NBA Predictions For 2022

While I’m not really a fan of the “I will explain a big idea in a 300-page best seller” format, one exception for me is Philip Tetlock’s Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction.

There’s a lot going on in this book and this isn’t going to be a book review, but one of the takeaways for me was that making good predictions is a skill, and it’s a skill you can improve with practice. That means making a lot of testable predictions, and checking them for accuracy after the fact. These predictions don’t need to all be hugely important or counterintuitive, but they should be probabilistic, so you can check in the future whether events you forecasted to happen 40% of the time actually occurred roughly 40% of the time. If you pick a lot of “low hanging fruit”, your after-the-fact accuracy will reflect as much.

A bunch of bloggers, but most prominently for me Matt Yglesias and Scott Alexander have begun making annual predictions in this format, logging them, and then scoring them after the fact. I’ve decided to try and do the same this year. The format is to make binary, testable predictions for events to occur or not occur in 2022 specifically. This will be a mostly NBA-specific list of predictions, since my views on politics and current events are dull, although I may do a separate post about that stuff too down the road.

The specific predictions below were sourced from some friends, as well as a twitter thread AMA I opened.

The Predictions

  1. The Lakers win the NBA championship (2%).
  2. The Lakers make it past the play-in games (55%).
  3. The Memphis Grizzlies host a home playoff series (85%).
  4. The Memphis Grizzlies win a playoff series (45%).
  5. The Timberwolves are a top 6 seed (35%).
  6. The Milwaukee Bucks make the NBA finals (40%).
  7. The Dallas Mavericks win a playoff series (55%).
  8. The Chicago Bulls finish as the 1 seed in the East (35%).
  9. The Brooklyn Nets win the NBA championship (35%).
  10. The NBA finals winner opens as the betting favorite for the 2022-23 season (25%).
  11. Ben Simmons is traded before the 2022 trade deadline (45%).
  12. Ben Simmons is traded (80%).
  13. Kyrie Irving plays a home game in Brooklyn before the end of the 2022 season (70%).
  14. Any player who played on 2-way or otherwise replacement contract in 2022 will play at least 10 mpg in the NBA finals (30%).
  15. Klay Thompson to shoot over 40% from three in the 2022 NBA season (70%).
  16. Steph Curry to finish the 2022 season over 40% from three (40%).
  17. DeAndre Ayton to sign a max extension (90%).
  18. Miles Bridges to sign a max extension (65%).
  19. Ron Artest III to play in the NBA this season (70%).
  20. The finals MVP will be a first-time winner (65%).
  21. Trae Young will be rated higher in DPM than Luka Doncic at the end of the 2022 season (80%)*.
  22. Trae Young will be rated higher in DPM than Luka Doncic on 12/31/2022 (50%).
  23. Zion Williamson to play at least 100 minutes in the 2022 season (30%).
  24. Zion Williamson to play more NBA minutes in the 2022 calendar year than Michael Porter Jr. (80%).
  25. Zion Williamson is traded (5%).
  26. Giannis remains #1 in DPM wire-to-wire through 12/31/22 (70%).
  27. Ja Morant will have a higher DPM than Darius Garland on 12/31/22 (55%).
  28. Ja Morant will have a higher DPM than Luka Doncic on 12/31/22 (25%).
  29. Damian Lillard is traded (20%).
  30. Collin Sexton is a Cavalier for the first game of the 2022-23 season (35%).
  31. Collin Sexton gets at least $40M in guaranteed money (25%).
  32. Russell Westbrook is traded (40%).
  33. De’Aaron Fox is traded (25%).
  34. Jaylen Brown is traded (20%).
  35. Clint Capela is traded (30%).
  36. Malik Monk will average 30+ mpg in the playoffs (10%) [if the Lakers don’t make the playoffs, this is a loss].
  37. Russell Westbrook comes off the bench in a 2022 playoff game (5%).
  38. At least one player who started multiple conference finals games will miss an NBA Finals game due to COVID protocols (15%).
  39. Jarred Vanderbilt will be top-15 in D-DPM at end of season (30%).
  40. 2022 NBA MVP plays under 70 games (65%)
  41. 2022-23 NBA Salary Cap set over $119M (70%).
  42. Nikola Jokic repeats as MVP (25%).
  43. RJ Barrett has a +1 DPM before 12/31/22 (15%).
  44. Scottie Barnes is the #1 ranked sophomore in DPM on 12/31/22 (40%).
  45. Klay Thompson’s DPM will be >0 at the end of the 2022 regular season (51%).
  46. Bradley Beal will end the 2022 regular season with a TS% of at 55.6% (70%).
  47. Isaiah Hartenstein to get above the taxpayer MLE this offseason (60%).
  48. DARKO’s preseason-only wins predictions beat out the DARKO player+preseason model.
  49. Evan Mobley to make the all-star team in 2022 (20%).
  50. Any player to score 60 points in the 2022 season (75%).
  51. I roll out NCAAB DARKO (35%).
  52. I get a blue checkmark on twitter (20%).

I may supplement these with a few more in coming days. And then look out for me to grade these early next year, along with grading the calibration curve (i.e., was I systemically over or underconfident).

One thought on “NBA Predictions For 2022

  1. Between the Bucks Eastern conference title odds being 40% and the Nets title odds being 35% it seems you are extremely confident one of those two is winning the East. As in like the collective odds of any other team winning it are <10%.For me to also feel like the Nets have a 35% title chance Id have to be pretty damn confident Im getting all 3 of their stars on the court for the good majority of the postseason at once. And that I cant say I am. Everytime I watch them Im surprised by the degree to which I feel like they peaked last year, with just 2 stars its not that inspiring.

    I also think the odds of a Dame Lillard trade are meaningfully higher than 20%. Even if he doesnt demand a trade you have to think about it while he still has considerable value. Especially if he's insistent on a 2 yr $107 mil extension.

    Just a few other ones I was thinking of for fun for this exercise:

    Odds the Nets still have all 3 of their stars by opening night 2022—-Id say 60%

    Odds the Clippers make it past the 2nd round—Im high on them if Kawhi Leonard can be at 80+% id put it at 25%

    Odds Zion Williamson takes the 5th yr qualifying offer over signing an extension: 20%

    Odds Jonathan Isaac is even ready for opening night 2022-23: 70%

    Odds Kristaps Porzingis finishes the year with a higher DPM than Luka Doncic: 30%


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