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ESPN projects Cleveland Cavaliers as top team in Eastern Conference

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The Cleveland Cavaliers haven't yet completed their monumental summer, but ESPN is already impressed.

Ty Wright

ESPN has an expert panel that will be doing their best over the coming weeks to predict what happens this upcoming season. The offseason is close to hitting the dead period (although it seems the Cavaliers are still working), and it's the time of year where we start gearing up for the season.

ESPN's forecast panel has 210 people making predictions, and they like what Cleveland was able to do this summer. Collectively, they think the Cavaliers will win 56 games, two more than the Chicago Bulls. It isn't clear to me whether or not the forecasters were assuming that Kevin Love will be a Cavalier, but it's a nice vote of confidence all the same. That type of turnaround, were it to occur, would really be tremendous for a team that won less than 35 games last season in a weak Eastern Conference. It feels all but inevitable though with LeBron James' return to Cleveland.

On the other hand, ESPN's David Thorpe likes the Bulls to win the East. Theoretically, the Bulls match up pretty well with the Cavs, as Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah can check Kevin Love while Jimmy Butler guards LeBron. If Derrick Rose is healthy come May we may well have an epic playoff series. Of course it's all speculation at this point, but until training camp gets going in October, well, that's where we are.