Calculating Every NBA Team's Chances of Winning the Title in the Next Five Years

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Calculating Every NBA Team's Chances of Winning the Title in the Next Five Years
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

In calculating the chance of every team to win the NBA title over the next five years, a lot needs to be taken into consideration. Where a team is now, where they are in the building process and how well they are coached and managed all need to be weighed.

Here is how the rankings were determined. 

Playoff Probabilities Report

Basketball-Reference has a “Playoff Probability Report” which uses objective statistical analysis to determine the percentage chance each team has of winning the title. The percentage listed for each team, as of April 7, was used as a starting point.  That accounts for this season, and totals to a 100 percent chance of winning (because there is one championship). 

For the following four years, I ranked the teams in each of the following categories and scored them so that the top team received a score of 30, the second-best team received a 29 and so on. I then added those totals together, and weighted them to come up with another 400 percent, i.e. the other four championships. 

I then added the two percentages together, coming up with a 500 percent chance of winning the five titles. Each team's respective score is listed as the "Total Percent Chance of Winning" which is listed after the team name in the slide title as well as on the slide.

Here are all the matters considered.  

Healthy Roster

Many teams, such as the Minnesota Timberwolves, Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics are experiencing major injury issues.  As a result, their current record and their chance of winning are lower than their talent suggests. This is a ranking based on how the rosters would look if every player in the NBA were healthy. 


Roster Outlook

The next thing that was taken into account was the five-year roster outlook. If teams had critical players locked up into long-term deals, they scored high. If they had their roster emptying out next year, or had bad contracts, they scored low. 


Star Power

It’s generally considered NBA gospel that you need stars to win in the NBA. Teams were raked according to how they stacked up in terms of star power. Teams having multiple superstars in their prime were scored high. Teams without superstars were scored low. It was also taken into account that some players will "fade out" while some will also grow into superstars. 


Salary Management

How much salary flexibility a team has was also taken into consideration. Teams that have flexibility this year were given a higher score. Teams with little to no flexibility over the next five years were given the lowest scores. Big, long-term, low-yield contracts were also taken into account, as were the teams who still have their amnesty to use. A third factor involved here was whether emerging stars were restricted or unrestricted free agents. 



Mostly the assets considered here are draft choices. Teams that are worse right now were scored higher, good teams were scored lower. However also there are teams that owe picks and teams that are owed picks. Those were factored in as well. Finally, draft-and-stash players (players whose draft rights teams own, but who are playing in another league) were also considered.



Having money to sign free agents and having great draft picks doesn’t guarantee getting great free agents, or drafting great players. Management makes a huge difference, as does coaching. Even if you get the right players, if you don’t have the right coach, it won’t win you a title (see the Los Angeles Lakers). Other teams, with inferior rosters, have competed above their talent because of coaching. Both management and coaching were considered in scoring.



This was not a score or ranking but rather a synthesis of the information. It is the pivotal thing that will make the team's chance of winning a title go up or down. 

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