Nobody takes ESPN predictions seriously anymore, however this year’s playoff standings predictions were particularly laughable. It looks as if they have made the list with complete disregard to the offseason moves made by certain teams while overestimating the additions of other teams. Although the biggest blunder in the list was omitting Portland Trail Blazers from the 2021 NBA playoffs. Even though players rarely validate these lists with a response, CJ McCollum could not stop himself.
— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) December 1, 2020
If we ignore the possibility of injuries, the Portland Trail blazers are easily top 4 in the western conference. They have retained the position for years except in the 2019-20 NBA season. However, there is a valid reason behind it. They lost 3 of their starters to gruesome injuries during the season which led to Blazers nearly losing the playoff spot last season. Despite these injuries, they made it to the playoffs in the Orlando bubble seeding games.
Not just that, they shocked LA Lakers and the fans with their performance in the playoffs. But Damian Lillard was sidelined in game 3 which lead to a 1-4 loss in the first round.
Trail Blazers’ past performance is enough evidence against this list
Portland Trail blazers have been in the playoffs consistently for the past 7 years but somehow ESPN thinks they are not resilient enough to make it this year. In addition, they secured the third seed in 2017 as well as 201 and reached conference finals once unlike predicted third seed Houston Rockets.
If Damian Lillard, Jusuf Nurkic, and Zach Collins return healthy they will grab third or fourth seed without any doubt. Unlike last year, there haven’t been any major changes to the rosters in the western conference.
CJ McCollum is visibly infuriated with the ESPN analysts for coming up with these garbage predictions however, Lillard’s reaction to this is awaited. Damian Lillard and the Blazers will hopefully use this as fuel and prove these predictions wrong come playoffs.
A detailed review of ESPN’s 2020-21 NBA season standings prediction
Apart from snubbing Portland Trail Blazers, they have played Brooklyn Nets at 6th position int he eastern conference and Denver Nuggets at 5th position in the western conference. Just to stress how inaccurate their predictions can turn out to be, they had Lakers at 5th seed and Toronto Raptors at 2nd seed before 2019-20 NBA seaosn.
Although Oklahoma City thunder and Miami Heat were outliers since their performance could not have been predicted bu anyone, they disregarded how great the Lakers were and overestimated Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets several folds.
Last seasn when Toronto’s core was intact, they placed them sixth but this year ESPN predicts that somehow they will retain their spot east after losing Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol. In addition, Heat’s dominance and Kevin Durant’s return will make sure that doesn’t happen.
Before going in to the 2019-20 NBA season Golden State Warrior’s position was exaclty what it is today. In fact they have now added Kelly Oubre Jr. and Andrew Wiggins to give them the height they lost because of Klay Thompson’s ACL injury. If according to ESPN they could’ve secured 6th seed why not this season with a better roster?
The disrespect to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving is beyond imagination in this prection list. Inaccuracies are common in prediction lists but ESPN outright ignored preious year performances of several teams in this list.