Either way, the consensus prediction for the Atlanta Hawks proved to be 48 wins, fifth-best in the East. From the editors:
Amazingly, Atlanta has improved for five straight seasons, but our panel says the streak ends here. The Hawks are a solid team that seems stuck in no man's land, having failed to make the conference finals for 40 years -- since the Lakers swept them in the 1970 Western Division finals -- and that probably won't change in 2011.For what it's worth, seven Eastern Conference teams are predicted to finish between 31 and 39 wins (and none to win fewer than 27). That's the nature of this sort of thing. Some team is probably going to win fewer than 20 games in the East but it's difficult to predict which team that will be especially amidst the optimism over off-season acquisitions and the assumption* of good health.
My own first draft of predictions totaled almost 1300 wins (or about 70 too many should there again be just one winner of each NBA game next season). Upon completing and submitting a plausible set of predictions, it turns out I was within a game of the common wisdom for 7 of the East's 15 teams. Interesting? Perhaps. Meaningless? almost certainly.
*I suspect injuries will go a long toward stratifying teams in the Eastern Conference this season.
UPDATE (1:10pm): There is an accompanying poll up now.