Stephen Curry and the Warriors advance as we approach the midpoint of the NBA’s 2021-22 season, with the NBA’s best record at 27-7.

With Curry playing the MVP nominee, Draymond Green playing the Defensive Player of the Year nominee, and the return of All-Star point guard Klay Thompson on the horizon, it’s hard to argue against Golden State’s case as NBA title contenders.

Basketball-Reference’s “Playoff Probabilities” tool agrees, giving the Warriors the NBA’s best 30.2 percent chance of winning the 2022 NBA Finals, generating a 40.5 percent chance, best of all. conference, to win the West. (Basketball-Reference’s “Playoff Odds” tool produces results based on 10,000 simulations for the remainder of the season, including the play-in round.)

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If you haven’t clicked that link, which teams will you assume have the next highest odds of winning the West?

Your mind is probably going to the Phoenix Suns, who have the second-best record in the NBA at 26-7, or the Utah Jazz, who have the third-best record in the NBA at 24-9.

Judging by the league’s current rankings, the “Playoff Odds” tool backs that up, putting the Jazz and Suns in the second and third best odds of winning the West, respectively.

Basketball-Reference Playoff Odds for West in 2021-22
Rank Team Projected record Projected win percentage Pct. to win the conference Pct. to win finals
one. Warriors 60.7-21.3 .741 40.5 30.2
two. Jazz 58.7-23.3 .715 35.3 26.0
3. Suns 58.7-23.3 .716 18.0 11.6
Four. Grizzlies 47.6-34.4 .580 3.2 1.2
5. Nuggets 42.7-38.3 .528 0.8 0.2

So now that we know there is Some precision behind this tool, aside from the Lakers (0.0%) having less chance of winning the NBA title than the Timberwolves (0.2%), what does it tell us for the Eastern Conference?

Believe it or not, the “Playoff Probabilities” tool tells us that we will have the fifth edition of the NBA Finals of Warriors vs. Cavaliers in 2022, but this time, it would look significantly different than the previous four meetings from 2015 to 2018..

Yes, you read that right. The surprisingly emerging Cavaliers have the highest odds of winning the East, according to Basketball-Reference’s Playoff Odds tool.

The tool projects the Cavaliers to finish with a 52-30 record, giving them a 41.2 percent chance of winning the conference and a 16.8 (!) Percent chance of winning the NBA title, the highest in the East. with much.

That’s right, more so than the reigning champion Bucks and the star-powered Nets.

Basketball-Reference Playoff Odds for West in 2021-22
Rank Team Projected record Projected win percentage Pct. to win the conference Pct. to win finals
one. Gentlemen 51.7-29.3 .639 41.2 16.8
two. Heat 49.2-31.8 .607 14.6 3.6
3. Bulls 48.8-30.2 .618 13.7 3.5
Four. Networking 48.9-30.1 .619 10.7 2.5
5. Dollars 48.5-33.5 .592 10.3 23

The Cavaliers have been one of the most pleasant surprises of the 2021-22 season, with a 20-14 record, good for the fifth-best record in the conference. Behind a standout season by Darius Garland and a brick wall of a defensive forward court in Jarrett Allen and Rookie of the Year candidate Evan Mobley, Cleveland has revitalized from the bad years since LeBron James left for the Lakers.

It will be interesting to see how they handle Collin Sexton and Ricky Rubio’s season-ending injuries, but with the second-best defensive rating in the league at 103.4 points per 100 possessions, Cleveland’s strongest asset is still intact.

How realistic is it for this young Cavaliers team to surpass Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, the Nets’ Big 3 or talented teams like the Heat and the Bulls this season? It’s probably not as likely as this “Playoff Odds” tool projects it.

But wouldn’t it be fun to see the fifth, albeit significantly different from the first four, edition of the Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals in 2022?

Talk about an endgame showdown that no one would see coming.