Rockets top ESPN’s NBA win projections, Spurs ranked out of playoffs in loaded West
Kevin Pelton’s win-loss projections at ESPN for the 2019-20 season have the Houston Rockets leading the NBA in wins with an average of 53.7 wins for the upcoming campaign, while the San Antonio Spurs, who have made the playoffs for 22 straight seasons, are ranked outside of the playoffs in 11th place.
The Rockets have a win-ready roster and are expected to make some waves in 2019-20 after the Golden State Warriors’ reign seemingly disappeared thanks to wholesale changes to the roster. The dynamic of Russell Westbrook and James Harden should prove an explosive one in the backcourt, one that will give several teams nightmares through a grueling 82-game schedule.
Houston is returning a lot of players with hefty playoff experience, which should help them navigate the regular season with ease after experiencing the highs and lows during a roller-coaster start to the 2018-19 campaign.
As for the Spurs, Pelton ensured to say the RPM algorithm he uses does not factor in coaching, but rather only the players on the floor and their performance. Coaching is a huge part of why San Antonio has been a fixture in the playoffs and why the Spurs have been able to survive the departure of an MVP-caliber player in Kawhi Leonard along with the retirements of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and now Tony Parker (who played his last season in Charlotte) within the last few years.
Yet the Spurs were only given a 25% chance to make the playoffs and a squalid average of 38.6 wins, which would leave them well shy of the eighth spot.