News, Analysis & UpdatesApril 22, 2005


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Playoff Predictions, Roto Style

By Arlo Vander

The regular season is over, and that means just one thing: playoff predictions! Everywhere you turn, pundits are comparing and contrasting the teams’ strengths and weaknesses. Can the Nets’ energetic style of play beat the Heat? Can Houston’s bench hang with Dallas’ reserves? Will coaching be the difference when the Celtics meet the Pacers?

Naturally, we couldn’t resist joining the prediction fray, but just for fun, we thought we’d add a little twist and look at the postseason from a fantasy angle. What if matchups were decided as they are in fantasy hoops, with rotisserie scoring determining the winners?

Using the teams’ regular-season stats, we determined the winner of each series the same way that fantasy matchups are decided: in a head-to-head duel based on the nine standard roto categories. Which team would take home the roto crown? Read on…

 
FIRST ROUND

Miami vs. New Jersey

Quite a few analysts felt that if any team in the East could give the Heat trouble, it would be the reenergized Nets…

 PtsRebAstStlTOBlk3PtFG%FT%
MIA101.643.021.86.413.35.85.848.667.2
NJ91.439.521.67.913.43.85.342.976.3

… But in the roto matchup, Jason Kidd and Vince Carter are no match for Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade. Miami makes this a quick series and despite punting a category (free throw percentage, courtesy of Mr. O’Neal), this squad looks like the team to beat in the East.

Result: Heat in 5

Detroit vs. Philadelphia

Just as Carter jumpstarted the Nets, the addition of Chris Webber was supposed to light a fire under the Sixers. That plan didn’t work out quite as well as expected, however, and Philadelphia enters this series a heavy underdog after limping (quite literally, in Webber’s case) into the postseason…

 PtsRebAstStlTOBlk3PtFG%FT%
DET93.343.421.87.013.16.14.444.473.9
PHI99.142.020.99.215.23.96.243.778.9

… Nonetheless, the 76ers put up a strong fight in this roto duel, taking this series the distance. Yet in the end, Detroit’s depth prevails over Philadelphia’s big two, and the Pistons win a squeaker. Is this a sign that the defending champions might be vulnerable?

Result: Pistons in 7

Boston vs. Indiana

On paper, this pairing looks like it could turn into quite a battle, with Reggie Miller looking for one more taste of playoff glory against a Celtics team featuring a host of up-and-comers…

 PtsRebAstStlTOBlk3PtFG%FT%
BOS101.340.822.18.115.45.25.346.876.4
IND93.040.118.27.513.44.46.643.379.2

… Unfortunately for the Pacers, it’s Boston’s young legs that run away with this series. Think this one would have turned out differently if Ron Artest had been able to add his stats for the entire season?

Result: Celtics in 6

Chicago vs. Washington

Another series that looks evenly matched, this one is projected to go the full seven by many experts…

 PtsRebAstStlTOBlk3PtFG%FT%
CHI94.543.821.37.016.14.56.243.275.0
WAS100.542.819.18.713.84.26.343.772.5

… And the roto analysis agrees, as Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison and Larry Hughes lead the Wizards over the top … barely.

Result: Wizards in 7

Phoenix vs. Memphis

Nobody is giving the Grizzlies much of a chance against the powerful Suns, owners of the best regular season record in the NBA. Can the team that couldn’t clinch pull off a huge upset against Amare Stoudemire, Shawn Marion and Steve Nash…?

 PtsRebAstStlTOBlk3PtFG%FT%
PHO110.444.123.57.013.45.59.747.874.8
MEM93.439.020.98.514.05.86.544.775.4

… Not if the roto matchup is any indication: the Suns cruise through to the second round without breaking a sweat.

Result: Suns in 6

San Antonio vs. Denver

The Nuggets might just be the hottest team in the NBA right now, but Tim Duncan and the Spurs are looking to put a swift end to Denver’s playoff hopes. This could be one of the opening round’s most interesting series, and it wouldn’t come as a surprise if this one went all the way down to the wire…

 PtsRebAstStlTOBlk3PtFG%FT%
SA96.242.421.67.513.06.66.245.372.4
DEN99.542.023.99.214.46.03.945.976.3

… And that’s exactly what the roto numbers predict: the hungry Nuggets pull off an upset in seven, but this matchup could truly go either way.

Result: Nuggets in 7

Seattle vs. Sacramento

The Sonics lost eight of their last ten regular season games – were they saving their strength for the postseason, or has Seattle run out of steam…?

 PtsRebAstStlTOBlk3PtFG%FT%
SEA98.940.918.16.712.74.18.144.479.0
SAC103.742.424.58.212.73.96.445.978.7

… In the fantasy matchup, at least, the Webber-less Kings send Ray Allen’s Sonics to an early summer vacation.

Result: Kings in 6

Dallas vs. Houston

The battle of Texas is another pairing that has the potential to turn into a nail-biter that will keep fans glued to their seats…

 PtsRebAstStlTOBlk3PtFG%FT%
DAL102.542.919.68.612.85.65.745.778.9
HOU95.142.421.16.913.14.66.744.378.1

… But in the world of roto, this one is no contest. Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming simply can’t keep up with Dirk Nowitzki and the boys from Dallas.

Result: Mavericks in 5

 
SECOND ROUND

Miami vs. Washington

After squeaking past Chicago, can the Wizards make it two in a row and derail Miami’s march to the finals? Doesn’t seem likely, does it…?

 PtsRebAstStlTOBlk3PtFG%FT%
MIA101.643.021.86.413.35.85.848.667.2
WAS100.542.819.18.713.84.26.343.772.5

…No indeed. The Wizards make things a little more interesting than the Nets, but in the end, they’re no match for the powerhouse Heat.

Result: Heat in 6

Detroit vs. Boston

With Richard Hamilton, Chauncey Billups, Tayshaun Prince and the Wallaces leading the way, this matchup looks like smooth sailing for the defending champs…

 PtsRebAstStlTOBlk3PtFG%FT%
DET93.343.421.87.013.16.14.444.473.9
BOS101.340.822.18.115.45.25.346.876.4

…But the upstart Celtics put on their Cinderella slippers and stun the Pistons in a huge upset. Next stop for Gang Green: the Eastern Conference finals and a date with Miami.

Result: Celtics in 6

Phoenix vs. Dallas

Steve Nash leads the high-flying Suns against his former team in a series that promises to be an intense, hard-fought battle with plenty of highlight-reel footage…

 PtsRebAstStlTOBlk3PtFG%FT%
PHO110.444.123.57.013.45.59.747.874.8
DAL102.542.919.68.612.85.65.745.778.9

…And this one turns out to be as evenly matched as can be, with the Suns coming out on top by the slimmest of margins. If these two teams truly do meet in the second round, tune in and watch the fireworks!

Result: Suns in 7

Sacramento vs. Denver

Both Sacramento and Denver pulled off stunning upsets in the opening round…

 PtsRebAstStlTOBlk3PtFG%FT%
SAC103.742.424.58.212.73.96.445.978.7
DEN99.542.023.99.214.46.03.945.976.3

…But Carmelo Anthony and the Nuggets can’t keep the momentum going as the Kings dominate this series and set their sights on Phoenix.

Result: Kings in 6

 
SEMIFINALS

Miami vs. Boston

The Eastern Conference finals look like the mismatch, but the Celtics have already shown that they’re a surprisingly strong roto team…

 PtsRebAstStlTOBlk3PtFG%FT%
MIA101.643.021.86.413.35.85.848.667.2
BOS101.340.822.18.115.45.25.346.876.4

…Unfortunately for Boston, the team in green isn’t quite strong enough to keep pace with Shaq and Wade. After a truly impressive playoff run, there’s little doubt that the Heat are indeed the beast of the East.

Result: Heat in 6

Phoenix vs. Sacramento

Like Boston, Sacramento has proven to be an unexpectedly tough nut to crack in this head-to-head format. But can Peja Stojakovic, Mike Bibby and the Kings eclipse the top-seeded Suns?

 PtsRebAstStlTOBlk3PtFG%FT%
PHO110.444.123.57.013.45.59.747.874.8
SAC103.742.424.58.212.73.96.445.978.7

…Close, but no cigar. The Kings put up quite a fight, but in the end, it’s the Suns who go on to represent the West in the finals.

Result: Suns in 7

 
FINALS

Phoenix vs. Miami

The two top seeds have dispatched all challengers to meet in the finals, with the NBA title at stake in what should be a true battle between two juggernauts…

 PtsRebAstStlTOBlk3PtFG%FT%
PHO110.444.123.57.013.45.59.747.874.8
MIA101.643.021.86.413.35.85.848.667.2

…And it’s the Suns who come out on top! Phoenix wins this year’s NBA chamionship … roto style, at least.

Result: Suns in 6

Hey, it could happen!

 
Arlo Vander will be rooting for the Celtics to go all the way in this year’s playoffs. He’s not getting his hopes up, though.

Which team do you think will capture this year’s NBA crown? Post your thoughts in the Cafe’s forums!

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Related Cafe Articles

• Other articles by Arlo Vander
Bracketology: NBA Style by Adam Rizzo (posted on 03/14/2005 in Articles)
It’s Playoff Time! by Madison Jones (posted on 04/23/2007 in Articles)
Differences in Drafting for Roto and Head-to-Head Leagues by David Vauthrin (posted on 08/26/2008 in Articles)