2010-11 Central Division Preview
The Central Division looks totally different than it did last year. I’m willing to bet my last dime that the team that won last season comes in last this season.
1. Chicago Bulls
The Bulls have lots of new toys to with this year. Carlos Boozer will be out due to injury for the early part of the season, but Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer, and CJ Watson should be plenty ready to keep things rolling. Oh, and of course Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng are still around. The Bulls are probably a player or two away from doing any real damage in the conference, but they look much better than they did at the end of last season. And they didn’t look bad then.
2. Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks surprised pretty much everyone when they came out of nowhere and claimed a playoff berth last season. Then they took it a step further by forcing seven games on the Atlanta Hawks. This year, they won’t be catching anyone off guard. They’ve made some good offseason moves and could be even better if they get healthy. It remains to be seen what Andrew Bogut will have to offer coming back from injury this year. Until things get figured out, Brandon Jennings will run the show– sans Luke Ridnour– with Irsan Ilyasova, Drew Gooden, Corey Maggette and company playing their roles.They’ll struggle to get homecourt advantage for the first round of the postseason in the stacked Eastern Conference, but no team signifies the improvement of the East better than the Bucks.
3. Indiana Pacers
Top flight scorer: check. Quality point guard: check. Size in the middle: check. The Pacers are headed in the right direction, but they’re not quite where they need to be. Danny Granger is emerging as a top-20 talent, Darren Collison was good enough last season to make people wonder if the Hornets should trade Chris Paul (they traded Collison instead, go figure) and Roy Hibbert has made great improvements to his game since entering the league. The rest of the roster is questionable, but could be good in a couple of years. I question whether Jim O’Brien’s style of play is going to win many games, but he may not be around depending on the season the Pacers have.
4. Detroit Pistons
Since trading Chauncey Billups, the Pistons have been sinking steadily down the Eastern Conference standings. Joe Dumars has gone about acquiring players who seem to all play the two or the three. Trades are necessary, as is size. And nothing against Rodney Stuckey, but maybe a true point guard. Maybe they can get Billups back from the Nuggets after they trade Carmelo Anthony?
5. Cleveland Cavaliers
Maybe you haven’t heard, but LeBron James took his talents to South Beach to play for the Miami Heat. He left behind a team of players that will struggle to win games. That’s putting it kindly. The best players are Mo Williams, who probably cried into his pillow the night of The Decision, and Antawn Jamison, whose best days are definitely behind him. And they’ll be adjusting to a new coach. Yeah, don’t expect much from the Cavs.