According to our NBA playoff model, the probability of the Clippers winning their first round match up is 0.41. However, what happens if they do win their first round matchup – and what is the probability of the Clippers making it to the conference finals? Or winning the NBA championship? While we can assume that these values would be less than 0.41, the initial predictions alone do not supply us with the answer.
By employing our model’s probabilities in tandem with a random number generator, we created a simulation of the 2017 NBA playoffs. This was done by comparing a random value between 0 and 1 with the fitted probabilities calculated from the model. For instance, our model says that the probability of the Utah Jazz defeating the Los Angeles Clippers in their first-round series is 0.59. If we simulate a random number between 0 and 1, anything below 0.59 corresponds to the Jazz advancing, while anything above 0.59 advances the Clippers. Obviously, in the long run, the Jazz will advance more frequently (eventually 59% of the time), but there is still a reasonable chance that the Clippers win that series. The simulation allows us to see how the playoffs could play out in other scenarios, such as the Clippers winning in Round 1, even if the model has determined they are more likely to lose. The table below shows the results of our 10,000 simulations of the NBA Playoffs.
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