ESPN's Mark Stein places the Bulls at 6th in ESPN's preseason power rankings here:
Notably, Eastern Conference foes ahead of the Bulls are the Heat (1) and the Pistons (5). Following the Bulls are Cleveland (7), Nets (11), Pacers , Bucks, Wizards, and Magic (16-20 respectively).
This seems about right to me. But I think a decent argument can be made that Cleveland should be higher than the Bulls just because they may have the best player in the East, Lebron (although they may have the worst coach). Also, I don't think there is any one team that is head and shoulders above the rest, so any one of the top 4 or 5 teams could end up as conference champs.
Other notables are Tyson's Hornets at #10 (in other words, playoffs), and the 76ers next to last at #29. It's hard to believe that a team with Iverson, Webber, Iguodala, Dalembert, and a guy named Shavlik would be second to last, but it just goes to show the importance of team chemistry.
Orlando is my dark-as-midnight horse to win the East, if only because of the James Augustine draft pickup. er, I mean Travis Diener is due to have a dominating sophomore season. er, no. But I wouldn't be surprised if they made some noise.