NBA Preview: Central Division

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Questions also need to be answered in the Central Division.  This a division that is up for grabs since the Bulls’ guard Derrick Rose will be out for a majority of the season.  Will it finally be the Pacers’ turn to seize control, or will another team control the reigns?

Central Division

Milwaukee Bucks – Will Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis be able to coexist as backcourt mates?

These two guards demand so much time with the ball that it makes it difficult to see this as a happy marriage in Milwaukee.  Both Jennings and Ellis are very talented and many predict the Bucks to be a playoff team.  That said, it’s tough seeing this team making any sort of playoff push with the talent left on this roster.  Look for the Bucks to be bottom feeders in the East this year, despite the high level of play by Ellis and Jennings.

Prediction: 35-47; 3rd in the Central, 10th in the East

Chicago Bulls – Can the Bulls keep their heads above water without Derrick Rose?

I want to keep this one short, since I believe my answer deserves a simple explanation.  Tom Thibodeau the best coach in the NBA.  I have no doubt he will be determined to keep this Bulls team focused and on point until Rose’s eventually return, if he does at all.  Chicago has too good of a defense and too good of coaching to not be a contender in the East.  The Bulls will still make the playoffs, with or without Rose.

Prediction: 44-38;  2nd in the Central, 7th in the East

Cleveland Cavaliers – Can Kyrie Irving’s rapid progression bring the Cavaliers closer to a playoff berth?

Kyrie Irving is slowly becoming one of my favorite players in the NBA.  Bias aside, I believe Irving has the talent around him to make the Cavs a serious contender for the final playoff spot in the East this season.  If Irving can get strong production from rookie Dion Waiters, sophomore Tristan Thompson and veteran Anderson Varejao, look for Cleveland to build off of last season and be in contention come April.

Prediction: 33 – 49; 4th in the Central, 11th in the East

Indiana Pacers – How much will the absence of Danny Granger affect the Pacers?

For those who are currently panicking in the Hoosier state, please stop.  Yes, Danny Granger is an elite scorer and has been arguably the best player on the Pacers for the past 4 seasons, but are the Pacers now suddenly depleted of all the talent they have on their roster?  No.  Through the first week of the season, Paul George has emerged as a go to player for the Pacers.  He has proved to be a dangerous threat still after sliding over to the three in Grangers absence. T he new additions of Gerald Green and DJ Augustin will also help shoulder some of the offensive load until Granger returns in late January.  Also, keep in mind that the Pacers also boast one the best frontcourts in the East with Roy Hibbert and David West.  Look for the Pacers to remain on track over the course of the season.

Prediction: 49-33; 1st in the Central, 4th in the East

Detroit Pistons – Can the youth in Detroit mature enough to be a legitimate playoff contender?

While Greg Monroe has emerged as a low post presence in his first two seasons in the league and the backcourt of Stuckey and Knight has begun to show improvement as well, I still think that this team is a year away from contention, proven by their abysmal 0-7 start.  They have too many holes defensively, not enough bench play to support their starting five, and no clear starter at the wing with Prince, Jerebko, and Singer lacking consistency on a nightly basis.  Once Detroit can develop the core of Knight, Monroe and Drummond, Detroit could become a legitimate threat in the East once again.

Prediction; 17 -65; 5th in the Central, 15th in the East

Tommy Randolph

Edited by Drew Agnello

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