Summer Forecast: '09-10 East standings

Updated: September 2, 2009, 11:20 PM ET
ESPN.com

Shaquille O'NealGetty ImagesShaq's muscle should prove helpful to the Cavs' frontline ... and the team's '09-10 outlook in the East.

So far our forecasts have focused on the fun stuff: Rookie of the Year, Best and Worst Newcomers, Team Turmoil, Team Turnaround, Most Valuable Player and the futures of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Amare Stoudemire.

But now we turn our attention to the real nitty-gritty: the 2009-10 outlook for each team.

Our 53 panelists from across ESPN have predicted the number of wins and losses for each team, and today we're providing the average tally for each team in the Eastern Conference.

One important note: The order of finish is more important in these predictions than the exact number of wins and losses. When 53 individuals vote, they will almost never all agree that one team will win as many as, let's say, 65 games or that another team will win only 20 games, even though we know these things happen frequently. Why? Because these are extreme results that happen when pretty much everything goes right or everything goes wrong for a team. The panel collectively takes a more measured view, so the forecasts for wins and losses tend to float toward the middle.

With that in mind, here is what our collective crystal ball reveals:

Predicted Standings for Eastern Conference: 2009-10

Also see: Ford's offseason rankings Insider | Hollinger's East outlook Insider | Player movement


The voters

Henry Abbott (ESPN.com TrueHoop senior writer), J.A. Adande (ESPN.com senior writer), Kevin Arnovitz (ESPN.com TrueHoop Network editor), Andrew Ayres (ESPN.com NBA editor), Jon Barry (ESPN NBA analyst), Bruce Bernstein (ESPN NBA Studio Production), Alfredo Berrios (ESPN Deportes editor), Dwayne Bray (ESPN Studio Production), Jordan Brenner (ESPN Insider editor), Lisa Brooks (ESPN Stats & Information), Maurice Brooks (ESPN.com NBA editor), Chris Broussard (ESPN The Magazine senior writer), Ric Bucher (ESPN The Magazine senior writer), Michael Bucklin (ESPN Interactive Games), Kevin Calabro (ESPN NBA broadcaster), Kevin Conlon (ESPN Stats & Information), Jay Corbin (ESPN The Magazine editor), Chad Ford (ESPN Insider senior writer), LZ Granderson (ESPN The Magazine senior writer), John Hollinger (ESPN Insider senior writer), Jade Hoye (ESPN Multimedia), Michael Jackson (ESPN Stats & Information), Scoop Jackson (ESPN Page 2 columnist), Avery Johnson (ESPN NBA analyst), Eric Karabell (ESPN.com senior writer), Rob King (ESPN.com editor-in-chief), Seth Landman (ESPN Fantasy basketball writer), Tim Legler (ESPN NBA analyst), Nancy Lieberman (ESPN NBA analyst), Keith Lipscomb (ESPN Fantasy basketball analyst), Patricia Lowry (ESPN Studio Production), Mike Lynch (ESPN Stats & Information), Eric Neel (ESPN.com senior writer), Pete Newmann (ESPN Stats & Information), Chris Palmer (ESPN The Magazine NBA writer), Greg Pike (ESPN NBA Studio Production), Chris Ramsay (ESPN.com NBA coordinator), Dr. Jack Ramsay (ESPN NBA analyst), Adam Reisinger (ESPN DB editor), Jalen Rose (ESPN NBA analyst), Bob Salmi (ESPN NBA analyst), Chris Sheridan (ESPN Insider senior writer), Marc Stein (ESPN.com NBA senior writer), Patrick Stiegman (ESPN.com VP/Executive editor), Otto Strong (ESPN The Magazine NBA editor), Mark Summer (ESPN NBA Studio Production), David Thorpe (ESPN Insider NBA analyst), Justin Verrier (ESPN.com NBA editor), Bill Walton (ESPN NBA analyst), Royce Webb (ESPN.com NBA editor), Josh Whitling (ESPN Fantasy Basketball writer), Matt Winer (ESPN NBA anchor) and Matt Wong (ESPN.com NBA editor).