There are many reasons to believe the Rockets might have a legitimate shot at this year’s title. They went 4-0 against the team with the best record in the league. They have two of the top 10 players. They have one of the best records in the league since January. They are recovering from a host of injuries. They have a favorable draw. They have Patrick Beverley, who will eat you for an afternoon snack.
But what are their chances really? How do they compare to teams like the Spurs, Heat, Thunder, Clippers, or Pacers? To find out, I looked at the projections from three reputable sources: Vegas Futures, Hollinger Playoff Odds, and Sports Club Stats.
According to these sources, only 4-6 teams are more likely to win the 2014 NBA Title than the Rockets. That’s the good news. The bad? The Rockets’ actual chances are about 4-6%.
Put another way, the Rockets are about as likely to win this year’s championship as Dwight Howard is to sink a half-court shot. That’s the plain and painful truth.
The chart below shows the estimated championship probabilities from the three aforementioned sources (Vegas Futures, Hollinger Playoff Odds, and Sports Club Stats). As you can see, the championship is very likely to be awarded to one of five teams: San Antonio, Miami, Oklahoma City, LA Clippers, or Indiana. The Rockets are next in line, but effectively out of reach.
The bottom line: The Rockets have a very good team, good enough to challenge the best teams in the league, but in all likelihood not good enough to win 4 out of 7 games in four straight series.