the NBA begins with the San Antonio Spurs. And, just as is always the case, I could seriously regret not projecting them to be even more successful when the end of the season actually rolls around. 

    So, why won't the Spurs meet the record indicated by their current pace? 

    It's all about the age of their stars. As well as Tim Duncan has been playing, he has to slow down at some point unless he really is a cyborg. Even if he doesn't, Gregg Popovich will likely start limiting his minutes more and more as the season progresses and the playoffs are looming. 

    Between Duncan's second half and Manu Ginobili's current injury, age and overall injury-prone nature, San Antonio is bound to drop a few extra games as the grueling campaign continues. 

    Still, it's not like the Spurs will have any trouble finishing in the top three. 

Western Conference No. 2: Los Angeles Clippers

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    Current Record: 32-11

    Current Pace: 61-21

    Projected Record: 61-21

     

    I have three main worries when it comes to the Los Angeles Clippers. 

    First is the fact that they haven't ever been in this position before. The notoriously unsuccessful franchise isn't used to being front-runners, and the majority of the players on the roster aren't either. Chris Paul, for example, usually struggled to make it to the postseason with the New Orleans Hornets. 

    Sure, there are some players on the roster with tons of experience, but they aren't playing huge roles. 

    The second concern is Vinny Del Negro. I still find it hard to believe that he's an elite coach, and some of his inevitable mistakes might cost the team. 

    Finally, there's the half-court offense. The Clippers sometimes stagnate in their sets and have difficulty generating points, especially when CP3 is on the bench and the frontcourt has to create its own shots. That could loom large down the road. 

    Despite these concerns, I'm still projecting the Clippers to be one of three teams in the NBA to reach 60 wins, giving them the second-best record in the league. That should speak volumes about the talent and depth of the roster. 

Western Conference No. 1: Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Current Record: 33-9

    Current Pace: 64-18

    Projected Record: 64-18

     

    The Oklahoma City Thunder have shown no signs of slowing down. If anything, they could get better as their star players continue to develop more chemistry while the young players on the bench improve. 

    There's just no stopping Kevin Durant on offense right now, either. Over his last five games, the league's leading scorer has averaged 36.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.4 assists per contest on 48.2 percent shooting. He's also knocked down 48.6 percent of his shots from downtown and 57 of his mind-boggling 59 free-throw attempts. 

    Quite frankly, I was tempted to project that the Thunder will exceed their current pace and hit the 65-win milestone. That's something that only 15 teams in NBA history have ever done, though, so I couldn't pull the trigger. 

    Don't be surprised if it happens and the Thunder join that ultra-exclusive fraternity.