Preseason prediction: Bulls to come out of East

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Editor's note: We asked our panel of NBA experts, "Who will win the Eastern Conference?"

1. Chicago Bulls (8 votes)

Henry Abbott, ESPN.com's TrueHoop: I say Chicago, while banishing from my mind the ugly pictures of how they lost in the playoffs last season.

Jemele Hill, ESPN.com: If Kobe winds up playing for the Bulls, I'll quickly go from liking this pick to loving it. The Bulls are young, talented and deep.

John Hollinger, ESPN.com: Their upgrades at power forward remove the Bulls' last obstacle to winning this improving-but-still-weak conference.

Keith Lipscomb, ESPN.com Fantasy: Why not? Not many thought the Cavs would do it last season, and these Bulls are a more complete team than that Cleveland squad.

Chris Palmer, ESPN Mag: Back to the Finals for the first time in 10 years. With or without Kobe.

Jack Ramsay, ESPN Radio

Chris Sheridan, ESPN.com: Methinks Kobe will be wearing red and black by the end of November, with Chicago surrendering Luol Deng, Ben Gordon and Tyrus Thomas. Then they'll beat the Pistons in seven for the East title.

David Thorpe, Scouts Inc.: Cleveland won with defense and rebounding last season, and I think the Bulls have the best roster for that kind of performance this go-round. Joakim Noah and Thabo Sefolosha could become major sparks off the pine, with Thomas growing into a solid role.

2. Detroit Pistons (6 votes)

J.A. Adande, ESPN.com

Jon Barry, ESPN: Hate to say it, but it's hard to look at that roster and not think they can win.

Ric Bucher, ESPN Mag: It all depends on Sheed.

Chad Ford, ESPN.com: This may be the last chance for guys like Chauncey Billups, Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess. Expect them to make the most of it.

Scoop Jackson, ESPN.com Still the most complete, polished, experienced and savvy team in the East. The passion will return in May.

Jalen Rose, ESPN: They won't have the best record, but this is really the only consistent team in the East the past few seasons. I see them having a potential big four (with Antonio McDyess thrown in). They have the experience to get it done.

3. Boston Celtics (4 votes)

Chris Broussard, ESPN Mag

Mark Jackson, ESPN:
Jersey's a sleeper team, capable of advancing. Detroit, Chicago and Miami with Shaq and Wade will make it a battle in the East. Cleveland is going to have a tough season. (All predictions scrapped if Kobe traded to Bulls.)

Marc Stein, ESPN.com: You probably know my line by now: This ain't 1987, it's 2007. Three stars and a just a little bit of help, in this East, can indeed add up to a conference title.

Kiki Vandeweghe, ESPN: In a seven-game series, you've got to be really good to beat those three superstars, all in their prime.