- Bulls (63-19): The Bulls are my favorite to finish with the #1 seed in the East. Most teams won’t be able to handle their front court of Noah, Gasol, and Gibson. Not to mention Derek Rose looks like he is finally healthy and the explosive player he was before. If Butler can take a step forward this year, the Bulls will be very strong contenders to win the championship.
- Cavaliers (59-23):LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love. With a core like that, it will be championship or bust every single year. I have them at #2 because I do feel like it will take them some time to figure everyone out and how to play together. They also know that the playoffs are all that matters, so resting LeBron during the regular season will happen from time to time.
- Wizards (51-31): The Wizards are also forming quite the team in D.C. John Wall is an All-Star point guard, and Bradley Beal is right there behind him. The addition to Paul Pierce will give the team some more experience and hopefully teach the young core what it takes to be at a Championship level.
- Raptors (50-32): The Raptors took a lot of people by surprise last year, so it will be interesting to see how they play when they are playing with higher expectations. DeMar DeRozen and Kyle Lowry really showed they were more than just good players, but they can carry a team to multiple wins. They will need some help from their supporting cast if they want to make it out of the first round this year.
- Heat (48-34): Even after losing LeBron James in the offseason, the Miami heat still have enough firepower to put together a good regular season record. Chris Bosh will be their go-to player like he was in Toronto, and Dwayne Wade will once again take the leadership role that he gave up when LeBron was there. They will take a step back, but they are still not a team I would want to see in the playoffs given their experience.
- Hornets (44-38): After having many years at the bottom of the league, all of the Hornets high draft picks are starting to put together a formitable roster. With a core of Lance Stevenson, Kemba Walker, and Al Jefferson, they could be a team to watch as long as everyone stays healthy.
- Hawks (41-41): It seems like the Hawks have been in the same situation for a long time. They have very good post play, but don’t seem to get much from their guard positions. The do have the best shooter in the NBA in Kyle Korver, but they will need more consistent production out of the 3 guards to be a real threat.
- Nets (40-42): The Nets are stuck in a position where they went all in a few years ago, and failed. They are now stuck with players who are getting paid more than their production, and can’t afford to add any more pieces. They will not be a threatening team until these contracts expire and are able to spend money on good young talent.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Caleb Boone