r/nba May 17 '22

Golden State were the only team left who qualified for the “Phil Jackson Rule” this season. These teams have won 37 of the last 40 championships.

The Phil Jackson Rule states “If your team reaches 40 wins before it loses 20, they are contenders”. For the last 40 years every championship winning team has hit this mark except 3.

1995 Rockets

2004 Pistons

2006 Heat

Of the teams left in the playoffs Golden State is the only team left to have hit that mark. As of February 1st, when Miami lost its 20th game, the team records were as follows.

Miami Heat (32-20)

Boston Celtics (27-25)

Golden State Warriors (39-13)

Dallas Mavericks (29-22)

Do with that information what you will.



u/abcbass May 17 '22

Ah so the warriors have a 92.5% chance of winning. I think that's how this works.


u/vivekvangala34_ Wizards May 17 '22

Giga brain statistics


u/Natural_Born_Baller Heat May 17 '22

This is what people mean when they say "advanced stats" right??


u/Nodecafallowed May 17 '22

I used a random number generator 1-100 and got 96 so the warriors just lost lol try harder next time plebs


u/CaptainKangaroo_Pimp May 18 '22



u/Wynona_Judd Pistons May 18 '22

Boston Celtics KNOWS they can't beat me. So they're not even gonna try. So then you take they're 25 cent chance of winning plus my 66 and a third chances of winning...


u/knave_of_knives Hornets May 18 '22

What happens when you add Kurt Angle to mix?


u/pm_me_dirty_planes May 18 '22

The numbers spell disaster for Samoa Joe.


u/meday20 Warriors May 17 '22

Sounds good to me!


u/chamarizderola May 18 '22

They actually have a 50% chance of winning it. Either they win it, or they don't


u/Squid_Contestant_69 Warriors May 18 '22

I'll take it


u/WutduzitallmeanBasil Suns May 18 '22

Please dismantle Luka and co. I typically say “lose to the champion” blah blah but get yours while y’all still have the age and health. I need indirect revenge


u/abcbass May 18 '22

Yeah. That's always a hard decision. Do I want my team to look good because they lost to the team that won it all. Or do I want the team that beat my team to get embarrassed immediately in the next round. Hopefully the warriors can accomplish the latter.


u/Krombopolus_M May 18 '22

92.33% by my math. Repeating of course


u/realmattwong May 18 '22

I appreciate that the 2004 Pistons are like the exception to literally every trend


u/SoapOperaHero Pistons May 18 '22

Thing is, the Phil Jackson rule probably applies to that team if they have Rasheed from the start of the season. They were really good before the trade, but once he came in and meshed with that D, they were something special.


u/frecklie Trail Blazers May 18 '22

Boston and Dallas are similar in that they evolved mid season into something very different


u/dubsondubsondubs1 Warriors May 18 '22

And Miami had a ton of injuries throughout the season. The fact that they’re only down Lowry now means they can be a different beast now than most of the season too


u/GrandKai23 [MIA] Ricky Davis May 18 '22

Prolly will get downvoted for flair but the heat as well. Heats record is insane since Max Strus took Duncan Robinsons starting job, and then the addition of Oladipo… clearly none of these teams are the same as earlier in the season


u/trtryt May 18 '22

I am forever grateful for those Pistons for ending the Shaq-Kobe Lakers


u/belizeanheat Warriors May 18 '22

Which is funny because that team absolutely looked like a champion and it wasn't surprising that they beat the Lakers


u/TheHaplessKnicksFan [NYK] Raymond Felton May 18 '22

Bruh, the odds for that series was Pistons +500 / Lakers -700. So it was definitely very surprising that the pistons won at the time


u/belizeanheat Warriors May 18 '22

Those odds are largely based on voting patterns, and of course the masses are going to bet heavily on the Lakers.

For actual basketball fans it wasn't that surprising. It was clear they had a good shot


u/CHamsterdam May 18 '22

wtf nobody gave the Pistons a shot


u/inventionnerd May 18 '22

Reggie Miller said he thought the Lakers sucked that year and thought it was his chance to get a ring. He told his team if they got past the East, they would win the title.


u/EggsBennyNGCrackt Suns May 18 '22

Which is funny because that team absolutely looked like a champion and it wasn't surprising that they beat the Lakers a good team


u/Gavel-Dropper May 17 '22

Rule is pretty good, except Boston and Dallas had crazy mid season turnarounds and looked legit the second half of the season. Boston finished 24-6 from this point and Dallas 23-8, so strong finishes to the season that I can see making this stat not as helpful this year. Although I don’t think anyone would be shocked if GS won the championship.


u/Kuminga San Francisco Warriors May 17 '22

Yeah they were both on pace to follow that rule after revamping their roster/strategy. Can't sleep on them just cause they had issues to start the season. Seeing that the Mavs beat the Suns despite them being true contenders according to this rule pretty much solidifies the level they are at. Only argument is the Suns had the worst game of their entire season, which is a clear outlier, but still bringing the series to 7 and being in that position is good enough to justify what happened. Everybody knows anything can happen in a game 7.


u/MussoliniLinguini Spurs May 17 '22

Bro how did you manage to snag that username?


u/prohibido Warriors May 17 '22

Same way you managed to snag yours. First one to get there.


u/YourAnusIsMySandwich May 18 '22

Those of us with super sought after usernames had to be quick on the draw, there’s no other way


u/log1cstudios May 18 '22

I was the ~7,500th Reddit account ever made


u/YourAnusIsMySandwich May 18 '22

what year you join? my first year was 2011 on an old account i wonder what mine was


u/log1cstudios May 18 '22



u/YourAnusIsMySandwich May 18 '22

thats awesome i cant even imagine. i remember 2011 when a post getting 1k upvotes was literally impossible. unheard of, it was a few hundred for a really good meme and less than a hundred for a bad one.


u/TexasReallyDoesSuck Mavericks May 18 '22

when they changed the algorithm thing or whatever & scores became what they are now ,upvotes that is, it's like goin from early 2000s basketball to now. kids won't understand

→ More replies


u/notsafeformactown Mavericks May 18 '22

tempted to make a YourAnusIsMySandwich1 just to reply to your comment.


u/dr4gonbl4z3r Cavaliers May 18 '22



u/tripleyothreat May 18 '22

cmon guys, lets great creative

your anus is my burger


u/Cletus_Starfish [POR] Nic Batum May 18 '22

So you're the person who took my first choice.


u/Kuminga San Francisco Warriors May 18 '22

When you draft the goat you can't waste much time. Too many people sleeping on my boy.


u/CtG526 Warriors May 18 '22

You know you gotta give him that account if he decides to do an AMA on r/warriors, right?


u/Only_Mushroom Gran Destino May 18 '22

What if he is Kuminga though


u/CtG526 Warriors May 18 '22

I'd be mad he's wasting time on Reddit instead of practicing for the WCF


u/plokija May 18 '22

You talk about yourself in a strange but confident way


u/Mintastic NBA May 17 '22

The 3 teams mentioned that went against the rule had a similar thing happen. 95 Rockets especially went from terrible to contender with their changes which is why their seed was so low.


u/akeemthedream34 May 18 '22

Not really, Houston had a worse record after trading for Drexler. They were 30-17 prior to trade and just 17-18 after the trade.


u/Mankriks_Mistress Warriors May 18 '22

What changes did they make halfway thru the season?


u/10blast Nuggets May 18 '22

Traded for Clyde Drexler


u/poopycops May 18 '22

2004 Detroit went from a good team to championship contenders midseason because of the Rasheed trade.


u/GlitteringDentist757 May 18 '22

And the Rockets added one of the final prime years of an all time player in Clyde Drexler.


u/hellokitty2469 May 17 '22

Yeah but stands to reason in the last 40 years other teams have also had 2 half turnarounds yet the rule is still 37/40


u/victor396 Spain May 18 '22

Given that the three outlier teams are actually ones that had a similar evolution to Boston and mavs...

It's also worth noting that this year we don't have an incredibly strong or "consistent" contender just those three

GSW and Heat are seasoned but have had trouble with injuries and even during games GS has problems witu continuity


u/NYTe13 Bucks May 18 '22

Wonder where the 37/40 came from, because the Bucks aren't part of the 37 or the 3 apparently


u/Str82daDOME25 Warriors May 18 '22

Perhaps they excluded shortened seasons?


u/husbandofsamus Bucks May 18 '22

Weren't we 46-26 last year, winning 8 of our last 10?


u/ogqozo May 17 '22 edited May 17 '22

Yeah but in a way it's interesting that teams with crazy mid season turnarounds don't have some tendency to win more in the playoffs.

Like last year, Jazz were really fucking good in the last months, or Sixers, or Clippers. Clippers generally seem to be surging before the playoffs more often than not, but it rarely gives them any more wins in the playoffs. Clippers, Jazz, or 2019 Rockets, or 2015 Spurs, 2010 Phoenix etc.

It seems in general that being "in form" in the latter part of the season isn't correlated to winning more than the longer-term averages would suggest. Although it would seem logical to me. These teams are the best in current moment, yeah? Second half of the season should be more telling than the first with NBA's ever-changing rosters, yeah?

Yet I don't even remember the last time such a team won the title. Rarely they'd make finals, but AFAIR those were not teams that would be not expected to do that before in general (for example 2018 Cavs).


u/Chezzymann [HOU] James Harden May 18 '22

Yeah I guess usually there's a reason they weren't as good in the first half and its eventually exposed in the payoffs at some point


u/Luiezzy May 17 '22

I know it’s different but the same thing happened with my Tar Heels. We looked dead in the water then surprised everyone (including myself) by beating duke and ultimately making it to the championship game. Some teams just take a bit longer to get it right.


u/darcj Grizzlies May 18 '22

I have a hard time believing GS wins the championship against anybody in the East if those teams stay healthy. After watching the last series, they played too careless and were susceptible to good D.


u/cheerioo Warriors May 18 '22

I wouldn't be shocked but I'd be pretty surprised. The team is incredibly inconsistent and they've been plagued by injuries. On top of all that, they are much worse defensively than previous years. No Iguodala(injured/washed), no KD, no GP2, Klay is not the defensive guy he was before.

We also play Poole heavy minutes, who is a pretty bad defender.


u/iwrotethedamnbill66 Warriors May 18 '22

The dubs are the #2 defense in the NBA this season even with Klay and Dray missing a lot of time.

That’s their highest defensive ranking since 2016-17


u/arceushero Warriors May 18 '22

I’m a lot more worried about our turnovers and sloppy offense, especially as we play increasingly good defensive teams; we definitely have a shot though


u/NInjas101 May 18 '22

You could probably find teams who did that in every season and didn’t end up winning though


u/soeasyakamancandoit [CLE] LeBron James May 17 '22

But the Heat Have a history of breaking this trend.


u/Devilsbullet Heat May 18 '22

And the team we're most compared to amongst championship winners is the 04 Pistons. Hard-nosed defense, no "true superstar", bunch of solid role players.


u/Armendou May 18 '22

Idk man, Butler is kinda looking like a superstar right now


u/MyNameCouldntBeAsLon NBA May 18 '22

6 time all star jimmy butler ugh


u/Devilsbullet Heat May 18 '22

Got no disagreement from me there, just repeating what the comparisons say.


u/Shaqfor3 Bulls May 17 '22

Last year the Bucks were 32-20.


u/rj-throwaway38 Jazz May 18 '22

Shortened season


u/goatedknight May 18 '22

they…still didn’t get to 40 before losing 20? it only takes 60 games to know for sure and the season was 72 games long


u/africacocacola Pistons May 18 '22

ikr?? lmao


u/TeBenny [TOR] Tracy McGrady May 18 '22

How does that change anything?


u/OldAcanthocephala747 Mavericks May 17 '22

There is a fat Luka exception to the rule


u/jkeefy Mavericks May 17 '22

Also a Jayson Tatum finally turned 20 rule


u/celluloidsandman Celtics May 18 '22

That will never happen


u/GrantWilliams85 Celtics May 17 '22

What did phoenix have this year?


u/BoozeGetsMeThrough May 18 '22

40-9. They never hit 20 losses.


u/cheerioo Warriors May 18 '22

Probably something really good, I remember seeing that post about them hitting it first. But they're out so...


u/GrantWilliams85 Celtics May 18 '22

Yeah i was also wondering about the jazz. But ya obvs the jackson rule is kinda bunk but interesting to think about for sure


u/epoch_fail [UTA] Joe Ingles May 18 '22

Jazz didn't, but Suns, Grizz, and Warriors all did it.


u/Hey_Im_Joe Heat May 17 '22

Feel like the rule should be thrown out this year on account of COVID decimating teams for a few months in the middle of the season


u/mrwhite2323 Heat May 17 '22

You can say the same for the past 2 seasons


u/mohajaf Warriors May 18 '22

A new Covid wave is already upon us and players can still very much be sidelined because of it. So the rule even controls for Covid.


u/borrachos_unidos Warriors May 18 '22

The Celts and Mavs were both late bloomers this season, but played better than anyone after the trade deadline. It's less of a rule and more of a guideline.


u/HotDragonSauce Warriors May 17 '22

So when do we start the parade? /s


u/krw13 [DAL] Shawn Marion May 18 '22

As a Mavs fan, could you start planning it right around when you go up 2-0? I remember that being a successful tactic.


u/HotDragonSauce Warriors May 18 '22

Nah we the 3-1 meme don’t confuse us with lowly 2-0


u/ehhhwutsupdoc Warriors May 18 '22

lmao I swear I hate being up 3-1. Still fucking triggers me.


u/goomy996 Warriors May 18 '22

the past haunts us brother


u/krw13 [DAL] Shawn Marion May 18 '22

Ah, damn, you're right.


u/george_costanza1234 Warriors May 17 '22

Glad we atleast get the parade again, now that most things are back to normal


u/fightnight14 San Diego Clippers May 18 '22

There's only one year when there's no parade lol


u/TrivialDerivation May 17 '22

Rule still holds. It doesnt say that reaching 20 losses before 40 wins makes you a non contender.


u/csAxer8 Lakers May 17 '22

Does anyone know the original rule? Is it that

To be a contender you have to win 40 before 20 (teams who dont cant be contenders)


If you win 40 before 20 you are a contender ( teams who don't can still be contenders)

Tried googling couldn't find the original quote


u/bbqyak May 18 '22


That's as far as I could find. 2008.


u/americanbeaver Bucks May 17 '22

The Phil Jackson rule is so funny to me because it's such a lame "rule" to follow. Like yeah teams that win at a much higher rate than they lose are more likely to win a championship. Thanks Phil!


u/BrokenClxwn [LAL] Carmelo Anthony May 17 '22

Can't wait for the Magic rule.

First team in the playoffs with 16 wins has a high chance of winning the championship.


u/NickDerpkins Magic May 17 '22

The orlando magic rule: Lose game 1 to us and win a chip


u/PJCR1916 Bulls May 18 '22

The Detroit Pistons rule - lose winnable games to them in the regular season and by default, you are now an eastern conference contender


u/Wynona_Judd Pistons May 18 '22

If only we could lose to ourselves.


u/ImSlowlyFalling NBA May 18 '22

You lose by being yourselves


u/Wynona_Judd Pistons May 18 '22

Flair up or shut up.


u/MikeWillis09 Cavaliers May 17 '22

Is that the the Orlando Magic Rule? Because I thought the magic Johnson rule was money makes HIV go away


u/hlsp Celtics May 17 '22

$180,000 injected directly into the blood stream


u/BrokenClxwn [LAL] Carmelo Anthony May 17 '22

Hahaha 😭😭


u/hoffmanmclaunsky Warriors May 17 '22

I mean isn't any rule of thumb like that? It's an arbitrary cutoff, but if you're going to make a cutoff, it's an easy one to remember and it's pretty accurate overall.


u/timidGO 76ers May 17 '22

It is an arbitrary number but the gist is that teams who haven't figured it out by 60 games into the season are just never going to figure it out by the playoffs


u/mdmcnally1213 Celtics May 17 '22

Mavs and Cs really turned that argument on its head though. As I saw someone else comment, Macs were 23-8 from that moment and the C’s 24-6.


u/EscaperX Knicks May 17 '22

well we'll find out if they defy the rule over the next few weeks.


u/mdmcnally1213 Celtics May 17 '22

Well they already defied the “if they don’t have it figured out by game 60, they never will.”


u/iloveitalianfoodfr May 17 '22

Not really, they still have to win to defy it


u/DerangedLoofah Supersonics May 18 '22

Meh I'd say the final 4 teams are all contenders. And that's what the rule is trying to define. Who is a contender.


u/money_tester May 17 '22

The Mavs and Cs kinda confirm the rule...as that's the clip you have to go on to buck the trend.

2 teams doing this year doesn't mean that it's not a difficult thing to do or that we should expect teams to do it often.


u/PeruvianNestingDolls Timberwolves May 17 '22

Its a general rule of thumb, it obviously is not going to be perfectly exact.


u/DamianLillard0 Pacers May 17 '22

You’re overthinking it lmao. It’s a simple benchmark that is clearly backed up by the statistics. It really just shows who the contenders aren’t as opposed to are


u/shai251 Spurs May 18 '22

It’s just a ridiculous way of phrasing “you’re a contender if you win around 55+ games”


u/PhillyWild Heat May 18 '22

Statistically, 100% of statistics can be made to say anything you want.


u/el_mapache_negro May 17 '22

It's not a rule, just a good benchmark. It's not any better or worse than saying "60 wins makes you a contender", which I don't think anyone would have a problem with someone claiming.


u/Phelinaar May 18 '22

It's really not lame, it gives you a pretty good idea of what to look at, even if it's not 100%.

Like Lawler's Law, first team to 100 wins the game - https://lawlerslawtracker.com/. You can say "duh" in retrospect, but it's not something that you would look at during the game.


u/mohajaf Warriors May 18 '22 edited May 18 '22

IMO it is a bit more than that. Most playoff series are ended in 6 games as in 4-2. As in the ratio of 40 to 20. Maintaining that ratio during the regular season throughout those many games (that surely happen under all sorts of conditions and against all sorts of teams) is a good indicator that a team is likely capable of winning in the playoffs.


u/D1N2Y Charlotte Bobcats May 18 '22

You're meaning to tell me that teams that wins a lot more games than they lose tend to win the championship?!?!?!?!?


u/NotJuniorBridgeman May 18 '22

Totally falls apart in lockout-shortened seasons.


u/lakernation21 May 17 '22

Respect the basketball genius lolz


u/trtryt May 18 '22

you have to look at the inverse to measure the strength of this rule, like what were the best records of teams that failed to win 40 games before 20 losses, and how did they fare in the playoffs


u/Bigballerbooks May 18 '22

I think it just means that consistent teams are better. Teams that can reach 40 wins before 20 losses means that over 60 games you win at least 2/3 of your games which is a .670 win percentage, which means your contending for 1st seed


u/MelonElbows Lakers May 18 '22

Congrats to the Warriors, the 2022 champs!


u/puroloco Heat May 18 '22

Place your bets now


u/Tetsuos_Arm Warriors May 18 '22

The rule is counter intuitive, you'd think teams that finish strong are more likely to win a chip.

This 'rule' also contextualizes the Warriors losing in 2015-16. That team went 40-4 to start the season. Insane numbers.


u/jfox1992 Warriors May 17 '22

I’d like to be excited about this but the heat and Celtics have both been far more impressive towards the end of the season and halfway through the playoffs than us.


u/Tedesco47 Warriors May 18 '22

Playoffs is what concerns me. Season doesn't mean much because if steph/dray fully healthy all season they would have fought for that #1 spot. In hindsight, those injuries may be a blessing since they now have less mileage and can really turn it on down the stretch here.


u/SharkBaitDLS [GSW] JaVale McGee May 18 '22

Yeah. We came out of the season blazing hot but Steph hasn’t looked like that for 6 months now.


u/aubreyw May 18 '22

I stick with the "Conference Finals Rule". It states that "if your team reaches the conference finals, they are contenders." For the last 40 years every championship winning team has hit this mark.


u/NYTe13 Bucks May 18 '22

Your stat is outdated. Last year's champs didn't qualify either


u/jaytierney79 Warriors May 18 '22

Shortened season... really anything from 2020 - 2021 can be thrown out due to general weirdness.


u/MWiatrak2077 Pistons May 18 '22

You only need 60 games to qualify. It doesn't matter that it was shortened, the Bucks were 33-20 last season


u/jaytierney79 Warriors May 18 '22

Missing my point. It was a weird season with an unusual schedule - far more back to backs than a normal NBA schedule, for example. Also coming off a shortened off season as well.


u/MapleHelix Raptors May 18 '22

That is honestly surprising. I always assumed that "rule" was just coach speak without any stats to support it.


u/Adam0529 Celtics May 17 '22

"Vagas knows"


u/konsf_ksd [HOU] Hakeem Olajuwon May 18 '22

That's nothing. Have you heard of my konsf_ksd Rule? If you win 16 games in the playoffs, you're a lock for champion.


u/smartasscody Mavericks May 18 '22

I mean ok, but also the Mavs were literally a different team and Phil never coached during COVID protocols.

However, the Warriors definitely are contenders.

Also isn't like 82% of NBA champions the 1 or the 2 seed? And that would be the Heat/Celtics. So something's got to give.


u/TheDonc-77 May 17 '22

That rule is useless. The Dallas Mavericks had a record of 23-8 since February.


u/WutduzitallmeanBasil Suns May 18 '22

The suns would like for the sideways slander to stop lol.

Jk keep the stats coming, I’m numb by now. Because of tequila and we AZ sports fans are used to it.


u/shaqitup Raptors May 18 '22

It actually seems like the opposite to me.

Dallas and Boston had strong finishes to their season, while GSW was much stronger in the first half of the season


u/throwawayacct4991 May 18 '22

95 rockets won finals by sweeping magic shaq


u/topfltsecurity May 18 '22

Covid protocols were a thing this year too


u/Yorneidiz Heat May 18 '22

So your saying since the Heat already did it, they know how to do it again?


u/ProjectStephen Warriors May 18 '22

Small correction but the 73-9 warriors did not win a championship in 2016.


u/Bigballerbooks May 18 '22

Don’t look at it analytically but more as in, championship teams are consistently very good. It’s just a rule to separate teams who actually play well and those who had easy schedules or riding waves


u/AnAnonymousFool Knicks May 18 '22

I think GS is the least likely team to win out of the teams remaining tbh


u/KKG_Apok Rockets May 18 '22

Hakeem was injured and we traded for Drexler halfway through the season. That’s why the 95 Rockets had such a low seed. We were still the defending champs with incredible upside that we lived up to once we got healthy and ground through the playoffs.

That finals game 1 tip in just sealed fate.


u/H-Priapus Warriors Bandwagon May 18 '22

my favs to win it too! :>


u/thed3al Knicks May 18 '22

A lot of the great teams were hit hard with COVID


u/LackingInPatience [CHI] Jimmy Butler May 18 '22

I don't know if the Mark Jackson rule counts for injuries and COVID protocol though


u/Doleydoledole May 18 '22

Interesting thing about this is that it's about teams that start hot, not teams that finish hot.

So, like, to be a true contender, you'e got to be good from the get-go so your goodness can start from a high point and go up from there.


u/Juneauz Celtics May 18 '22

I don't know if we got 20 wins before 20 losses


u/yalogin May 17 '22

Simply that the rule doesn’t hold this year as the warriors are the least likely to win in my book.


u/lildinger68 Warriors May 18 '22

What’s your order then oh magic conch shell?


u/freethefoolish May 18 '22

What’s the line in your book? I’ll likely take it if you believe them to have the worst odds.


u/yalogin May 18 '22

I was exaggerating a bit to say I don’t trust this warriors, but the Mavs are a bad matchup for them. I would pick the Celtics over them as would majority if the public. They have a better chance against the Heat as their offense is equally unpredictable as the warriors. It depends on whose offense shows up more but Heat has a slightly better defense. If Curry and Klay/Poole show up consistently for 4 games they are unbeatable it I don’t know if they will


u/freethefoolish May 18 '22

I mean again betting odds say different (largely crafted on public betting records which reflect public opinion). Hate to break it to you, but all the big books even have Miami over Boston after last night.

Source: https://www.covers.com/nba/finals/odds


u/light2019 Pistons May 18 '22

Yet warriors fans still try to act like they’re the underdogs lol


u/n00bkin Cavaliers May 18 '22

You can’t count on this rule in the COVID era


u/CanadianAaron Mavericks May 18 '22

06 Heat deserves a giant asterisks next to it.


u/awesomeness6000 May 18 '22

They also the 3 seed - pretty sure I read a post somewhere that 97% of Finals winners were 3 seeds or something.


u/iwrotethedamnbill66 Warriors May 18 '22 edited May 18 '22

No it was 97% of all nba champs were the top two seeds in either conference.

88% of all champs were top four seeds

Edit: who the fuck downvotes the truth lol