NBA Predictions 2011: Predicting the Eastern Conference Finals Matchup

Hayden KimCorrespondent IIIDecember 9, 2011

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 26:  Dwyane Wade #3 (R) of the Miami Heat looks on agains Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 26, 2011 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The Heat won 83-80. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

In spite of what has occurred in the last 24 hours, thankfully there is a season to look forward to. Maybe we can all use this promising season to try and forget what has turned into one of the most idiotic moves by an NBA commissioner, possibly in the history of the game. What a nice way to start the celebration by having a season, right?  

Well, for those of you have already forgotten what was an interesting NBA playoffs to say the least, here is a refresher about the final four teams that made it to the 2010-11 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals: the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks.

It feels as though the Miami Heat wanted so badly to be back in the NBA finals, but as most of you know, nothing is guaranteed, especially with free agency rumors in the air. 

You've probably heard that the Miami Heat are—not surprisingly—the odds-on favorite to win this year's title, and with the addition of a gritty veteran in Shane Battier, the Heat just got that much better.

But will the Heat simply follow what looks to be a sure cut prediction to make the NBA finals once more? Well, they are going to have to earn it again, that's for sure.

The team that many are overlooking is the Chicago Bulls, which had arguably one of their best seasons in the last five years. Derrick Rose has risen to stardom and with legitimate role players in Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng, the Bulls could be the team standing in the way of the Heat's quest to win an NBA title.

For this reason, the Eastern Conference Finals will most likely consist of a Bulls-Heat rematch going in the Heat's favor.

Taking injuries, team issues, team improvement, individual performance, etc, the Bulls and Heat are among the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

But if the two teams meet in the finals once more, the edge has to go the Miami Heat. The Heat are simply packed with talent and veterans—who are in for not the long haul, but short run—and that mixed in with a year together under their belts, the Heat are coming back even more dangerous than last year.

In addition to the Heat most likely to come into this season even better than last year—no not because of LeBron's interview with ESPN's Rachel Nichols—do not forget what Battier can bring to the table. He is a formidable outside shooter, can lock-down most small forwards in the league today, has many years of experience, and most importantly, he brings a certain persona as a leader on the court. A great personality may, or may not matter, but why not?

The Bulls, on the other hand, are coming back for the most part the same. Besides the fact that they have now played some years together as a team, nothing has changed too much, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.

The Heat and the Bulls were and are still one of the biggest threats in the NBA, so in essence, there really wasn't too much reason to change what is already working. Of course they can acquire a free agent before the season begins, but don't expect to see too much change, just a loaded Bulls team to be locked and ready to go when the time comes.

This is a very simple and broad prediction of who will make the Eastern Conference Finals season. Anything can happen in any given season, especially a shortened one, but why not a Bulls and Heat rematch? Isn't that what all of us want to see?