Today, ESPN the Magazine released their power rankings for this upcoming NBA season. ESPN projected that the Golden State Warriors would finish the 2014-15 season with the fourth overall seed in the Western Conference and a 51-31 overall record.
With this projection, that would mean that the Warriors would earn home court advantage in the first round of the NBA Playoffs and that they would face the fifth seed in the Western Conference, who, according to these ESPN power rankings, would be the Portland Trail Blazers.
ESPN’s win projection of 51 for the Warriors has to do with the hiring of Steve Kerr, the new offense that Kerr will implement, the addition of Shaun Livingston, Leandro Barbosa, and Brandon Rush, and their general lineup flexibility.
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Within these power rankings, ESPN also provided several other interesting projections for NBA teams this upcoming season.
For example, they included that Las Vegas’ win projection for the Warriors was 51.5, which is very similar to their own projection.
Another example is that ESPN the Magazine also compared projected win results with two systems, real plus-minus and SCHOENE. The real plus-minus projected about 10 or more wins for the Warriors than SCHOENE did.
ESPN experts explained this discrepancy with the Warriors’ health issues and how important health is to their upcoming season. They also explained that SCHOENE’s low projection could be explained by the prediction that there will be a serious drop in David Lee‘s production this season.
Lastly, another measure that ESPN the Magazine included was their projection that with an “average defense,” the Warriors would only finish with 44 wins this upcoming season.
ESPN predicts that the Warriors will have the fifth best defense in the NBA. The strongest part of their defense, they claim, is Bogut’s inside presence, and the weakest part is their defending of left-corner threes (opponents shot 41.1 percent from three in that spot last season).
Given this data, how many wins do you think the Warriors will finish with this season and what seed do you think they will finish with? Let us know in the comment section below!