Updated 2013 Win-Loss Record Predictions for Every NBA Team, Pre All-Star Break

Adam Fromal@fromal09National NBA Featured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2013

Updated 2013 Win-Loss Record Predictions for Every NBA Team, Pre All-Star Break

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    If the NBA season ended right now, the Los Angeles Lakers would be one of the 14 teams left out of the postseason, marking the first time Kobe Bryant would be able to watch the playoffs from his couch since the Lakers went 34-48 in 2004-05. 

    Fortunately for Kobe and the rest of the players who would be left out, there's still plenty of time left to make a comeback. 

    So, how will the standings look in each conference at the end of the 2012-13 campaign? Better yet, what will each squad's final record look like? 

    On each of the following 30 slides, you'll find four pieces of information: the current record of each team, its current pace, my projected record for the team and a brief description of some aspect of the squad. 

    Keep in mind that divisions were not accounted for in the standings for each conference, and read on. 

Eastern Conference No. 15: Charlotte Bobcats

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    Current Record: 11-36

    Projected Record: 19-63

    Predicted Record: 15-67

    Since the Charlotte Bobcats shocked the world by starting out the 2012-13 season in strong fashion, winning seven of their first 12 games, they've been completely inept. You know, like the Bobcats we got used to during the 2011-12 campaign. 

    After that high point of the season, despite Kemba Walker's dramatic improvement, the Bobcats have gone just 4-31. 

    There isn't much of a reason to hope for a turnaround from the league's worst team, so expect a record that matches its last 35 games during the final 35 contests of the season. 

Eastern Conference No. 14: Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Current Record: 14-34

    Projected Record: 24-58

    Predicted Record: 21-61

    As good as Kyrie Irving is—and he's absolutely sensational on the offensive end of the court—the Cleveland Cavaliers just aren't a quality basketball team. 

    Irving has quickly established himself as one of basketball's must-watch spectacles with his scoring prowess, but the Cavs aren't going to win games unless he absolutely explodes in the scoring column. 

    Cleveland has won five of its last eight games, and the formerly masked floor general averaged 34.6 points in those victories. It's hard to imagine that he can keep up that torrid pace, no matter how talented he may be. 

    Without Anderson Varejao in the lineup, there still isn't much hope for the rest of the 2012-13 season. 

Eastern Conference No. 13: Orlando Magic

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    Current Record: 14-34

    Projected Record: 24-58

    Predicted Record: 22-60

    Even with Maurice Harkless starting to establish himself and Nikola Vucevic continuing to assert himself as an up-and-coming center, the Orlando Magic are embroiled in another losing streak. 

    Since Vucevic's 16 points and 15 rebounds led the Magic to a 97-86 victory over the Indiana Pacers, Orlando has gone 10 games without a single win. It's already the team's second 10-game losing skid of the 2012-13 season. 

    Based on how things are going, it might not be the last one.

Eastern Conference No. 12: Washington Wizards

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    Current Record: 12-35

    Projected Record: 21-61

    Predicted Record: 25-57

    It didn't take long for John Wall to prove that he can be a difference-maker for the Washington Wizards. While the talented and dynamic point guard won't lead his team within sniffing distance of the postseason, he's still going to create quite a bit of separation between the Wizards and the worst team in the NBA. 

    Since Wall returned to the lineup, Washington has gone 7-7. For a team with a 12-35 record, that's a pretty remarkable turnaround. 

    Don't expect the Wizards to keep up their .500 pace, but they're going to prey on the Association's bottom-feeders for the remainder of the season. 

Eastern Conference No. 11: Toronto Raptors

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    Current Record: 17-31

    Projected Record: 29-53

    Predicted Record: 27-55

    Kyle Lowry is going to start playing a much more prominent role in the Toronto Raptors offense now that Jose Calderon is in the United States. Between the point guard and the newly-acquired Rudy Gay, Toronto fans are going to have a lot of fun watching their new-look team. 

    Since Gay joined the squad, the Raptors have defeated the Los Angeles Clippers and fallen to the Miami Heat, but since Chris Paul couldn't match up against Lowry, we can't read too much into that. 

    Until chemistry is established following the biggest trade of the season (thus far), the Raptors are going to struggle to move up in the Eastern Conference standings. 

Eastern Conference No. 10: Detroit Pistons

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    Current Record: 18-31

    Projected Record: 30-52

    Predicted Record: 34-48

    It took eight games for the Detroit Pistons to record their first victory of the 2012-13 season, but they've been significantly better since breaking the seal. If you only look at Game 9 through the present, the Pistons would be 18-23. 

    That looks a whole lot better than the current 18-31 mark Detroit is currently saddled with, and it's also more emblematic of how the rest of the year will progress. 

    Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond are only going to get better, and acquiring Jose Calderon—which allows Brandon Knight to play some shooting guard—should help the team overcome the loss of Tayshaun Prince. 

    Drummond in particular has been dominant when he's on the court. He's made me, and everyone else who expected him to flame out quickly during his rookie season, look rather foolish. 

Eastern Conference No. 9: Philadelphia 76ers

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    Current Record: 21-26

    Projected Record: 37-45

    Predicted Record: 37-45

    We still don't have any idea when Andrew Bynum will return/debut for the Philadelphia 76ers. After Jason Wolf of USA Today reported that Bynum's knee injections haven't been all that effective, any hope of a return in the near future seems misplaced. 

    Without Bynum, the Sixers have a gaping void in the middle on both ends of the court. There just isn't much of an interior presence. 

    Jrue Holiday has been absolutely sensational for Philly, but he can't completely carry the team, and that's something he's being tasked with far too often. He's a deserving All-Star and quickly becoming one of the top point guards in the NBA, but he's not ready to play like a true MVP yet. 

Eastern Conference No. 8: Boston Celtics

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    Current Record: 24-23

    Projected Record: 42-40

    Predicted Record: 39-43

    Is the Ewing Theory in play for the Boston Celtics right now? Probably not.

    A more likely explanation is that the rest of the NBA has yet to get a decent grasp for how the Boston Celtics are going to go to work without Rajon Rondo in the lineup. 

    Boston is 4-0 since Rondo tore his ACL, but those wins have come in an emotionally-charged victory over the Miami Heat (impressive, but anything can happen in a heated rivalry matchup), easy games against the Orlando Magic and Sacramento Kings (not impressive) and a matchup against the Chris Paul-less Los Angeles Clippers (quickly becoming less impressive). 

    The C's will be exposed as a lottery team once the schedule gets more difficult. They'll still squeak into the postseason, but only because the Eastern Conference is ridiculously weak after you get past the top seven teams. 

    Losing Jared Sullinger doesn't help either. 

Eastern Conference No. 7: Milwaukee Bucks

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    Current Record: 25-22

    Projected Record: 44-38

    Predicted Record: 42-40

    I'm not a believer in the Milwaukee Bucks, but they'll still manage to come down with the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference because there's just no one that can challenge them. 

    Unless Monta Ellis decides that he only wants to attempt 360-layups—which might actually have a better chance of happening than you're currently thinking—the Bucks are safe in the postseason race.

    As long as Larry Sanders is swatting shots and Brandon Jennings is flat-out balling, Milwaukee can hold off the rest of the contenders for the final two playoff spots. 

    Then again, if Samuel Dalembert decides he's the best player in the NBA and starts going 17-of-21 from the field on a nightly basis, I'll just give up on trying to predict things. 

Eastern Conference No. 6: Atlanta Hawks

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    Current Record: 26-21

    Projected Record: 45-37

    Predicted Record: 45-37

    The Atlanta Hawks haven't lost any games that look too embarrassing recently. Their past five losses came at the hands of the Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, San Antonio Spurs and Brooklyn Nets.

    Losing Lou Williams has hurt an already weak Atlanta offense, but the rest of the starting lineup has started to pick up the slack. Jeff Teague in particular has been breaking out, averaging 19.8 points and 6.4 assists per game on 51.7 percent shooting from the field over his last five contests.

    Atlanta won't be able to move up in the standings from its current spot at No. 6, but it also won't fall below seventh in a worst-case scenario.  

Eastern Conference No. 5: Brooklyn Nets

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    Current Record: 28-20

    Projected Record: 48-34

    Predicted Record: 51-31

    The Brooklyn Nets have cooled off since the blazing start they got off to under P.J. Carlesimo, but it's not like they've lost too much of their heat. 

    Under Carlesimo, the team is 14-5, and Deron Williams has begun to re-establish himself as one of the league's elite point guards. He's finally starting to find his shot again, which should be scary for the teams jockeying for position at the top of the East. 

    As long as Brook Lopez can stay healthy and effective on both ends of the court, these Nets will remain one of the better teams in the conference. 

Eastern Conference No. 4: Chicago Bulls

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    Current Record: 29-19

    Projected Record: 50-32

    Predicted Record: 52-30

    Jimmy Butler's breakout has given Tom Thibodeau yet another toy to play with. As successful as the head coach had been with one less weapon to work with, this might be unfair. 

    Add in Derrick Rose, assuming the former MVP gets healthy in the near future, and you could be looking at the best team in the Eastern Conference. 

    The problem is that we still don't know exactly when Rose will return or how effective he'll be when he first steps onto the court during a game situation. 

    One thing is clear, though. This is not the lost season many expected going into the 2012-13 campaign. 

Eastern Conference No. 3: Indiana Pacers

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    Current Record: 30-19

    Projected Record: 50-32

    Predicted Record: 53-29

    The Indiana Pacers are only going to get better as the season progresses.

    Paul George continues to improve with each second on the court—seriously, who throws through-the-legs passes between two defenders on a fast break?—and Danny Granger is eventually going to return and help out the lackluster offense. 

    It's time to start considering the Pacers a legitimate title contender. 

Eastern Conference No. 2: New York Knicks

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    Current Record: 31-15

    Projected Record: 55-27

    Predicted Record: 56-26

    Carmelo Anthony is clearly the New York Knicks' most valuable player on offense, and the team's leading candidate for the actual MVP award. Tyson Chandler is obviously the guy holding down the fort on defense. 

    However, it's been Raymond Felton who has kept the Knicks among the ranks of the elite in recent games. New York is 5-1 since the point guard returned to the lineup, and Felton has averaged 8.8 assists per game during the victories. 

    He's been able to spread the ball around to the Knicks' host of shooters, and that's made the offense all the more deadly. 

Eastern Conference No. 1: Miami Heat

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    Current Record: 31-14

    Projected Record: 56-26

    Predicted Record: 60-22

    Every time I watch the Miami Heat, I get this feeling that they aren't taking the regular season all that seriously. They know that the goal isn't just to earn the No. 1 seed for the postseason, but also to be the last team standing after the final game of the playoffs. 

    It's ridiculous that LeBron James can score over 30 points without convincing you that he's trying, but that's exactly what's been happening lately. And the terrifying part is that Miami still sits atop the standings despite this indifference. 

    As the playoffs start looming, the effort level is going to go up a few notches, and so too will the record. 

    This is still the best team in the East. 

Western Conference No. 15: Phoenix Suns

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    Current Record: 17-32

    Projected Record: 28-54

    Predicted Record: 26-56

    The Phoenix Suns are destined to finish at the bottom of the standings in the NBA's tougher conference until they blow things up and fully commit to the rebuilding process. 

    How many players would you actually be interested in building around for the future if you were in charge of the Suns? 

    I'm not a fan of Kendall Marshall's game, but we'll include him just to give Phoenix something to cheer for. Add in Goran Dragic, Marcin Gortat, Jared Dudley and Markieff Morris, and the total moves to five players. You might consider Luis Scola, but that's about it. 

    Major overhauls are needed in the desert. 

Western Conference No. 14: Sacramento Kings

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    Current Record: 17-33

    Projected Record: 28-54

    Predicted Record: 28-54

    I can't be the only one just waiting for an explosion to occur when it comes to the Sacramento Kings. 

    Will it come from DeMarcus Cousins, the mercurial center with loads of talent who seems to get suspended every time you turn away for a second? Will the depth of the backcourt and the constant fight for minutes promote too much internal strife? 

    Despite all the talent on the Kings roster, things just haven't worked out. Don't expect that to change during the second half of the 2012-13 campaign unless Sacramento decides to partake in the festivities associated with the trading deadline.

Western Conference No. 13: New Orleans Hornets

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    Current Record: 15-33

    Projected Record: 26-56

    Predicted Record: 32-50

    The New Orleans Hornets have been a different team since Eric Gordon returned from his knee injury and started contributing. 

    Without the stud shooting guard in the lineup, the future Pelicans had gone just 7-26. But with Gordon suiting up, New Orleans is a much more respectable 8-7. 

    Between the continued developments of Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers and Greivis Vasquez, the steady perimeter shooting of Ryan Anderson, the upcoming name change and Gordon's presence in the rotation, there's plenty of reason for optimism in Louisiana. 

    By the end of the 2012-13 season, the Hornets should be able to fly right out of the No. 15 spot, where they've spent most of the year. 

Western Conference No. 12: Dallas Mavericks

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    Current Record: 20-28

    Projected Record: 34-48

    Predicted Record: 36-46

    Dirk Nowitzki clearly hasn't been living up to the standards he's set for himself in the past, and it's shown in the Dallas Mavericks' record. The team just hasn't experienced the turnaround it hoped for when the German big man returned to the lineup. 

    With Dirk suiting up, Dallas is just 7-12. If you prorate that to an 82-game season, you'd see that the Dirk-fueled Mavericks would be projected to finish at 30-52, which is a worse mark than the Mavs earned when O.J. Mayo was the lone stud in the lineup. 

    Don't forget that Nowitzki is 34 years old and has a lot of wear and tear on his tires. There's no guarantee that he will start playing like the All-Star of old. 

Western Conference No. 11: Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Current Record: 18-27

    Projected Record: 33-49

    Predicted Record: 37-45

    There's being ravaged by injuries, and then there's whatever tragedy beset the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

    Once viewed as a serious playoff contender, the Wolves are slipping further and further down in the Western Conference standings as marquee players continue to miss games. 

    Lost in the excuses (most of which are valid) is that Ricky Rubio just hasn't been all that impressive. His flashiness is there, as are the mirage-creating highlights, but the overall game isn't. 

    Much as I want him to succeed, the second-year point guard is shooting only 32.1 percent from the field and is recording 2.6 turnovers in just 24.1 minutes per game. That's not a recipe for success, no matter how good your passing may be. 

    Kevin Love's eventual return will help this team out tremendously, but the window has shut on any dreams of the playoffs. 

Western Conference No. 10: Los Angeles Lakers

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    Current Record: 23-26

    Projected Record: 38-44

    Predicted Record: 41-41

    Ah, what to make of the Los Angeles Lakers? 

    Does anyone know if Dwight Howard is going to be fully healthy, or even healthy enough to play the majority of the remaining games? 

    Do we have any clue whether Steve Nash can play elite basketball in this system? 

    Is Pau Gasol going to make more of a positive or negative impact for the Lakers? 

    Can Kobe Bryant really accept a pass-first role, even if it's one that promotes winning more than his typical shoot-first, think-second strategy? 

    The 2012-13 season has done nothing but produce more purple-and-gold-tinted questions, and there haven't been many answers to be found. 

    L.A. has won six of its past seven games, but the competition has been rather weak and the team still sits well below .500. Things appear to be getting better, but we've been down this road before. 

    The Lakers will improve, but it won't be by enough to make the playoffs. Their new predicted record requires them to go 18-15 from this point forward, and it's hard to imagine Mike D'Antoni coaching them to a better mark.  

Western Conference No. 9: Portland Trail Blazers

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    Current Record: 25-23

    Projected Record: 43-39

    Predicted Record: 45-37

    The Portland Trail Blazers will go as far as rookie point guard Damian Lillard can take them. 

    At this point, we know what to expect from the rest of the team. The bench is just horrid, and the starters are quite good. LaMarcus Aldridge will at least challenge for a double-double, J.J. Hickson will clean the glass, Wesley Matthews will drain threes and Nicolas Batum will somehow contribute positively. 

    It's a dangerous thing to rely on a rookie down the stretch, especially one who's played such big minutes throughout the first half of the season. 

    I love Lillard's game and expect him to develop into a bona fide star, but I'm not ready to bet on him pushing his squad into the postseason quite yet. There are just too many good teams jockeying for the final playoff spots. 

Western Conference No. 7(tie): Houston Rockets

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    Current Record: 27-23

    Projected Record: 44-38

    Predicted Record: 47-35

    It's easy to overreact to a 140-point outing against the Golden State Warriors, but that's not what's happening here. 

    The Houston Rockets are simply bound to improve during the second half of the season for three reasons:

    First, James Harden is still suiting up for them. Between his shooting abilities and knack for drawing contact, he's developed into one of the league's premier offensive players. The bearded shooting guard has become a true franchise player. 

    Houston is also a team filled with new players. No one had played together before the 2012-13 season, so the chemistry was always bound to improve as the season progressed. 

    And speaking of improving, the Rockets' age dictates that the best is yet to come. Omer Asik is the oldest starter, and he's only 26. The rest of the starting five is 24 or younger, and it's not like the bench has been affected too much by Father Time. 

    Houston has gone 5-1 in its past six games, and that's a sign of things to come.

Western Conference No. 7(tie): Utah Jazz

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    Current Record: 27-22

    Projected Record: 45-37

    Predicted Record: 47-35

    Despite the fact that the Utah Jazz are 12-5 since the new year began, absolutely no one talks about them. 

    Here's a fun challenge: Name seven members of the Utah Jazz.

    Cue the Jeopardytheme song as we wait for everyone to think. 

    Assuming you aren't a hardcore basketball fan, major props if you managed to do it. I'm guessing Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Gordon Hayward, Mo Williams, Marvin Williams, Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors were the seven that came to mind. 

    It's unbelievable how shrouded in mystery this Utah team is to some NBA fans. It just doesn't get the hype it deserves. 

    You better familiarize yourself with these Jazz, though, because they're here to stay. 

Western Conference No. 5(tie): Memphis Grizzlies

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    Current Record: 30-17

    Projected Record: 52-30

    Predicted Record: 50-32

    The Memphis Grizzlies are just 1-2 since trading away Rudy Gay to the Toronto Raptors, but that's the sort of thing that tends to happen when you play the Oklahoma City Thunder with a patchwork roster and then struggle to immediately replace the team's top scorer. 

    Memphis will rebound and become better than before, but it will take a bit of time to adjust. 

    This shouldn't be a newsflash for anyone who's paid attention to the 2012-13 season, but Gay hasn't been very good offensively. Replacing him will not be that difficult, especially since Marc Gasol is fully capable of taking on a bigger offensive burden. 

    While the Grizzlies will fall off pace a bit during the closing portion of the regular season, they'll be a force to be reckoned with when the postseason rolls around. 

Western Conference No. 5(tie): Golden State Warriors

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    Current Record: 30-18

    Projected Record: 51-31

    Predicted Record: 50-32

    Even though the Golden State Warriors allowed the Houston Rockets to put up 140 points on them, this is still a solid defensive squad with the capability to explode on the other end of the court at any moment.

    It's a shame that one game will taint what has otherwise been a solid defensive season, but that's what happens when you allow an NBA-record-tying 23 three-pointers. 

    I'm a little worried that the Dubs might regress a bit with Andrew Bogut in the lineup. Even with his defensive skills, Bogut isn't a player who fits into the Golden State offensive system, and he could mess with the chemistry of the team. 

    David Lee, Stephen Curry and Co. were doing just fine on their own. 

    The Warriors are 3-1 since the Australian big man returned, so the sample size is still too small to know what will happen with any degree of certainty. 

Western Conference No. 4: Denver Nuggets

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    Current Record: 31-18

    Projected Record: 52-30

    Predicted Record: 56-26

    Here come the Denver Nuggets, much like us stat geeks expected before the start of the 2012-13 campaign. Since the new year began, George Karl's squad has gone 14-3 and is currently on a seven-game streak of unblemished play. 

    Virtually everyone on the roster has been picking up his game lately, and it's resulted in quite a bit of success. 

    Danilo Gallinari in particular has emerged, and he's quickly asserting his name among the rest of the elite small forwards in the NBA.

    During January, Gallo averaged 19.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.8 blocks and 0.8 steals per game while shooting 46.9 percent from the field, 43.2 percent from downtown and 78.2 percent from the charity stripe. 

    It remains to be seen whether he can keep up that pace during February and beyond, but he's clearly making a name for himself, as is the entirety of this Nuggets squad. 

Western Conference No. 3: Los Angeles Clippers

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    Current Record: 34-16

    Projected Record: 56-26

    Predicted Record: 58-24

    ESPN's Arash Markazi reports that both Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups could be back in action by the end of the week, and that's great news for the Los Angeles Clippers. 

    If you were ever in doubt of just how good and valuable CP3 was to his team, you shouldn't be anymore. While the best point guard in the league—and the floor general with the highest career PER of all time—was out, L.A. could only muster up a 5-6 record. Eric Bledsoe is good, but he's not on Paul's level. 

    This is still a deep and talented team, but CP3 is the man that makes everything run smoothly. His absence, even more so than his play, should prove that only Kevin Durant and LeBron James deserve to be ahead of him in the MVP race. 

Western Conference No. 2: Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Current Record: 36-12

    Projected Record: 62-20

    Predicted Record: 62-20

    The Oklahoma City Thunder haven't been consistently dominant since opening the season with a ridiculous 20-4 mark, but they aren't anything less than a true powerhouse in the Western Conference. 

    Kevin Durant continues to chase after that über-exclusive invitation into the 50/40/90 club, something he'd successfully gain entry into if the season ended today. He's been nothing short of sensational on both ends of the court, and he's developing into more of a complete player by the day. 

    The same can be said about Russell Westbrook, whose passing skills have grown exponentially even as he falls into the unfortunate shot-jacking habit. 

    As long as those two are on the roster, OKC will win games. The Thunder only get more dangerous because the two superstars are surrounded by Serge Ibaka, Kevin Martin and a number of other talented players. 

Western Conference No. 1: San Antonio Spurs

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    Current Record: 38-11

    Projected Record: 64-18

    Predicted Record: 65-17

    If the San Antonio Spurs were the Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers or Los Angeles Lakers, we'd be hearing far more about their current 10-game winning streak. 

    However, because we're dealing with Gregg Popovich's perennially overlooked squad, they're laboring away in relative obscurity. 

    Tony Parker has been playing out of his mind and deserves to be in the MVP race at this point. His level of play while Tim Duncan has dealt with various ailments has been higher than it's been at any point in his potential Hall of Fame career. 

    And think about that last sentence again. Duncan has been out with injuries, and the Spurs are still on a double-digit streak. He'll be back soon enough, as he thankfully avoided a serious injury when he tweaked his knee. 

    The winning streak is bound to come to a close soon, as each of San Antonio's next nine games are on the road, but they'll remain at the top of the West for the rest of the season.