Jeff Stotts of FiveThirtyEight.com simulated a full NBA season with no injuries, and the results were much more in line with the Nets preseason expectations than what they were in reality. The Nets real winning percentage was .537. However, through his simulation, Stotts shows that the Nets would have had a winning percentage of .588 in a perfect, healthy world.
If the Brooklyn Nets’ center Brook Lopez hadn’t fractured his right foot’s fifth metatarsal and forwards Kevin Garnett and Andrei Kirilenko hadn’t succumbed to back spasms that cost them a combined 45 games, the simulation predicts a healthy Nets team would have flirted with 50 wins. That increases their win total by four games, placing them first in the division. In real life, injuries overextended the minutes of veterans Garnett and Paul Pierce and increased the responsibilities of role players like Reggie Evans and Mirza Teletovic.
The Nets placed third in the Eastern Conference in this simulation, behind the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers. The standings, as Stotts points out, are similar to the ones in real life. "For the endless talk about how injuries changed the game this season, if the entire league were healthy," Stotts writes, "the NBA would still look more or less like the NBA as we saw it. It’d just be a bit more entertaining.
- What Would’ve Happened If Nobody Had Gotten Hurt in the NBA This Year - FiveThirtyEight