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Cavaliers The Obvious East Favorite While The Bulls Are Right Behind

Posted by Craig Parsons on 9/24/2014 9:00:31 PM

The outlook at the top of the NBA Eastern Conference took a dramatic shift when LeBron James took his talents back to Ohio this past offseason and leaving Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade to fend for themselves in South Beach. Miami is still a playoff team but without LeBron and Ray Allen they can no longer be considered one of the best three teams in the conference heading in to the 2014-15 NBA season.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers +105

It’s no surprise that LeBron’s old/new team is the top-ranked team in the Eastern Conference heading in to this season especially when you consider the core that was in place in Cleveland and the pieces they have added. Kyrie Irving, Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson, and Dion Waiters were part of an impressive group that seemed on the verge of breaking through as a playoff team so when the Cavaliers added a pair of superstars in LeBron and Kevin Love it was clear they would be the projected favorites. Factor in the additions of Shawn Marion, Mike Miller, and Brendan Haywood and it’s clear that Cleveland deserves to be at the top of this list, especially when you consider the motivation this team has to make a statement and celebrate LeBron’s return in style.

2. Chicago Bulls +300

The Bulls also added a pair of superstars to the starting five that finished last season as they traded for Pau Gasol and welcomed back Derrick Rose. Rose looked outstanding at the FIBA world tournament and Gasol still has at least one or two years left at an elite level. Joakim Noah is the reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year award winner, Jimmy Butler is a rising star, and head coach Tom Thibodeau is an excellent coach that understands how to get the most out of his roster at both ends of the floor. Mike Dunleavy, Aaron Brooks, and rookie Doug McDermott will help space and spread the floor while Nikola Mirotic has finally arrived from overseas. As long as they can stay healthy the Bulls will challenge Cleveland for East supremacy.

3. Washington Wizards +1500

John Wall and the Wizards finished with the fifth-best record in the NBA last season but with Miami taking a step back they will have a solid shot at beating out the Toronto Raptors for the third-best record in the East. The loss of Trevor Ariza might be somewhat underestimated but Paul Pierce signed with Washington to help offset that hit. The combination of Nene and Marcin Gortat up front is excellent and there is a strong supporting cast in place with Bradley Beal, Andre Miller, and Kris Humphries all filling different roles. The key to Washington’s success will once again be Wall and whether or not he can perform at an MVP level. If he takes another step forward, the Wizards will be right there behind the Cavaliers and Bulls in the NBA Eastern Conference.



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