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Statistical Model Projects Suns as No. 1 Seed in West

ESPN's Kevin Pelton pieced together projected win totals for the entire NBA, and the Suns emerged first in the Western Conference.

The Phoenix Suns have been through a whole lot this offseason, and many fans/analysts believe their performance will suffer (just a bit) as a result. 

However, the good ol computers and data only know numbers, and the Suns are damn good in box scores.

As part of his NBA preview, ESPN's Kevin Pelton pieced together stat-based projections for win totals this season that are probably left best at his explanation:

"Nonetheless, statistical projections can be revealing. Mine are based on a combination of my SCHOENE player projections for box score stats as well as three-year, luck-adjusted Regularized Adjusted Four Factors (RAPM) from NBAshotcharts.com. I estimate games played based on those missed over the past three years then make subjective predictions for playing time," said Pelton.

"The result is an expected wins total based on average health luck. Because some teams will have better or worse fortune, but we don't know which ones, the average totals will inevitably be closer to .500 than the actual final standings."

As a result, the Suns were the No. 1 team in the west Pelton's projections with an average win total of 49 games. 

"No statistical projection can factor in the possible mental toll of Phoenix's lopsided Game 7 loss to the Dallas Mavericks last season nor whatever is going on between newly signed center Deandre Ayton and the organization. Still, the Suns have enough talent and a big enough cushion from last season's 64 wins to project atop the West. Note their predicted rotation does not include Jae Crowder, as the team and the veteran forward agreed he would stay home from training camp while awaiting a possible trade."

Here's a full rundown of the West with their average wins:

1. Phoenix Suns: 49

2. Denver Nuggets: 47.9

3. New Orleans Pelicans: 47.6

4. Memphis Grizzlies: 46.1

5. Minnesota Timberwolves: 45.7

6. LA Clippers: 43.6

7. Dallas Mavericks: 43.1

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8. Golden State Warriors: 41.9

9. Los Angeles Lakers: 36.8 

10. Portland Trail Blazers: 36.6

11. Sacramento Kings: 36.5

12. Utah Jazz: 34.9

13. San Antonio Spurs: 31.2

14. Oklahoma City Thunder: 26.9

15. Houston Rockets: 26.7

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