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ESPN projects Cavs as the top team in the East

For the second straight year, ESPN has the Cavs at the top of its' Eastern Conference projections.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

According to's Summer Forecast, the Cavs are projected to finish first in the Eastern Conference standings.

The 59 wins projected for the Cavs this year are six more than they won the previous year and nine wins higher than both the Chicago Bulls (ranked second in the projections) and the Atlanta Hawks (third) are picked to finish with.

The defending Eastern Conference champions return nearly their entire roster from the previous season, pending Tristan Thompson's contract situation and J.R. Smith's free agent decision/holdout, and have added veterans Mo Williams and Richard Jefferson to increase their depth on the wings.

In last year's Summer Forecast, the Cavs were projected at the top of the East with 56 wins, one spot and three wins shy of the actual Cavs' spot in the standings and actual wins. Of course, they didn't account for a 19-20 start, a two-week vacation for LeBron James and deciding if it was better to fit in or fit out.