NBA Rankings: How Every Team Compared to Their Regular-Season Expectations

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NBA Rankings: How Every Team Compared to Their Regular-Season Expectations
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

At the beginning of every season, thousands of well-respected NBA analysts all make predictions about what the standings will be like at the end of the regular season. Few of them are ever the exact same. I'd be surprised if any of them were ever exactly correct.

It's almost impossible to come up with a general consensus about any one team's predictions, but I will try. For some teams, it's not that hard. But for some teams, the predictions can span as wide as 20 or more wins.

Probably the most controversial one this season was the Miami Heat. Jeff Van Gundy predicted that they'd set a new record for wins. Others said they might not win 50 games. They ended up being somewhere in the middle. 

Some predictions are blown away by injury. For example, some people, including me, expected the Houston Rockets to be an elite team. They were devastated by Yao Ming's season-ender, and several smaller ones before the All-Star break. By the time they got healthy, besides Yao Ming, it was almost too late to make a stand in the hotly contested Western Conference. So the fact that they finished above .500 is in my eyes a huge accomplishment. 

Other teams fall apart because of people problems, such as the Utah Jazz. And some teams with a lot of talent fail for no apparent reason (see Milwaukee Bucks). Some teams do much better than expected, and people can't always explain why, like the Philadelphia 76ers.

I'm going to list how each team did compared to the general expectations of sports voices, from best to worst, and include some reasons why things might've turned out how they did. The team making the playoffs or not will not make a difference in my rankings, which don't take into account injuries and situational trades. The list is based solely on numerical differences in the "wins" column.

If two teams tie for the difference of wins to expected wins, tiebreakers will include injuries, playoff positions, and impact on the future. I'll start with the most successful teams, and end with the least. 

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