Eastern Conference Listed in predicted order of finish, along with last season's record and head coach.

Eastern Conference Listed in predicted order of finish, along with last season's record and head coach.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

[1]Chicago Bulls

1st. Central {vbar} 49-33 {vbar} Scott Skiles

The Bulls weren't able to address their need for low-post scoring in the offseason, which translates into an expanded role for Tyrus Thomas. Thomas's focus is inconsistent, but he possesses game-changing energy and athleticism.

[2]Detroit Pistons

2nd. Central {vbar} 53-29 {vbar} Flip Saunders

Rasheed Wallace is the Pistons' barometer, and his implosion in Game 6 of the conference finals exemplifies their collapse against Cleveland. Wallace lost 25 pounds in the offseason and is determined to restore the crown in Detroit.

[3]Boston Celtics

1st. Atlantic {vbar} 24-58 {vbar} Doc Rivers

Kevin Garnett's arrival has revived hopes for the franchise's first title since 1986, but to secure his Hall of Fame credentials, Garnett has to win more than two playoff series in his career. With Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, he has considerable help and no more excuses.

[4]Washington Wizards

1st. Southeast {vbar} 41-41 {vbar} Eddie Jordan

Gilbert Arenas has declared this season "The Takeover: Reloaded," but he should call it "The Bank Account: Fully Loaded." He plans to opt out of his contract for a maximum contract next summer. But for the Wizards to succeed, Arenas has to prove that he can still explode off his surgically repaired left knee and commit to more than one end of the floor.

[5]Cleveland Cavaliers

3rd. Central {vbar} 50-32 {vbar} Mike Brown

Drew Gooden should be entering his prime, and with Anderson Varejao's contract holdout spilling into the regular season, the pressure is on Gooden to elevate his game -- and stay on the floor, sometimes at center. Gooden got rid of that patch of hair on his neck, so the focus should be strictly on his performance this season.

[6]New Jersey Nets

2nd. Atlantic {vbar} 41-41 {vbar} Lawrence Frank


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