What’s the probability of the Thunder winning an NBA title?

What’s the probability of the Thunder winning an NBA title?

Where the West's best record and an easier remaining schedule than other conference contenders lands OKC.

Berry Tramel

By Berry Tramel

| Mar 11, 2024, 12:00pm CDT

Berry Tramel

By Berry Tramel

Mar 11, 2024, 12:00pm CDT

(This originally appeared in Berry Tramel’s newsletter. Subscribe here.)

Basketball-reference.com uses analytics — not betting tendencies — to estimate the odds of how a team will do.

And the Thunder is a firm favorite to finish as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, given a 50.7% chance. And that kind of probability makes the Thunder the most likely West team to win the NBA championship.

Here are basketball-reference.com’s probabilities for teams to win the 2024 title:

1. Celtics 57.9%: Boston is the runaway favorite in the East, so its title hopes are exponentially greater than any team in the West.

2. Thunder 13.9%: The Thunder has the West’s best record and an easier remaining schedule than the Clippers or Timberwolves face, though not the Nuggets.

3. Timberwolves 9.3%: These numbers don’t factor in injuries, so Karl-Anthony Towns’ meniscus probably lowers this Minnesota number.

4. Clippers 3.6%: Don’t ask me why the Clippers have a better chance than the Nuggets.

5. Cavaliers 3.5%: Second-best East chances, behind only Boston.

6. Nuggets 3.4%: Here is where straight analytics fail. The defending NBA champs clearly rank with Boston as having the best chance to win the title. The numbers say Denver has an 11.8 percent chance of winning the West, which ranks behind OKC (35.0%), Minnesota (25.4%) and the Clippers (12.4%). But the West runs through Denver.

7. Pelicans 3.1%: Now this is a number that seems about right.

8. Knickerbockers 1.7%: Hard to overcome Boston’s Eastern Conference dominance.

9. Bucks 1.4%: Seems low. I know Milwaukee has been a mess at times, but it still has Giannis Antetokounmpo.

10. Suns 0.3%: Phoenix has upside.

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Berry Tramel is a 45-year veteran of Oklahoma journalism, having spent 13 years at the Norman Transcript and 32 years at The Oklahoman. He has been named Oklahoma Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sports Media Association. Born and raised in Norman, Tramel grew up reading four newspapers a day and began his career at age 17. His first assignment was the Lexington-Elmore City high school football game, and he’s enjoyed the journey ever since, having covered NBA Finals and Rose Bowls and everything in between. Tramel and his wife, Tricia, were married in 1980 and live in Norman near their daughter, son-in-law and three granddaughters. Tramel can be reached at 405-760-8080 or at [email protected].

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