Each Monday throughout the NBA season, ESPN Insider will investigate the latest trends in the NBA. Basketball Prospectus' Kevin Pelton is keeping an eye on all the numbers and will have a first look at how players, teams and the league as a whole are evolving.
League trend: below-.500 playoff teams
Earlier this year, the Seattle Seahawks were the butt of jokes as the first team to make the NFL playoffs with a losing record over a full season. In the NBA, where 16 of the league's 30 teams make the postseason on an annual basis, a below-.500 playoff team is more likely than not in a given season. So it's no surprise that, unless the Charlotte Bobcats, Indiana Pacers or Milwaukee Bucks go on a stunning run to close the regular season, the East's eighth playoff seed will be claimed by a team with fewer than 41 wins.