ESPN.com has made its summer picks for the Eastern Conference champions this coming season. Surprisingly, 32 of 53 voters chose the Cavs.
Personally, I think Boston is the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. Further, I think the Magic are the second best team in the East.
Cavs: 32 votes
Celtics: 13 votes
Magic: 8 votes
All three teams have added big pieces this summer to gear up for the coming season. Cleveland added Shaq, re-upped Varejeo, and signed Jamario Moon, Leon Powe and Anthony Parker. Orlando retained Marcin Gortat, signed Brandon Bass, Jason Williams, and Matt Barnes, and traded for Ryan Anderson and Vince Carter. Boston has signed Rasheed Wallace, Shelden Williams, and Marquis Daniels, while re-signing Glen Davis.
Boston still needs a backup for Rajon Rondo, but the team figures to be incredibly tough upfront. The addition of Wallace gives the team a proven winner to pair with Kevin Garnett and Perkins. Wallace’s gritty style of play fits the mold up in Boston. With a healthy KG, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Rasheed Wallace, PG Rajon Rondo will have plenty of options to choose from on offense. Defensively, Boston figures to again be one of the premier teams in the entire NBA. KG, Sheed, and Perkins will own the paint and the addition of Marquis Daniels will help defensively on the perimeter.
Aside from the Celtics, Orlando’s great off-season has them ranked second in my head. Carter is a superstar player and a “go to” scorer for that team down the stretch of games. Ryan Anderson gives them a true PF with fantastic 3 point range on his jumper. Anderson fits the style of that team extremely well. Brandon Bass gives the Magic an element that it sorely lacked last year. His rebounding prowess and his pure PF style will complement Dwight Howard well.
It is still early for these types of predictions, but it is interesting to think about. Who is your pick to win the Eastern Conference?