Cavaliers & Bulls Set to Battle for Eastern Conference Supremacy

David Lawrence

Thursday, August 21, 2014 10:00 PM GMT

The Cavaliers are listed as betting odds favorites to win the NBA Eastern Conference but they might not be the best team in the East. The Bulls welcomed back former MVP Derrick Rose and acquired Pau Gasol in the offseason which might be enough to make them the team with the best chance to win. 

The Cleveland Cavaliers were the clear winners this offseason as they secured another No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, welcomed back the league’s best player in LeBron James, and then parlayed the top pick Andrew Wiggins and 2013 first-round pick Anthony Bennett to acquire Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves. However, they still might not be the best team in the East just yet. That’s because the Chicago Bulls welcomed back former MVP Derrick Rose and then landed forward Pau Gasol in the offseason and that might be enough to make them the team with the best chance to win the East in 2015.
 

Case For The Bulls
Of course, any chance the Bulls have will depend on the health of Rose after he played in just 49 regular season games over the past three seasons. Rose has looked outstanding at team USA camp over the summer and he will be a force as long as his knees can hold up. The acquisition of Gasol gives Chicago a dominant big man duo as he will team with one of the best rim protectors in the NBA in Joakim Noah. Jimmy Butler has improved every year and is projected to start along with Rose, Gasol, Noah, and Mike Dunleavy. The depth isn’t outstanding, but Taj Gibson and Kirk Hinrich are quality players that will come off the bench. Rookie first-round pick Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic are intriguing assets and the Bulls will have the opportunity to add to this roster throughout the year if they feel they should. Chicago should once again be a solid defensive team under head coach Tom Thibodeau.


Case For The Cavaliers
The Cavaliers’ acquisition of Love gives them a quality big man that can stretch the floor and help take some of the pressure off of LeBron. Love has been ripped for his inability to get Minnesota to the playoffs and a lack of standout defensive play but there is no doubt about his offensive skills and he is primed to put up big numbers as the second option behind King James. Kyrie Irving offers more from the point guard position than LeBron had in Miami and Dion Waiters is an intriguing young scorer that told reporters he has been studying tape of Dwyane Wade in the offseason preparing for LeBron’s arrival. Anderson Varejao will likely join Love up front with Tristan Thompson the first big man off the bench. Cleveland added Mike Miller and Shawn Marion as scoring wings that should fit in nicely and are rumored to be close to signing Ray Allen. If there is one potential weakness this team has it will be its ability to defend down low and there are questions about first-year head coach David Blatt but there is no doubt the Cavaliers’ offense should score in bunches.


The Verdict
Trusting Rose’s health is tough to do when you take in to account his track record and both Gasol and Noah have had nagging issues over the years. When reviewing your NBA picks keep in mind the Bulls could very well beat Cleveland in a playoff series but over the course of an entire season it seems a lot safer to take LeBron and the Cavaliers as the team that will win the Eastern Conference in 2015.

NBA Pick: Cavaliers