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ESPN's RPM predicts Pistons finish 4th in the East

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Cleveland, Boston and Toronto are predicted top three but RPM has the Pistons in striking distance to make a push to the top.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

For those who aren't familiar, ESPN developed a statistical prediction system called RPM (real plus-minus) a little while back. From Kevin Pelton and ESPN Insider:

RPM was developed by Jeremias Engelmann and Steve Ilardi to estimate a player's on-court impact on team performance, measured in net point differential per 100 offensive and defensive possessions. RPM takes into account teammates, opponents and additional factors. When used along with playing time projections, it's proved to be a very accurate predictive tool overall.

This very system was just used to predict this year's win totals in the Eastern and Western Conferences, and the Pistons came out looking pretty good, fourth in the East in fact, and just barely trailing both the second and third spots and in striking distance of the number one spot.

Here's what they came up with in projected wins.

1. Cleveland: 52.1

2. Boston: 49.8

3. Toronto: 48.8

4. Detroit: 47.5

5. Washington: 41.4

6. Charlotte: 41

7. Milwaukee: 40.9

8. Indiana: 38.9

9. Atlanta: 38.6

10. Miami: 38.3

11. Chicago: 37.8

12. Orlando. 36.2

13. New York: 34.7

14. Brooklyn: 28.8

15. Philadelphia: 24.5

There are some real eye openers there besides Detroit in fourth: Washington and Milwaukee making the playoffs, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago and New York not.

What are your thoughts? Which team's placement on this list surprised you the most? Could the Pistons dare to challenge the Cavs for the #1 spot? Discuss in the comments below.