The basketball world seems to be slowly beginning to embrace the Toronto Raptors as a legitimate threat to advance to the NBA Finals.
The Raptors have a 51 per cent chance at playing for the championship, the highest odds in the entire league, according to the latest projections from FiveThirtyEight.
Eastern Conference rival Cleveland Cavaliers were given a 22 per cent chance at making the Finals for a fourth consecutive season, and the Boston Celtics have a seven per cent chance.
The popular analytics website uses a formula called CARM-Elo, a combination of Elo ratings and CARMELO player projections, to determine its NBA predictions.
“Elo ratings are a measure of team strength based on head-to-head results, margin of victory and quality of opponent,” according to the website, and CARMELO ratings, which stands for Career-Arc Regression Model Estimator with Local Optimization, “estimate a player’s future performance based on the trajectory of other, similar NBA players.”
The Houston Rockets have the highest odds to make it out of the Western Conference at 48 per cent, followed by defending champion Golden State Warriors at 32 per cent. The Rockets and Warriors have the best shot at winning an NBA title this year with 34 and 22 per cent odds, respectively, while Toronto was given a 20 per cent shot at winning it all compared to Cleveland’s seven per cent and Boston’s one per cent.
Toronto’s 24-4 home record ranks as the best in the NBA and if the team can maintain its current position atop the East standings it would obviously greatly increase the odds of them making it to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.
Despite winning three of the past four Atlantic Division titles, the Raptors have consistently underperformed in the playoffs. A recent Twitter poll didn’t even bother to include the Raptors when asking fans which potential NBA Finals they think we might see this spring.