ESPN released its predictions for the upcoming season yesterday, with a projecting the Spurs to finish third in the Western Conference with 54 victories, while an accompanying statistical analysis from has them taking fifth with 51.7 victories.
Albeit clinically done, it’s a somewhat puzzling result considering that would place them behind not only Denver but Minnesota, which is projected to improve by a whopping 16 games. We’ll just have to see how everything pans out — heaven forbid that a preseason prediction would be incorrect — but a look at BP’s past predictions with a different formula reveals that even computers tend to underrate the Spurs.
Projected wins, conference finish: 41.8, ninth. Actual wins, finish: 54, third.
Projected wins, conference finish: 52.1, second. Actual wins, finish: 50, seventh.
Projected wins, conference finish: 49.0, third. Actual wins, finish: 61, first.
Projected wins, conference finish: 38.3, third. Actual wins, finish: 50, first.
So that’s three out of four seasons in which BP has not only underestimated San Antonio’s performance, but drastically so.
What that means is anybody’s guess. Age is going to catch up to Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili at some point. And the fact that they overachieved by several victories according to their , another favored formula amongst the statisticians, means their win percentage will likely decrease from last season, when they would have won 62 games in a normal season.
Still, based on BP’s past results and simple common sense, it’s hard to imagine they’ll drop as much as expected. (If at all.)