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ESPN model predicts slight Heat gain from last year

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The Basketball Power Index put Miami as the sixth seed in its preseason predictions.

Miami Heat v Detroit Pistons Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

ESPN has done a lot of predicting in advance of the NBA’s imminent 2017-18 season. Their real plus-minus formula predicted that the Miami Heat will finish seventh, while a panel of analysts pegged the Heat as the sixth seed. Now the struggling industry giant has another method to write predictions for the year.

ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, as they call it, gives the Heat 42.9 wins and 39.1 losses for the season. ESPN defines BPI as follows:

BPI is a forward-looking model that predicts the strength of each team on offense, defense and altogether. In making its game predictions, the model takes into account factors such as the strength of the two teams, the game's location and rest differential between the two squads. BPI simulates the season 10,000 times to create its projections for both the season and the playoffs.

That’s good enough for the sixth seed in the East, and a slight bump from Miami’s 41-41 finish last season. BPI predicts that the three worst teams in the NBA will all be in the Eastern Conference — the Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets — so the Heat should take advantage of that.

Now can we get on to some basketball?