The 2012-13 NBA season is still months away, but in their early forecast of next season, ESPN.com projects the Cavaliers to finish 10th in the Eastern Conference.
The forecast projects Cleveland to win 33 games with a .402 winning percentage. That would be a significant improvement over the .318 winning percentage the Cavs posted in 2011-12. The .084 jump in win percentage would be the third largest in the Eastern Conference, according to the ESPN forecast. Only the Brooklyn Nets and Charlotte Bobcats are projected to make bigger improvements than the Cavs.
While the projection would still have the Cavs on the outside of the playoff picture, they would finish just seven games out of the eighth seed, compared to the 14 games out they finished last season.
If Cleveland is going to fufill or even exceed these projections, they will need a healthy Kyrie Irving. Irving, who injured his right hand during the NBA Summer League, expects to be back on the court by early September.