New NBA playoff predictions: Who grabs the 8-seed to play the Lakers?

  • Co-author, Pro Basketball Prospectus series
  • Formerly a consultant with the Indiana Pacers
  • Developed WARP rating and SCHOENE system

What are the Portland Trail Blazers’ chances of securing the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference — and moving on to face the Los Angeles Lakers?

With a full complement of big men for the first time all season, the Blazers have gone 3-1 so far during NBA seeding games in Florida to take a one-game lead in the race for ninth in the West and a spot in the play-in matchup against the eighth-place team (currently the Memphis Grizzlies, who got a needed win Friday after beginning the restart 0-4).

Once again, I’ve used the multiyear version of ESPN’s real plus-minus (RPM) to simulate the remaining seeding games 1,000 times.

Let’s take a look at what to expect going forward in the West play-in race.

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