ESPN.com published their predictions yesterday for how each team will finish in the Eastern Conference next season. Their construction of this forecast included a survey of one hundred basketball writers and contributors across a broad spectrum of ESPN affiliated networks. The end result pegged the Cleveland Cavaliers at 33-49 overall, good for a 10th place finish in the Eastern Conference during the 2012-13 season.
In last year's lockout shortened season, the Cavs finished with a winning percentage of .318 (21-45). That win/loss percentage in an 82-game season would calculate out to a record of approximately 26-56. ESPN is projecting then, that Cavaliers will be seven (7) games better this time around, finishing ahead of five teams instead of only two.
Cleveland closed the book on the 2011-12 campaign with better overall records than only the Washington Wizards and Charlotte Bobcats out East. ESPN's 10th place prediction in 2012-13 includes better year-end win totals than Washington (12) and Charlotte (15) again, along with the Toronto Raptors (11), Detroit Pistons (13) and Orlando Magic (14). Four wins ahead of the Cavaliers in 9th place were the Milwaukee Bucks. Seven games better, and securing the 8th and final playoff spot, were the Atlanta Hawks.
In summary, ESPN is suggesting, generally, that (Kyrie Irving in his 2nd season + Tristan Thompson in his 2nd season) + (Dion Waiters + Tyler Zeller) - (Antawn Jamison + Anthony Parker) + (CJ Miles) - (Maybe Ramon Sessions) = 7 more wins. A statement I can't really argue with too much. I'm not going to make my win total prediction until the end of training camp, but right now I'd have to admit this sounds pretty fair.
I hope the Cavaliers are a team that competes for a playoff spot this season. I think a 10th place finish would indicate the fact that they did that. In the very least, they would be in the race for a good portion of the year, which I think is important. It also suggests that it's not the craziest thing ever to think the Cavaliers could end up with the 8th seed. Seven more wins (to match the Hawks) than was expected - certainly not the unthinkable leap of Charlotte or Orlando getting in. But looking at the eight projected playoff teams on this list, as well as the Bucks who aren't, playoff basketball in Cleveland will be a challenge.
I think the Brooklyn Nets are extremely over-rated at 5th on this list. After that though, these six teams that ESPN has in the playoffs are definitely playoff teams: Heat, Celtics, Pacers, Bulls, Sixers & Knicks. After that, BK and ATL certainly would be the next two favorites to get in. Then Milwaukee and Cleveland. For right now, I'll take that.
@BowersCLE 28 wins and I shed a tear over the lottery entry. http://t.co/KeOiEozL
@BowersCLE do you think being an 8 seed could be detrimental to this team? Another lotto pick couldn't hurt.
I thinks that's a little to high in my opinion. The Cavs are not better than the Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, or even the Toronto Raptors. I see them actually much lower with how stacked the Eastern Conference has gotten. They'll be lucky enough to get 25 wins with the team they currently have.
@BowersCLE I said 36 wins when I saw the schedule. ESPN has them at 33 wins. We're all in the same range. Playoffs?
@EdTheRevelator no I don't think playoff experience for the group of Kyrie, Tristan, Dion, Tyler & others would be a bad thing
@WayneEmbrysKids @bowerscle did u guys hear RBS this morning? Rizzo wants LeBron back if it means a title :(
@WayneEmbrysKids yeah I'm in that same range too. They have ATL at 40 wins in 8th spot, would be tough to pass them + one other team
@BowersCLE I'm on the fence. I just think this season might be fun. Probably not a ton of winning, but exciting hopefully.
@JDean330 @BowersCLE Oh? That's interesting that someone thinks they can guarantee a title by adding one player.
@BowersCLE @DOL17 @JDean330 feel free to use my exchange with the Parker family today if you want to pepper the rant with extra awesome.
@JDean330 @wayneembryskids @bowerscle Sounds like I need to get on Stepien Rules for an ol' fashioned Irish influenced rant
@DOL17 @WayneEmbrysKids @BowersCLE Dion IS that good and Zeller will be a stud with Kyrie as well. Varejao is a win/win situation
@WayneEmbrysKids @bowerscle @jdean330 Brendan what's say I finally hop across the pond,ask Danny G will he hire me as Dion's eh, life coach?
@DOL17 @BowersCLE @JDean330 not sure what $10 is worth in Ireland money, but probably like half a beer. #BeerIndex
@DOL17 @BowersCLE @JDean330 How about someone follows Dion Waiters around every day to check his physical fitness/diet??
@WayneEmbrysKids @bowerscle @jdean330 or how Tristan will be LaMarcus Aldridge(ish) 2.0 and Dion actually is that good
@BowersCLE @JDean330 Agree with that 100%. I'd rather hear about how Josh Smith's contract lines up perfectly with Boobie/Varejao
@JDean330 @WayneEmbrysKids talking LeBron in CLE right now w/ respect to the Cavaliers lacks creativity I think
@WayneEmbrysKids @bowerscle I was shocked Rizzo of all people, would want him back. People arent satisfied with Kyrie being our new star yet
@WayneEmbrysKids @bowerscle @_believeland @theatrejay I bet if we could get JJ back Lebron would opt out and come back
@theatrejay @BowersCLE one of the best nicknames in Cleveland Sports History. Going to be using it more often starting now.
@WayneEmbrysKids @BowersCLE if Zeller is even a reliable backup, and varejao is healthy, i see them trading Wild Thing.
@BowersCLE @theatrejay what if Zeller is awesome enough to trade Varejao and his valuable contract too? Lot of cap space they could take on
@theatrejay @BowersCLE If Boobie Gibson plays well enough to generate trade value, tough to hang on to him. No role really.
@WayneEmbrysKids @demeatloaf me too. Hope they compete for playoff spot as constructed. Don't mind course including 8th seed that way
@demeatloaf @BowersCLE Danny Ferry better not land the Hawks in that 8th seed or he seriously slows his rebuild. No half measures.
@demeatloaf @BowersCLE I'm gonna wait and see what the possibilities are/how Waiters develops/if Varejao is healthy/what Zeller can do