NBA Eastern Conf. Central Division Preview
The Central Division in the NBA’s Eastern Conference is the toughest division in basketball with the Pistons, Cavs, Bulls, and Pacers all within an arm’s length of each other. With the Pistons losing Ben Wallace, things get already tighter in the Central this season, but it looks like Detroit nevertheless has enough to take home another Central Division title.
Detroit Pistons: The Pistons lose Big Ben, but they keep their other 4 All-Star quality players (Billups, Hamilton, Wallace, and Prince) and throw Nazr Mohammed, who has more of an offensive presence, into center position. I’m not saying that the loss of Ben Wallace doesn’t move the Cavs, Bulls, and Pacers closer to the Pistons in the Central because it does. But we can’t forget how important of a factor it is that these guys know how to play together. I like Tayshaun Price to have a standout year and for the Pistons to take the top identify in the central once again.
Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavs have gotten better every year since Lebron joined their franchise, but they aren’t quite ready to surpass the Pistons however. Many experts say the Cavs will be already better with a healthy Larry Hughes, but perhaps his absence was the reason for Cleveland’s success. He is a good defensive player, but turnover inclined on offense. The Cavs would assistance more with a pure shooter playing the two-identify. Lebron will be the best player in the league, but will come up just short in the Central.
Chicago Bulls: The Bulls get Big Ben who is just a stronger version of Tyson Chandler, a big athletic defender and rebounder who can’t score. The Bulls will have one of the best defensive units in the league and good thoroughness with Nocioni and Duhan in addition as rookies Tyrus Thomas and Thabo Sefolosha coming off the bench. But what they really need is a number one scoring option to take them on his back in crucial situations. They’ll be playoff bound, but they won’t go far.
Indiana Pacers: Indiana nevertheless hasn’t recovered from the Ron Artest episode or should I say episodes. They are nevertheless talented enough to challenge for the Central title with the likes of O’Neal, Jackson, Tinsley, and the acquisition of Al Harrington, but I don’t see them finishing better than third or fourth. We can count on Tinsley and O’Neal missing time with injuries again this season. They’ll make the playoffs as a seven or eight, but that’s as far as they’ll go.
Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks are a decent basketball team and would probably continue for second place in the Atlantic Division, but they play in the toughest division in the NBA. Milwaukee will lose a step without T.J. Ford, but I’m expecting an already better season out Michael Redd. Andrew Bogut is the Bucks’ future. He won’t be ready to start on opening day and won’t be ready to star in the league this season. The Bucks will find the basement.