SACP: NBA preseason predictions for the 2019-20 season

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The 2019-20 NBA summer forecast is here.

Which will be the best and worst teams this season? Which superstar players will win the major awards? What surprises are on the way?

In addition to ESPN's panel of basketball experts, we also asked high school students from the Sports Analytics Club Program (SACP) for their predictions heading into the season. The SACP results are below.

For all results with point totals, voters were asked for their top three most likely candidates, and we calculated a weighted score.

Who is the NBA's next team turmoil?

Which team will deal with the most drama and angst this season?

1. Houston Rockets: 42 points (36.8% first-place votes)

2. Washington Wizards: 40 points (26.3% first-place votes)

3. Oklahoma City Thunder: 25 points (15.8% first-place votes)

4. Los Angeles Lakers: 15 points

T-5. Miami Heat: 11 points (5.3% first-place votes)

T-5. Golden State Warriors 11 points (10.5% first-place votes)

T-7: Chicago Bulls: 7 points

T-7: Brooklyn Nets: 7 points

Others receiving votes: Sixers (one first-place vote), Cavs, Bucks, Suns, Grizzlies, Raptors, Clippers.

Who is the NBA's next team turnaround?

1. LA Clippers: 55 points (36.8% first-place votes)

2. Los Angeles Lakers: 32 points (21.1% first-place votes)

3. Brooklyn Nets: 30 points (21.1% first-place votes)

4. New Orleans Pelicans: 26 points (15.8% first-place votes)

5. Dallas Mavericks: 11 points (5.3% first-place votes)

Others receiving votes: Heat, Jazz, Celtics, Pacers.

Who are the most likely first-time All-Stars?

Voters could select up to five first-time All-Stars.

Eastern Conference

Western Conference

How many championships will the Lakers win with LeBron on the roster?

James has two more seasons under guaranteed contract in L.A. before hitting his player option in the summer of 2021.

FiveThirtyEight currently projects the Lakers as having a 20% percent to make the NBA Finals and a 14% chance to win it all in 2019-20.


  • One: 73.7%

  • Two: 15.8%

  • Zero: 10.5%

Will Giannis sign a supermax extension with the Bucks?

In the summer of 2020, Giannis Antetokounmpo will be eligible to sign a five-year, supermax extension worth nearly $250 million. If Antetokounmpo doesn't extend, he'll hit unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2021.


  • Yes: 89.5%

  • No: 10.5%

Who will win NBA MVP?

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo | Milwaukee Bucks: 56 points (47.4% first-place votes)

2. LeBron James | Los Angeles Lakers: 34 points (26.3% first-place votes)

3. Kawhi Leonard | LA Clippers: 26 points (10.5% first-place votes)

4. Paul George | LA Clippers: 14 points (5.3% first-place votes)

5. James Harden | Houston Rockets: 13 points (5.3% first-place votes)

6. Stephen Curry | Golden State Warriors: 7 points

T-7. Joel Embiid | Philadelphia 76ers: 6 points (5.3% first-place votes)

T-7. Nikola Jokic | Denver Nuggets: 6 points

9. Anthony Davis | Los Angeles Lakers: 4 points

10. Damian Lillard | Portland Trail Blazers: 3 points

Others receiving votes: Kyrie Irving, Luka Doncic.

MORE: NBA experts debate the predicted MVP race

Who will win NBA Rookie of the Year?

1. Zion Williamson | New Orleans Pelicans: 77 points (57.9% first-place votes)

2. Ja Morant | Memphis Grizzlies: 46 points (31.6% first-place votes)

3. RJ Barrett | New York Knicks: 22 points (5.3% first-place votes)

4. Coby White | Chicago Bulls: 13 points (5.3% first-place votes)

Others receiving votes: De'Andre Hunter, Darius Garland, Jarrett Culver, Tyler Herro, Carsen Edwards.

MORE: Swing skills for top ROY contenders

Who will win the NBA title in 2020?

1. LA Clippers: 59 points (52.6% first-place votes)

2. Milwaukee Bucks: 36 points (10.5% first-place votes)

3. Los Angeles Lakers: 33 points (21.1% first-place votes)

4. Houston Rockets: 15 points (10.5% first-place votes)

5. Golden State Warriors: 13 points

6. Philadelphia 76ers: 8 points

7. Brooklyn Nets: 5 points (5.2% first-place votes)

T-8. Boston Celtics: 1 point

T-8. Portland Trail Blazers: 1 point

MORE: Biggest question and greatest edge for each title contender

Eastern Conference standings

1. Milwaukee Bucks: 59-23

2. Philadelphia 76ers: 56-26

T-3. Boston Celtics: 48-34

T-3. Brooklyn Nets: 48-34

5. Indiana Pacers: 45-37

6. Toronto Raptors: 44-38

7. Miami Heat: 42-40

8. Orlando Magic: 40-42

9. Detroit Pistons: 38-44

10. Atlanta Hawks: 34-48

11. Washington Wizards: 31-51

12. Chicago Bulls: 29-53

13. Charlotte Hornets: 25-57

14. New York Knicks: 24-58

15. Cleveland Cavaliers: 23-59

MORE: 5-on-5: The most overrated and underrated NBA teams

Teams with the same projected record had ties broken before rounding.

Western Conference standings

1. LA Clippers: 56-26

2. Houston Rockets: 55-27

T-3. Denver Nuggets: 52-30

T-3. Los Angeles Lakers: 52-30

5. Utah Jazz: 51-31

6. Golden State Warriors: 50-32

7. Portland Trail Blazers: 48-34

8. San Antonio Spurs: 43-39

9. Dallas Mavericks: 41-41

10. New Orleans Pelicans: 39-43

11. Sacramento Kings: 37-45

12. Minnesota Timberwolves: 36-46

13. Oklahoma City Thunder: 31-51

14. Memphis Grizzlies: 29-53

15. Phoenix Suns: 27-55

MORE: Projected records, standings for every NBA team Insider

Thanks to students from the following SACP clubs for their participation: Blake High School, Woodrow Wilson High School, St. Albans School and Edmondson-Westside High School.

Image credits: Harry How/Getty Images; Derick E. Hingle/USA Today Sports; Chris Elise/NBAE/Getty Images; Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images; Bob Donnan/USA Today Sports; Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images; Stacy Revere/Getty Images; Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images; Ethan Miller/Getty Images; David Zalubowski/AP Photo; Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images; David J. Phillip/AP Photo