1.) Cleveland: They can win this division and will get home court. The young players around LeBron mean less coasting and resting up for the playoffs. They will have fun throughout the season and compete for a really good record.
2.) Indiana: They were the number 1 seed in the playoffs a year ago and can get home court. The second place winner in this division will definitely get a top 4 seed.
3.) Chicago: Now is when things get interesting. There are 3 teams in this division who can come out the East, but whoever finishes 3rd can't be higher than 5th place in the East.
4.) Detroit: Stan Van Gundy is back and is once again coaching the best center in the Eastern Conference. They will have a chance at the playoffs.
5.) Milwaukee: Jabari Parker can be rookie of the year and get 20 ppg next year. He is in a perfect situation with long players like Greek Freek, John Henson, and Larry Sanders to hide his defensive flaws. They will make noise, but I don't think they are ready yet.
1.) Toronto: The gang is back together for a full season without Rudy Gay. This is a 50 win team.
2.) Brooklyn: They are getting older and are dealing with a coaching change again. I don't see them competing for a playoff spot.
3.) New York: Phil Jackson can make them better in the future, but for now they won't be relevant.
4.) Boston: They have a lot of talented point guards, but won't be competing for the playoffs. Could Rondo be on his way out soon?
5.) Philadelphia: This is a 15 win team and they are proud of it. Their young players may show flashes, but they won't get a lot of wins yet.
1.) Washington: The Wizards were 2nd in the division last year and the Heat just lost LeBron James. Dwyane Wade is getting older and Beal may pass him as soon as next season. They are bringing back the majority of a starting lineup that was one of the best in the NBA last year. They will still have a top 10 defense under Randy Wittman. Once Andre Miller solidified this team's search for a competent back up point guard, the Wizards had the winning percentage of a 50 win team. They have the best backcourt in the NBA and should have two all stars in John Wall and Bradley Beal. Wall can average 20 and 10 and Bradley Beal is ready for breakout in his 3rd year after getting experience in the playoffs and with Team USA. This is the team to beat in this division.
2.) Miami: Oh how the mighty have fallen. Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh will compete, but the talent just isn't around them. I expect them to have a bunch of guys on short contracts to position themselves for the 2015 and 2016 free agent class. This is still a team to be reckoned with now that they have Chris Bosh back.
3.) Atlanta: 2nd year in Coach Bud's system. They have an all star front court, an athletic point guard, and one of the best shooters in the league in Kyle Korver. They have great shooting throughout their roster and a nice bench. They will be a solid playoff team.
4.) Charlotte: They have the core of a team that was elite defensively last year. Their young players are getting better and they added a guy who could have gone top 5 in a deep draft class. They have cap space and are well positioned for the future. This is a team that could pass the Wizards in the future, but I don't think that future is now.
5.) Orlando: Young team with a lot of talent. However, I don't think they are ready for the leap next year.
Now to put these teams in order of how I think they will finish in the East:
1.) Cleveland Cavaliers: 62-20
2.) Washington Wizards: 57-25
3.) Indiana Pacers: 56-26
4.) Toronto Raptors: 51-31
5.) Chicago Bulls: 54-28
6.) Miami Heat: 49-33
7.) Atlanta Hawks: 44-38
8.) Charlotte Hornets: 41-41
I think the Wizards have a chance to surprise people and get 57 wins like the Nuggets 2 seasons ago. They will be the surprise team in the NBA and will be in the conference finals. This Washington Wizards sqad has a chance to be the best basketball team DC has seen in over 30 years. Go Wizards!