Mathematical analysis has gotten out of control, in many NBA fans’ opinions. To those people, I say: Get your calculators out, because it’s time for the most scientific of all season previews.
In this exercise, I use a single coin flipped 82 times to predict how this Laker season will play out. I know, I know, this is a lot to take in and, given the other various forms of analytics out there, this might be the straw that breaks the eye test’s back, but anytime you can sit in a room for an extended period and flip a coin 82 times, you have to take it.
Without further ado, here’s how this season will play out, based on the analytics.
Clippers – Win – The Clippers begin the post-Chris Paul era the same way their ventures with him went in the second round: With a loss.
Suns – Win – The over/under in this game is going to be infinity.
Pelicans – Loss – Have to give Boogie his minor victories before he finally realizes he’s wasting his time in Nawlins.
Wizards – Win – Honest question: Does anyone care about the Wizards? Including the Wizards?
Raptors – Win – The Lakers are four and one. When do we get to start talking playoffs?
Jazz – Loss – Nevermind.
Pistons – Win – WE BACK, Y’ALL.
Blazers – Win – HOLY CRAP LONZO BALL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR SLASH MVP. NOTHING CAN STOP US NOW.
Nets – Loss – Eeeeeexcept our old point guard.
Grizzlies – Loss – Chandler Parsons and Luol Deng play on-one-one. Loser’s team gets both contracts.
Celtics – Win – As gruesome as Gordon Hayward’s injury was, the Celtics will still probably get more from that signing this year than the Lakers will from Deng. Still, a coin flip win is a coin flip win.
Wizards – Win – There are no insults I can lob at the Wizards, as no one cares about the Wizards.
Bucks – Loss – The Lakers were on a winning streak, but Milwaukee Bucked that trend.
Suns – Loss – On one hand, losing to a lesser team is really frustrating, but we can still laugh at Suns fans angry their team won.
76ers – Loss – This is still early enough in the season that most of the Sixers’ youth might actually be playing.
Suns – Win – There, Suns fans. You can continue tanking again.
Nuggets – Loss – Ah, the Nuggets. The Wizards West.
Bulls – Loss – “We’re going to come out and punch them in the mouth.” – Bobby Portis on the Bulls’ strategy, night in, night out.
Kings – Win – Have to wonder if De’Aaron Fox will continue to duck Alex Caruso.
Clippers – Loss – Blake Griffin got so angry about this loss, he broke his hand on Doc Rivers’ face.
Warriors – Win – Death, taxes and the Lakers beating the Warriors.
Nuggets – Win – I swear one day I’ll care enough about the Nuggets to figure out an insult about them.
Rockets – Win – #BlameDAntoni
76ers – Win – It’s now late enough in the season that the Sixers’ youth will not be playing.
Hornets – Win – After losing to his former team, Dwight Howard was found walking around the Hornets’ locker room with a stat sheet showing how few post touches he had. In actuality, he was given the ball in the post every single possession.
Knicks – Loss – The Lakers forfeited this game as a means to thank the Knicks for both hiring Phil Jackson before they could and also not saddling them with Carmelo Anthony.
Cavs – Loss – Lonzo is definitely wearing Nikes for this game and LeBron is absolutely answering roughly a zillion questions about Lonzo after it.
Warriors – Loss – So, this stretch of games will probably suck.
Rockets – Loss – Yup.
Warriors – Loss – Yeah.
Blazers – Loss – Okay sure.
Wolves – Loss – We’re never winning again.
Grizzlies – Win – NEVERMIND WE BACK.
Clippers – Win – With Blake still out nursing the hand he broke on Doc’s face, this Lakers win actually makes sense.
Rockets – Loss – Jokes aside, the Rockets are a pretty terrible matchup for the Lakers. These games could get ugly.
Wolves – Loss – The Lakers should play Deng 40+ minutes just to see if they can get Thibs to miss him enough and trade for him.
Thunder – Loss – Really smart of the Lakers to lose on purpose to throw everyone off the scent of their tampering with Paul George.
Hornets – Loss – By this time of the year, Dwight’s teammates will have kidnapped him and locked him in a room with all his children so they can get back to playing watchable basketball. The result: They start winning games.
Hawks – Win – Wait, the Hawks still exist?
Kings – Win – I really do hope Lonzo gets to play against Fox so he can punish him for those terrible In-N-Out takes.
Spurs – Loss – This is how the Lakers will thank the Spurs for signing LaMarcus Aldridge, then extending him.
Mavericks – Win – Dirk Nowitzki and Brook Lopez are going to compete to see who can run down the court the slowest. Bogut would join in, but he’ll definitely be hurt by then.
Grizzlies – Win – Honestly asking this: Will Mike Conley and Marc Gasol be in Memphis by the time this game rolls around?
Thunder – Loss – Keep up that strategery, Lakers. I see you.
Pacers – Win – After the game, the Pacers will file tampering charges on the Lakers for scoring more points than they did.
Knicks – Win – Alright, back to beating the Knicks as the world intended things to be.
Celtics – Loss – Nice of the Lakers to throw their rival a bone, here.
Bulls – Loss – Really cool to see the Bulls continuing to show such fight.
Raptors – Win – Do you think when it gets really cold, DeMar does extra warmups to be DeFrozan? [Editor’s note: ugh]
Magic – Loss – Probably not a great sign that I can name more rides at Harry Potter World in Orlando than I can name players on the Magic roster.
Nets – Win – Take that, Russell! /cries into entire cask of whiskey
Thunder – Loss – You continue to do your thing, Lakers. #Lightyears
Suns – Loss – Devin Booker and Jordan Clarkson will absolutely compete to see who plays the least amount of defense in this game. My money’s on yes.
Thunder – Loss – If the cost of landing Paul George is getting swept the season before, you pay that price.
Mavericks – Win – If Lonzo isn’t in Nerlens Noel’s ear all night about the lobs he could catch in L.A., I don’t know what we’re all here for, frankly.
Pelicans – Loss – Any time Anthony Davis spends near the bench, Magic needs to whisper in his ear about how much better unibrows look in purple and gold.
Wolves – Win – Hopefully by this time, Deng will be a member of the opposing team. If that’s the case, #LakersRevengeGame needs to happen.
Mavericks – Loss – Okay fine let the Mavs enjoy another win on Dirk’s farewell tour.
Kings – Win – Ah yes, this win must have occurred as George Hill spends his third week on the disabled list due to a strained hammy.
Hawks – Loss – Crazy that the Hawks would be undefeated simply because they got rid of Dwight, but hey that’s how things work.
Heat – Win – No joke to be made here. Just look at Miami’s cap sheet and laugh.
Spurs – Win – Brandon Ingram outplayed Kawhi Leonard because of course he did. Oh wait no this isn’t the NFL.
Blazers – Win – Man, the mixtape Dame Lillard drops about this game is going to be
garbage that everyone considers okay because that’s what we do with athletes mediocre, much like his team.
Magic – Loss – Aaron Gordon and Julius Randle watching as Kyle Kuzma passes both of them is the kind of theater we can hope for between these two organizations at this point.
Nuggets – Win – Remember when Gary Harris/Jordan Clarkson was a discussion? Hahaha /jumps back into the cask of whiskey
Cavs – Win – One would think the Lakers would at least let Cavs fans enjoy as many wins as they can before taking their city’s hero but hey this is what Dan Gilbert deserves anyway.
Nuggets – Loss – Remember when Emmanuel Mudiay/D’Angelo Russell was a conversation? Hahahahahaha /drowns in whiskey
Warriors – Win – And in his Players Tribune article explaining his eventual departure, Klay Thompson will list this as one of the reasons he wanted to be a Laker.
Heat – Loss – After the game, Pat Riley and Magic Johnson will meet for drinks about their teams’ respective cap situations. Magic will do the laughing as his was inherited.
Pacers – Loss – The Pacers will still file some kind of tampering charge against the Lakers despite losing the game. #emails
Pelicans – Win – Boogie might change uniforms at halftime in this game, just to get a jumpstart on building chemistry with his future teammates.
Grizzlies – Loss – Pretty nice of the Lakers to send the grit n’ grind era off with as many wins as they can muster.
Pistons – Loss – Also super charitable of the Lakers to lose this game and save everyone from Stan Van Gone-dy.
Mavericks – Win – This game should be decided by a dunk contest between two juniors, Larry Nance and Dennis Smith.
Bucks – Win – Pretty cool the Lakers wound up with the better near-seven-foot-tall forward with point guard skills in this game.
Kings – Loss – Both teams will duck each other but the Kings will get the win because Zach Randolph will ignore the memo.
Jazz – Loss – Obviously this is the game Dante Exum finally lives up the the Kobe hype Bill Simmons gave him for some reason.
Spurs – Win – Sure, why not.
Wolves – Win – Another season-ending winning streak?!
Jazz – Win – OKAY LET’S DO THIS.
Rockets – Loss – Stupid Chris Paul…
Clippers – Win – … Said Clippers fans.
Well, there you have it. The Lakers finish the season with 40 wins — enough of a boost to ignite legitimate excitement from the fanbase, one would hope. Whether that’s enough of a jump to catch the superstars’ eyes Magic hopes to entice is another thing altogether. All I can do is provide this high-level scientific analysis to preview the season.