Early (really early) predictions

ESPN.com gathered its NBA “experts” this week for predictions for the upcoming season, and the results were predictable. They say the Lakers will win the West and the Boston Celtics will win the East, with each finishing with 55-27 records. The Lakers will edge the New Orleans Hornets by one game and the Houston Rockets by two. The defending NBA champion Celtics will best the Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers by five games.
The experts suggest the Lakers get tougher and grittier if they hope to win it all this time. The Lakers’ toughness was questioned repeatedly as the Celtics battered them around the basket during the NBA Finals. The experts believe the return of Andrew Bynum from a season-ending knee injury should help in the toughness department.
On a personal note, I can’t find fault with anything in the analysis by the ESPN crew. It doesn’t take injuries or poor performances into account and, hey, it’s still only August and training camps are more than a month away, but it all sounds about right to me.