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Sep 15, 2021Liked by Chad Ford

Interesting piece, Chad. Thanks. I do appreciate what you wrote about Toronto and their unusual mitigating circumstances. But that very paragraph contains within it the reason for my one beef with this.

You wrote: "But the Raptors had the biggest caveat of any team playing last season. They essentially had 72 road games, being unable to play in Toronto because of COVID issues. Just how much that weighed on the team is hard to quantify, but it had to play some role."

Fair enough. But I think it's also clear that two other teams on this list were about as heavily affected by COVID issues as Toronto: San Antonio and Washington. Look at the end of San Antonio's schedule, for instance. Through March 31st, they were 24-21. They finished 9-18 and barely made the play-in round. Did they get bad? No. Did losing Aldridge hurt that much? No. They struggled because of COVID postponements, partly of their own games and partly from other teams (e.g. Memphis). From April 1 through May 16, they played 27 games in 46 days--17 of them on the road. 22 of the 27 were against teams that made the playoffs. The worst was a 12-game stretch over just fifteen days, 10 of which were against playoff teams and only two of which were home games. Washington had similar difficulties, just at different times in the season. Many of the teams that aren't on your likely-lottery list also had significant COVID-related difficulties (e.g. the Celtics), while others didn't (e.g. Phoenix).

So to you (and every basketball writer), I'd recommend that if you're going to base this year's projections on last year's results, you need to consider positive and negative mitigating factors for EVERY TEAM. Either that or don't consider them at all.

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