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JordansBulls
09-03-2009, 03:39 PM
Source: ESPN (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?page=OffseasonPredictions09-EastChamps)





Cleveland Cavaliers (32 votes)

This thing is Cleveland's to lose, says our panel -- or 60.4 percent of our panel, anyway.

It's no surprise to see so many votes for a team that has the reigning MVP and won 66 games last season. On the other hand, the Cavs had the same points in their favor in May, and were the heavy favorites to win the East at that time, too. But Orlando took care of Cleveland thanks to some amazing shooting and the dominance of Dwight Howard, and the Cavs were left licking their wounds.

After showing indecision in 2008-09 about taking on big contracts, Cleveland moved more decisively into win-now mode after its Orlando humiliation. Directly addressing its defensive weaknesses, Cleveland traded for Shaquille O'Neal, in part to face Dwight Howard -- Superman I versus Superman II -- in a potential playoff showdown, and also acquired wings Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon to provide the kind of length and defense the Cavs needed against the Magic. Whether the moves are too little, too late are what the 2009-10 season will be about, in large part.

Looming over it all will be the question LeBron James won't answer: What will he do when he can become a free agent in 2010? His freedom to walk next year has raised the stakes in Cleveland to a level seldom seen in the NBA, and could contribute to tensions along the way unless LeBron, Shaq and the Cavs can successfully merge their games and their goals: LeBron's first title, Shaq's fifth (putting him ahead of Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan) and Cleveland's hope of pleasing and keeping LeBron. And with the Cavs having added three rotation players to a 66-win team and probably demoting stalwart Zydrunas Ilgauskas in favor of The Big Disruption, it's not clear how chemically balanced they will be.

But this much we know: The past two Eastern Conference champs, after the Cavs' dramatic run to the 2007 NBA Finals, have been the Boston Celtics and the Orlando Magic, and while those two teams remain in the mix, most of our voters think it's Cleveland's turn again.






Boston Celtics (13 votes)

Rajon Rondo emerged, for much of the playoffs, as Boston's best player. So what does that mean for a team formerly known as the Big Three?

Here are three ways to see it:

1. The cup-runneth-over version of the story is that the Celtics now have a Big Four, and that Rondo will lead them back to the promised land.

2. The cup-half-full version is that while the Celtics have some issues to solve, they are still a very potent team just 15 months removed from winning it all. Sure, Celtics president Danny Ainge shopped Rondo and criticized him, and it emerged that Doc Rivers found him hard to coach. Sure, the C's need a healthy Kevin Garnett. Sure, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen have trouble bringing it every night the way they used to. But add it all up, and factor in a bench bolstered by the acquisition of Rasheed Wallace and Marquis Daniels, and the Celtics are ready to rock the East again, just as they did when they started 41-9 last season.

3. The leaky-cup version of the story is that, as dynamic as Rondo might be, it's all too telling that Boston needed him to play out of his mind to squeak past the 41-41 Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs. In this version, KG is a 33-year-old with a bad knee, Allen is a 34-year-old shooting guard (a species not known for longevity) and Pierce is soon to be 32. What's more, Sheed will be 35 this month and isn't known for his commitment to conditioning or fitting in quietly.

For 25 percent of our panel, the Celtics' cup runneth over. The other 75 percent disagree.








Orlando Magic (8 votes)

At the moment, the big issue in evaluating the Magic seems to be what you think of Hedo Turkoglu and Vince Carter.

We know opinion is divided on these two, because we asked our panel and they both showed up on the lists of Best and Worst Newcomers.

If you are in the school of thought that had Turkoglu as Orlando's true MVP last season, and you saw him as a matchup nightmare and the main ingredient in the Magic's special sauce, then you probably would agree with the 84.6 percent of our panel who think Orlando can't repeat its magical run to the NBA Finals -- and you might agree with the half of our panel that sees Turkoglu's new team, Toronto, making the playoffs.

On the other hand, if you think Turkoglu was Orlando's fourth-best player and overrated, then "So long, Hedo," right?

Likewise, if you agree with those who point out that Carter's statistical record shows him to be a better player in almost every way than Turkoglu, and you think he'll fit in well in Orlando, then you probably think a little Vinsanity is exactly what the doctor ordered. After all, replacing a 0-time All-Star with an 8-time All-Star is a no-brainer, right?

Then again, if you think VC's track record in Toronto and New Jersey makes him more poseur than player, you probably think that Orlando outsmarted itself.

There are other factors to consider, of course. Orlando had the league's best defense last season, on a per-possession basis, and it has an emerging superstar in Howard plus three recent All-Stars -- VC, Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis -- and a deep bench surrounding D-12. And the Magic did, after all, beat the Celtics and Cavs on their way to the Finals.

But you know what? All of this, including Hedo versus Vince, might be moot, because according to most of our panel, Cleveland or Boston gets the last word

IversonIsKrazy
09-03-2009, 04:20 PM
makes sense, honestly this year, any one of those 3 teams can win the East. Its going to all depend on seedings, if Cleveland can stay away from Orlando, if Boston can stay away from Cleveland, if Orlando can stay away from Boston, it can change everything.

*Superman*
09-03-2009, 04:32 PM
I can't wait to see what they say when Cleveland gets eliminated.

ALL ABOARD THE CLEVELAND BANDWAGON!

SteveNash
09-03-2009, 04:42 PM
1. Boston
2. Cleveland

Fly-Eagles-Fly
09-03-2009, 04:56 PM
Well who ever wins the East will lose to LA in 6.

I'll take the heat in the upset.

mikantsass
09-03-2009, 04:57 PM
Its ESPN, what do you expect. They will pick the Cavs vs Lakers and have a "Who is more of a God" debate between Kobe and LeBron until one of the teams gets eliminated in the playoffs. Sprinkle a little bit of Shaq-dust on top of that to make it even more of a media circus.

JordansBulls
09-03-2009, 04:58 PM
1. Boston
2. Cleveland

No Orlando???

SteveNash
09-03-2009, 05:18 PM
No Orlando???

There's no chance of that happening.

Same reason why ESPN doesn't list Toronto.

iggypop123
09-03-2009, 08:50 PM
all i know is lebron almost beat boston by himself, and now he has decent help. the magic destroyed their only advantage against the cavs making them a prototypical team instead of matchup nightmare for the cavs. remember they have shaq,Z, and verajo. im sure lewis was salivating at driving by them but the magic went with bass who verajo will have no problem chasing around.

JordansBulls
09-03-2009, 10:36 PM
There's no chance of that happening.

Same reason why ESPN doesn't list Toronto.

How is their no chance?

LakePackYank
09-04-2009, 01:02 AM
Even though I disagree with the prediction, it still makes sense. The cavs got 66 wins last season and ran into a team that was a complete mis-match to them. Now they added a few nice additions.

But IMO, I think Orlando or celtics have a better show at being the east champs.

LakePackYank
09-04-2009, 01:04 AM
There's no chance of that happening.

Same reason why ESPN doesn't list Toronto.

How in the world does Orlando have no chance. They won the east last year and despite losing turq, they probley had the best off-season out of the other teams.

WITZ
09-04-2009, 01:13 AM
all i know is lebron almost beat boston by himself, and now he has decent help. the magic destroyed their only advantage against the cavs making them a prototypical team instead of matchup nightmare for the cavs. remember they have shaq,Z, and verajo. im sure lewis was salivating at driving by them but the magic went with bass who verajo will have no problem chasing around.

:clap: This sounds about right.

JordansBulls
09-04-2009, 08:15 AM
Whoever has the #1 seed will win the east.

69centers
09-04-2009, 08:47 AM
all i know is lebron almost beat boston by himself, and now he has decent help....

That was two years ago, when he lost in game 7, getting out-dueled by Pierce and the C's. Last year, they never met in the playoffs.

The Cavs had pretty much as perfect a season last year as anyone could ever hope. Yet, the Celtics without KG for most of the end of the season, and a weak bench, were still able to finish only 4 games behind the Cavs.

As far as changes from last year:
Sheed, Daniels, and healthy KG > Shaq, Moon, and Parker

Barring injury, the Celtics will win finish with the best record and win the East with HCA.

Rapthug
09-04-2009, 08:52 AM
It's either Boston or Cleveland. With KG out, the C's were a shell of their championship team. He is so impt to their defense. This year they are a little deeper except at PG which should be a concern. To win they must keep KG, Rondo, and PP healthy.

I'm not a big fan of the Shaq trade. He's going to clog up the lane too much for LB. Anthony Parker was a real nice pick up.....he's going to get a pile of open looks. AP will lead the league in 3's. It will be interesting to see how this team gells. No matter what they are a favorite.

I thought Hedo was the MVP for Orlando in the playoffs as they shot the lights out until the Finals. He created so much for them even when he wasn't having a great shooting game. VC doesn't play like that. They caught lightening in a bottle and I don't see it happening again. They do have great depth though. Why they are paying a back up center about $6 mil to play 10-15 mins is a real headscratcher.

JordansBulls
09-04-2009, 02:19 PM
It's either Boston or Cleveland. With KG out, the C's were a shell of their championship team. He is so impt to their defense. This year they are a little deeper except at PG which should be a concern. To win they must keep KG, Rondo, and PP healthy.

I'm not a big fan of the Shaq trade. He's going to clog up the lane too much for LB. Anthony Parker was a real nice pick up.....he's going to get a pile of open looks. AP will lead the league in 3's. It will be interesting to see how this team gells. No matter what they are a favorite.

I thought Hedo was the MVP for Orlando in the playoffs as they shot the lights out until the Finals. He created so much for them even when he wasn't having a great shooting game. VC doesn't play like that. They caught lightening in a bottle and I don't see it happening again. They do have great depth though. Why they are paying a back up center about $6 mil to play 10-15 mins is a real headscratcher.

I can't believe how much credit Hedo gets on the Magic.

Raps08-09 Champ
09-04-2009, 02:30 PM
Cleveland is getting a lot of heat this year aren't they?

JordansBulls
09-06-2009, 02:58 PM
That was two years ago, when he lost in game 7, getting out-dueled by Pierce and the C's. Last year, they never met in the playoffs.

The Cavs had pretty much as perfect a season last year as anyone could ever hope. Yet, the Celtics without KG for most of the end of the season, and a weak bench, were still able to finish only 4 games behind the Cavs.

As far as changes from last year:
Sheed, Daniels, and healthy KG > Shaq, Moon, and Parker

Barring injury, the Celtics will win finish with the best record and win the East with HCA.

Celtics will need the HCA as does Orlando or Cleveland.

JordansBulls
09-06-2009, 03:08 PM
Here were the predictions last year


2008-2009 Predictions - Eastern Conference

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?page=eastoffseasonpredictions

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?page=ConferenceChamps-080911


2008-09 PREDICTIONS: EASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPS
RANK TEAM PREDICTED RECORD VOTES
1 Boston Celtics 55-27 (.671) 17
2 Cleveland Cavaliers 50-32 (.610) 6
3 Philadelphia Sixers 47-35 (.573) 2



http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?page=NBAChamps-080911

1 Los Angeles Lakers 55-27 (.671) 12
2 New Orleans Hornets 54-28 (.659) 6
3 Boston Celtics 55-27 (.671) 4
4 Houston Rockets 53-29 (.646) 2
5 Cleveland Cavaliers 50-32 (.610) 1


So since Boston was injured it was basically Cleveland for the taking.

iggypop123
09-06-2009, 03:09 PM
That was two years ago, when he lost in game 7, getting out-dueled by Pierce and the C's. Last year, they never met in the playoffs.

The Cavs had pretty much as perfect a season last year as anyone could ever hope. Yet, the Celtics without KG for most of the end of the season, and a weak bench, were still able to finish only 4 games behind the Cavs.

As far as changes from last year:
Sheed, Daniels, and healthy KG > Shaq, Moon, and Parker

Barring injury, the Celtics will win finish with the best record and win the East with HCA.

kg was healthy when lebron almost did it himself . in fact he wasnt even looking to shoot despite having joe smith guarding him. so sheed, daniels<<shaq moon, parker.

JordansBulls
09-06-2009, 05:44 PM
kg was healthy when lebron almost did it himself . in fact he wasnt even looking to shoot despite having joe smith guarding him. so sheed, daniels<<shaq moon, parker.

You call a guy who shoots 35% almost doing it himself? You call a guy going 2-18 on the road and almost winning against a 66 win team almost doing it himself?

heattiltheend94
09-06-2009, 06:06 PM
Cleveland is terrible against good teams, so it's betw/n Orlando and Boston, regardless if Cleveland wins the regular season

AllTheWay
09-06-2009, 11:07 PM
The Magic are the Easts best team right now. 4 all-stars, and then a grip of good role players. They are the deepest team in the league, and are my pick to make it out of the East. Even though I would much rather see Boston or even Cleveland.

Lakergirl24
09-06-2009, 11:18 PM
I still dont think the Cavs can beat Orlando and I think if healthy, the Celtics are the team to beat out east.

lakerssssssss
09-07-2009, 03:02 AM
Barring injuries, I think Orl will win the east

ARMIN12NBA
09-07-2009, 03:36 AM
What a surprise coming from BSPN! :rolleyes:

JordansBulls
09-07-2009, 11:28 AM
I still dont see why they think Cleveland would win when they lost with the best record in the league last and with HCA despite missing their star PG for the entire series.

m26555
09-07-2009, 12:43 PM
Cleveland is a distant third behind Boston (clearly the best team) and Orlando. How they won this poll so handily is ridiculous.

JordansBulls
09-07-2009, 02:16 PM
Cleveland is a distant third behind Boston (clearly the best team) and Orlando. How they won this poll so handily is ridiculous.

Lebron/Shaq

Raps08-09 Champ
09-07-2009, 02:21 PM
I would laugh if they actually do win first.

JordansBulls
09-28-2009, 03:09 PM
Honestly I don't see why Cleveland wouldn't get the best record this year again? Orlando knows they can beat them without HCA and they did this without even having Jameer. Now add Jameer and Vince along with Bass up front vs the Cavs getting Shaq and Parker and the results could be the same.

bbcmillionaire
09-28-2009, 03:36 PM
come on bulls and upset