With Rose out for the season, the Bulls will be hard-pressed to finish better than .500. Again, the dismal nature of the East works to their advantage. In fact, Chicago's projected 41-win total would rank fifth in the conference. If they make it, Chicago already was looking at likely having to knock out both the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat on the road to reach the NBA Finals. With Rose being out for the season, the Bulls aren't guaranteed a playoff spot even with the East's current ineptitude, and it would take a greater miracle than the 2013 upset of the Nets for this season's Chicago team to win a postseason series without him.
Initial Projection: 45.5 wins, 59.1 percent chance of playoffs
Updated Projection: 44.8 wins, 54.0 percent chance of playoffs
As compared to the Bulls, the Grizzlies appear better positioned to survive Gasol's MCL injury. Kosta Koufos, acquired from the Denver Nuggets over the summer, gives Memphis an experienced starter to move into the starting lineup at center. Backing up Koufos will be more challenging, but the Grizzlies can hope that slumping Ed Davis picks up his play in extended minutes.
SCHOENE estimates Gasol's absence costing Memphis 3.8 wins per 82 games. Performing the same analysis with expected adjusted plus-minus ( via NBA consultant Jeremias Engelmann), which rated Gasol the league's fifth-best player last season on a per-possession basis, suggests 4.9 wins. Yet the simulations show the Grizzlies losing less than a win on average. The explanation is a friendly schedule. Of the 22 games Memphis would play without Gasol if he misses seven weeks (6-8 weeks is typical for a sprained MCL), 14 will be played at the FedExForum.
Because of their slow start and the depth of the Western Conference, the Grizzlies' playoff chances were already far from certain. While losing Gasol won't help, it's not necessarily a crushing blow, and the simulations still show Memphis as a playoff team better than half the time.
Initial Projection: 47.7 wins, 81.2 percent chance of playoffs
Updated Projection: 46.9 wins, 75.0 percent chance of playoffs
The timeline for the strained hamstring Iguodala suffered in Friday's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers isn't yet clear, and the rehab period can range from a couple of games to several weeks based on the severity of the injury. I settled on Iguodala missing 10 games, an estimate ever so slightly on the conservative end of the scale.
Surprisingly, SCHOENE shows Iguodala's injury impacting his team more than Gasol's injury. The Warriors' projected record drops by 7.9 games over a full season without Iguodala, and that doesn't entirely take into account that Golden State is dealing with multiple other injuries right now, including backup point guard Toney Douglas missing time to a stress fracture in his right tibia.
Nonetheless, over 10 games -- one of which, Saturday's home loss to Portland, Iguodala has already missed -- that translates to about a win's difference in the standings on average. In the competitive West, a game could be the difference in terms of seeding or even making the postseason. The Warriors face five possible West playoff teams in their next nine games, including the Grizzlies and two matchups against the Dallas Mavericks, and that's where they might feel the most significant impact from losing Iguodala -- depending how long he's out of the lineup.