We are still over a month away from training camp but ESPN.com is getting a head start at projecting next season's East standings. As part of their Summer Forecast Series, ESPN.com projects the Atlanta Hawks to finish as the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference. In case you need any reminding that is the exact same position the Hawks finished last season.
The Summer Forecast Series is conducted by a panel of writers and bloggers who apparently see quite a bit of separation in the Eastern Conference. Miami unsurprisingly is rated No. 1 and is expected to capture 60 wins. They are followed by in order Chicago, Indiana, Brooklyn and New York. Atlanta leads the second tier of Eastern teams and is projected for a 40-42 season. Personally I don't see the gap as quite that wide and doubt that the 6th, 7th and 8th seeds in the East will all have losing records.
Still some of the bottom dwellers in the Eastern Conference have improved and that could make for a competitive season and quite a battle for the final playoff spots. ESPN.com projects the Washington Wizards and the Cleveland Cavaliers as the 7th and 8th seeds in the East one game behind Atlanta. Detroit finishes ninth and misses the playoffs by one game.
In August these projections don't mean a whole lot but they are fun to talk about.
Exit Question: Where do you see the Hawks in next season's standings? What about the rest of the Eastern Conference?