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And here's where the NBA Eastern Conference preview ends! [firstpara] 

CHICAGO BULLS
Coach: Vinnie Del Negro
Projected Starting Five:
PG: Derrick Rose
SG: John Salmons
SF: Luol Deng
PF: Tyrus Thomas
C: Joakim Noah

Key Additions: Jannero Pargo, Taj Gibson (draft), James Johnson (draft)
Key Losses: Ben Godon, Tim Thomas

When the Bulls, with a rookie coach (Del Negro) and a rookie point guard (Rose), battled the undermanned-yet-deadly Boston Celtics in arguably the greatest first round series of the NBA Playoffs history last year, the Bulls were instantly declared the team to watch in the future. Then they lost their leading scorer and clutch hitter Ben Gordon via free agency, and suddenly the outlook grew a bit dimmer. Still, the Bulls have every reason to be optimistic.

Rose has a year under his belt, he's learned the ropes in the NBA, and given his performance in the playoffs—he's more than ready to carry the bulk of the team's scoring load. He's also got help from Salmons, a comebacking Deng, and Ben-Gordon-lite Pargo (who's lit up scoreboards for the New Orleans Hornets as back up Chris Paul some years ago). The post defense will also be there with Thomas and Noah manning the front court. No question, this team's playoff-bound. How does a rematch with the Celtics sound?

Cleveland Cavaliers
Coach: Mike Brown
Projected Starting Five:
PG: Mo Williams
SG: Anthony Parker
SF: LeBron James
PF: Anderson Varejao
C: Shaquille O'Neal

Key Additions: Shaquille O'Neal, Anthony Parker, Jamario Moon, Leon Powe
Key Losses: Ben Wallace, Joe Smith, Sasha Pavlovic, Wally Szczerbiak

In his quest for a ring, reigning MVP LeBron James is now equipped with the biggest help he's ever had. No, we're not just talking about Shaq, Here's a Cavs team that can match up with any team this side of the LA Lakers. They have tall wing defenders (Moon and Powe) to cover the perimeter-oriented bigs. Parker, a prolific gunner from the outside, gives them an option to go big at the 2. He's also an added shooter to a roster that already star Williams, Delonte West, and Daniel "Boobie" Gibson.


WORDS BY: OMAR GLENN BELO

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