2015-2016 Houston Rockets Win Total Prediction


Guess what! The NBA season is back! The offseason was long and boring, but now suddenly we get to watch the greatest league in the world until a champion is crowned in June. The 2015 -2016 season is back, and it’s time to predict how many games the Houston Rockets will win. As with every year, it’s a confusing and difficult affair because the Rockets are a confusing and difficult team. But confusion and difficulty have never stopped us before, so it’s time to roll out the


I have a certain method to my madness, and it’s been fairly successful in past, so I ran the same system again with some minor modifications. I examined every game of the season, including factors like rest for both teams, and came up with some answers. I’m assuming that injury luck will more or less even out over the season, which is always true across the league, but seldom true team to team. Trying to predict where injuries will happen is a loser’s game.

The most exciting fact about Houston’s schedule is that they have no sets of four games in five days. None. The average team has about one this year, and that’s a huge improvement for the quality of play we’ll see this season. The Rockets only have two five game road trips, and one is broken up by the All-Star Weekend, so in practice that’s only one nasty road trip. The Rockets have 16 back to back sets, lower than the league average. In fact, Houston will face a team on the second night of a back to back 20 times over the season (and on the first night 15 times).

In terms of strength of schedule, it’s about as light as could be possible given the might of the Western Conference at large and the Southwest Division in specific. October, November and December are heinously weak for Houston, with only a few games against teams at or above Houston’s tier. For reference, I’ve classified Houston’s tier as San Antonio, Cleveland, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis, with Golden State as the sole occupant of the top tier. The most difficult games of the 2015 calendar year will be Golden State on October 30th and the Clippers on November 7th. The schedule evens out significantly in 2016, especially in January, march and April.

This is a very, very favorable schedule, and the Rockets are going to get out to a very hot start. I’ve been delaying this until we got official word about Ty Lawson’s expected suspension, but since no such news has materialized, the most likely conclusion is that he will not, in fact, be suspended. This is beyond good news. Missing a player of Lawson’s caliber for even five games would have stung, much less the ten plus people had been proposing. Dwight Howard will, indeed, be suspended for the first game of the season, but his absence against the Denver Nuggets shouldn’t be enough to have Denver favored.

From a schedule perspective, the numbers spit out a total: 55.

That’s a disappointing figure for a team that’s improved every season for the past two seasons. In fact the team is better than ever and was overly injured last year, and lost four games to the superhuman Golden State Warriors. How could they do worse?

There are plenty of ways that a better team can do worse, not the least of which was that the Rockets played a bit above their heads last season. Add to that the Thunder’s injury woes, and the Rockets got a few freebies here and there, which is the difference between a seventh seed and a second seed in the west. Additionally, the Western Conference has, on balance, improved which will likely result in lower win totals for elite teams as they poach from each other and lose to the playoff bubble teams here and there.

On the other hand, we haven’t gotten to the other hand, which is the improvement factor. The Rockets got probably five games better in the off season, especially when injury likelihood is factored in. I suspect the Rockets will do better than anticipated in swing games, and my gut tells me 62 wins is more Houston’s speed this year, which is in fact seven games higher than schedule analysis tells us.

The truth, however, seems to always be somewhere in the middle. Splitting the difference has worked well in past, so there’s no reason to stop now. Right in between those numbers lies Houston’s magic win total for this year, a number that should be good for the second seed again, behind whichever team steps up hardest (it will be Golden State).

58 wins

Second in the West

This is going to be a fascinating, exciting year to watch the Houston Rockets, and they’re about to win a lot.

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