FiveThirtyEight warns local sports fans not to expect anyone to cue the duckboats for the Boston Celtics next spring.
The statistical analysis updated its predictions for the 2019-20 NBA season Wednesday, and its numbers won’t fill Celtics backers with optimism. Sure, FiveThirtyEight gives the Celtics a 91 percent chance of reaching the NBA playoffs — the third-highest figure in the Eastern Conference behind just the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks — but Boston’s estimated chances of thriving in the postseason fall dramatically.
FiveThirtyEight gives the Celtics just a seven percent chance of reaching the NBA Finals and a one percent chance of winning it.
FiveThirtyEight’s predictions are similar to those of oddsmakers, who installed the Celtics among the heavy favorites to reach the playoffs last month.
For what it’s worth, FiveThirtyEight gives the 76ers and Houston Rockets the best chances of winning the NBA Finals at 25 and 23 percent, respectively. The new-look Los Angeles Lakers have a 20 percent chance of reaching the NBA Finals and an 18 percent chance of winning it.