Wizards Playoff Math Explained
So I was attempting to instigate a full-on discussion of all possible playoff permutations in the press room last night, but the other scribes weren't having it. Too early, they said. "This makes my head hurt," one said. Well, clearly these people do not have infant children, because nothing, and I mean nothing, says "I love this game" like sitting up with a crying child at 4:30 in the morning and attempting to figure out all the possible playoff permutations. Eastern Conference, ones, anyhow.
There are three teams whose seeds are locked in: Detroit at No. 1, Toronto at No. 3 and Miami at No. 4 (but without the home court in round one). There are seven games left that could matter. That means there are 128 possible outcomes. Lemme break that down.
(Oh, and if you're wondering how closely the players are following this race, some (Calvin Booth, Michael Ruffin) could tell you exactly how many games the Wizards are ahead of the Nets, and exactly what needs to happen for Washington to clinch the six seed, some (Michael Sweetney) need teammates (Chris Duhon) to hold up fingers behind a questioner's head in order to identify Washington's current seed, some (Tyrus Thomas) think the Wizards are currently seeded seventh or eighth, and some (DeShawn Stevenson) claim they have no idea whom the Wizards would face if the season ended today, because "I don't look at stuff like that.")
Anyhow, the breakdown. Feel free to double check my math. Of the 128 permutations:
In 72 cases, it will be Detroit-Orlando, Chicago-NJ, Toronto-Wash and Miami-Cleveland.
In 22 cases it will be Detroit-Orlando, Chicago-Wash, Toronto-NJ and Miami-Cleveland.
In 10 cases it will be Detroit-Wash, Chicago-Orlando, Toronto-NJ and Miami-Cleveland.
In 8 cases it will be Detroit-Orlando, Cleveland-NJ, Toronto-Wash and Miami-Chicago.
In 6 cases it will be Detroit-Orlando, Cleveland-Wash, Toronto-NJ and Miami-Chicago.
In 4 cases it will be Detroit-NJ, Chicago-Orlando, Toronto-Wash and Miami-Cleveland.
In 4 cases it will be Detroit-NJ, Chicago-Wash, Toronto-Orlando and Miami-Cleveland.
In 2 cases it will be Detroit-Wash, Cleveland-Orlando, Toronto-NJ and Miami-Chicago.
So, in terms of Washington's first-round opponent, 66 percent of the time it will be Toronto, 26 percent of the time it will be Chicago, 12 percent of the time it will be Detroit, and five percent of the time it will be Cleveland.
Of course, this assumes that each game is basically a coin flip. And also, that the Wizards actually have a chance of winning another game.
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