Mar 4, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (2) dribbles behind his back against San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Manu Ginobili (20) in the first quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN forecasts Cleveland Cavaliers to finish second to Spurs

The NBA ESPN crew has been rolling out their annual summer forecast posts all week long, and with the week coming to an end, it’s time for them to predict a champion. With the Cleveland Cavaliers recently being projected as the East Champions on Thursday, it was time to see where the Cavs stack up against the Western Conference.

Following the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference predictions were the Chicago Bulls (171), Washington Wizards (28), Miami Heat (19) and the Toronto Raptors (18). The Cavaliers topped all of these teams with 242 first-place votes. Even before Kevin Love the Cavs looked like clear favorites to take the East, but now with him officially in the mix we can start talking championship. It’s been a wild summer for Cleveland fans.

ESPN predicts the Cavaliers to have a turnaround of 23 games, finishing the season like the LeBron days of old with 50-plus wins. They were 10th place in a dismal conference last season. But with one more superstar making his way over, are the tides about to change? As of right now, ESPN doesn’t think so.

The Spurs have been proving everybody wrong season after season, but they’re consistent in regards to producing similar and successful results. So it would be unfair not to go with them this season after they dismantled the Heat’s Big 3 this past summer. In their final Summer Forecast segment the ESPN Forecast panel, they predicted the Cavaliers to finish second to the Spurs, trailing San Antonio 186 votes to 121. Two powerhouse Western Conference teams follow the Cavs: Oklahoma City and the Clippers. OKC, however, is close behind the Cavaliers in the vote tally, trailing Cleveland by six votes.

Out of all the teams on this list the Cavaliers are predicted to have the third-best record, tied with the Clippers. The Thunder, who have owned the regular season but have fallen short in the postseason, are predicted to have the best record at 58-24. With what the Cleveland Cavaliers have done this off-season with hiring a new head coach, bringing in the top player in the league, adding a third wheel to their All-Star wagon and attracting veterans to stick it out for a couple more seasons. The Cavs are ranked rightfully so on this list, but we need to wait and see how things look on the court instead of talking about how they sound.

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