ESPN Summer Forecast predicts Cavaliers to make playoffs, win 39 games

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN is making their summer predictions and I'm sure you're interested to see what they think of the Cavaliers.

We're in the dead zone of the NBA offseason and there's relatively little to talk about in mid-August. But the folks at ESPN.com are starting to make their predictions for the 2013-14 NBA season and their Summer Forecast is yielding some interesting results.

Their methodology is pretty solid. They have a bunch of bloggers predict records for each team and then they average out the results to come up with their final predictions. It shouldn't come as a surprise that the Miami Heat were the consensus pick to finish first in the East. So where did ESPN.com put our Cleveland Cavaliers? Well, the Cavs ranked 8th in the Eastern Conference which, of course, means they would make the playoffs.

RANK TEAM W L PCT '13 W '13 L '13 PCT

1

Miami Heat 60 22 .732 66 16 .805
@DParikh91: Seems fair enough. The Heat might take a step back this year, depending on Wade's health, but don't count them out. 

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2

Chicago Bulls 55 27 .670 45 37 .549
@joey9087: Bulls are a good choice, but I think Indiana will have a chance to finish in 2nd or 1st. Miami may rest Wade a lot.

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3

Indiana Pacers 54 28 .659 49 32 .605
@primetime2832: @ESPNNBA has quite the battle in the Central Division. Bulls with 55 wins and 2nd in the East. Pacers with 54 and 3rd. 

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4

Brooklyn Nets 53 29 .646 49 33 .598
@KylePagan01: Brooklyn should be higher. One of the best benches along with a top-flight lineup.

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5

New York Knicks 48 34 .585 54 28 .659
@RSDanger18: New York would go crazy to have a playoff series between the Nets and Knicks

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6

Atlanta Hawks 40 42 .488 44 38 .537
@ChrisJandB: Maybe I'm being overly optimistic about the Hawks but I don't see them finishing with a losing record.

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7

Washington Wizards* 39 43 .476 29 53 .354

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8

Cleveland Cavaliers* 39 43 .476 24 58 .293

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And although they predict Cleveland to make the playoffs, I'm sure Cavs fans will be upset that ESPN only forecasts 39 wins for the Wine and Gold. But even winning just 39 games would mean an improvement of 15 wins for the Cavs. And that's a pretty big jump from one year.

In fact, ESPN's predictions call for three Eastern Conference teams to make the playoffs with sub-.500 records. They have the Atlanta Hawks at 40-42 with the 6th seed and the Washington Wizards at 39-43 for the 7th seed.

I can't really see that happening. I get that the East is the weaker conference, but THREE teams under .500 making the playoffs? That's hard for me to believe (and yes, I know it has happened before). Personally, I think it's far too early to be making predictions like this and I'd prefer to see some preseason action first. But I really don't see how three teams from the East will finish under .500. Will there be THAT many good teams in the West? Did the East really get that much more top heavy? I don't see it.

What do you think? Will the Cavs make the playoffs? Will they win more than 39 games?

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