Spurs: Advanced metric shows more wins than most expect

Devin Vassell
Devin Vassell / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages

At least one metric is giving the San Antonio Spurs a fighting chance to compete for a play-in tournament spot in the Western Conference. It's hard to blame the major media outlets for not having much faith in this team. After all, they don't have a past All-Star on the roster. Still, some are projecting the Spurs to finish as low as 13th in the West.

The website FiveThirtyEight, which specializes in complicated formulas and statistics to help them predict everything from sports standings to the presidential election, recently released their predictions for the upcoming NBA season.

The results weren't too surprising, but San Antonio's projected win-loss record was slightly higher than the general public seems to believe.

FiveThirtyEight's well-known metric for the modern NBA, known as RAPTOR, projects the San Antonio Spurs to finish with a record of 36-46. While that would still put the Spurs outside of the playoff picture, it's a decent jump from the over/under of 28.5 wins Las Vegas had them at in August.

"The Spurs and Kings sit just behind the Warriors, with minimal but not [trivial] postseason odds," they say in their projections column. The model itself gives the Spurs a 21% chance of making the playoffs.

Notably, the model also predicts the Los Angeles Lakers will only have a 48% chance to make the playoffs and will end their season barely below .500 at 42-40. The reason for that dramatic drop? Mostly the acquisitions of Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony.

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Obviously, no one knows how the season will play out for this team, especially with how much is unknown about these young players. Still, it's nice to see a somewhat reliable metric in the past envision a world where the Spurs are not terrible this year.