Central Division Preview
Our last stop in the Eastern Conference Previews before we head out west is a division where the most desperate team in the conference will sneak into the eight seed. Also, a team that will challenge the best in the conference.
Chicago Bulls: This team has gone from shambles with no direction to stumbling onto a core of players that you can build around for the foreseeable future. Lauri Markkanen and Wendall Carter Jr. will be a frontcourt that can be a playoff bound team or can blow up if they sign a veteran that demands the ball. Overpaying for Zach Lavine is a bad move that in two seasons the team will regret and will desperately try to trade him. Lavine is not a franchise player and shouldn’t be paid like one, he is a good player that shouldn’t get more than 12 million a year. Expect the Bulls to still be terrible but not as bad as Atlanta with a 22-58 record firing Head Coach Fred Hoiberg mid-season will be long overdue.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Stuck with old decisions to keep Lebron James happy the Cavs have a bad roster with contracts that need to go. JR Smith and Tristan Thompson are the greatest examples of this, if you must attach picks or young players to get them off your team then you do it with a clean slate to look forward to. This franchise must move on from Lebron not coming back for the rest of his career moving those players will help with that. Collin Sexton will put up numbers but will take years to see a finished product all while Kevin Love puts up good stats to get into the all-star game. Despite a record of 26-54 the Cavs will at least have something to celebrate as they head to the lottery who needs to blow up this team as its constructed.
Detroit Pistons: This team has built themselves around there front court and that is what the fans will get from the Pistons. Reggie Jackson might lead the league in assists if he is smart passing to Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin cashing in on easy shots. Outside of these three players Detroit is a little bare talent wise with draft picks that haven’t quite worked out and a good coach who knows how to win in Dewayne Casey. Look for Luke Kennard to have a bigger role while Reggie Bullock struggled allowing Kennard to play more minutes during the season. Teams in the East won’t be very good, and this Pistons team will have enough in the tank to have a 42-40 season good enough for the eight seed in the East only to receive an absolute smashing at the hands of the Boston Celtics in round one.
Indiana Pacers: Coming off a surprise playoff bid and taking the Cavs to seven games in the first round of the playoffs the Pacers are looking to progress from a successful season. Led by All-Star Victor Oladipo this will be a playoff this season largely due to the addition of Tyreke Evans who had the best year of his career since his rookie season in Memphis. It’s put up or shut up for Myles Turner who needs to prove to be a cornerstone player or he won’t get re-signed. Indiana will challenge for the division title but fall just short with 47-35 record good enough make the playoffs and lose in the first round.
Milwaukie Bucks: With a new coach who is a big upgrade from Jason Kidd Milwaukie will be division champions. Gone is Jabari Parker who showed he is a good player but not worth the money what it would have taken to be re-signed. Having to rely on Eric Bledsoe and Kris Middleton to pick up the slack for this Bucks team Milwaukie’s offense will be good and not the isolation basketball it was with Kidd as coach. This team is built around Giannis Antetokounmpo who is the best player in the East! The Greek Freak will keep ascending into an elite player with his play and finish third in the MVP voting. Expect Milwaukie to have a record of 48-34 a division title and a first-round exit in a tough series losing in seven games to