51 Questions: Who will win the East?

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PBT is previewing the 2015-16 NBA season by tackling 51 big questions that we can’t wait to see answered once play tips off. We will answer one a day right up to the start of the season Oct. 27. Today’s question:

Which teams make the playoffs, then who wins the East.

Here are our staff predictions:

Kurt Helin:

1. Cavaliers
2. Heat
3. Wizards
4. Bulls
5. Raptors
6. Hawks
7. Bucks
8. Pistons

Eastern Conference Finals: Cavaliers over Wizards

It is the Cavaliers then everyone else in the East. Maybe, if they dial it back to keep LeBron James and others healthy for the playoffs the Cavs can be challenged or beaten for the top seed, but it will not matter come the playoffs if that pays off and everyone is on the floor. I’m higher on Washington than most, I think this is Bradley Beal‘s breakout season, but if the Bulls or Heat make the ECF I’m not going to be surprised. Also, I’m not sold Boston can replicate last season’s success, and I like the Pistons.

Dan Feldman:

1. Cavaliers
2. Bulls
3. Wizards
4. Heat
5. Raptors
6. Hawks
7. Bucks
8. Celtics

Eastern Conference Finals: Cavaliers over Bulls

It’s the Cavs and then everyone else, including the Pistons, Pacers and Hornets, who could compete for home-court advantage. There’s a lot of wiggle room in those lower seeds. I like the Bucks’ and Celtics’ futures, but I’m only lukewarm on their ability to win big yet.

Sean Highkin:

1. Bulls
2. Heat
3. Cavaliers
4. Wizards
5. Hawks
6. Raptors
7. Bucks
8. Pistons

Eastern Conference Finals: Cavaliers over Bulls

I don’t really see the Cavs getting the No. 1 seed in the East — they’re starting off the year with too many key guys injured (Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert are out, and Kevin Love and Timofey Mozgov are still limited), and LeBron is at the point in his career where he needs to seriously think about going on the Dwyane Wade/Tim Duncan plan and sitting out back-to-backs. But even though the Cavs may not have the best regular-season record, if they’re healthy in the playoffs, nobody is on their level.