Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Central Division NBA Preview

Chicago Bulls - 50-16 record last season. Division Champions. 1st seed in the playoffs. Lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1st Round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

Ideal Rotation: Derrick Rose, Richard Hamilton, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah / Kirk Hinrich, Marco Bellinelli, Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Nazr Mohammed

Storyline/s: Derrick Rose's ACL. Is Luol Deng a capable go-to-guy?

X-Factor/s: Can Kirk Hinrich be the best stand-in that he could be of Derrick Rose?

Prognosis: Missing the playoffs.

Cleveland Cavaliers - 21-45 record last season. Missed the playoffs.

Ideal Rotation: Kyrie Irving, C.J. Miles, Omri Casspi, Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao / Daniel Gibson, Dion Waiters, Alonzo Gee, Tyler Zeller

Storyline/s: The development of Kyrie Irving into a bonafide leader continues under Byron Scott's stewardship. Will the Cavs dangle out Varejao again for future assets?

X-Factor/s: Is Tristan Thompson ready to take the next step? Can Dion Waiters immediately contribute?

Prognosis: Missing the playoffs

Detroit Pistons - 25-41 record last season. Missed the playoffs.

Ideal Rotation: Brandon Knight, Rodney Stuckey, Tayshaun Prince, Jonas Jerebko, Greg Monroe / Will Bynum, Corey Maggette, Kyle Singler, Austin Daye, Jason Maxiell, Andre Drummond

Storyline/s: Can the growth process for these Pistons lead to contending for the bottom end of the playoff picture?

X-Factor/s: Jonas Jerebko was a key cog for the Pistons before he got hurt. Now he's back.

Prognosis: Missing the playoffs.

Indiana Pacers - 42-24 record last season. 3rd seed in the playoffs. Lost to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Ideal Rotation: George Hill, Paul George, Danny Granger, David West, Roy Hibbert / D.J. Augustin, Gerald Green, Tyler Hansbrough, Ian Mahinmi

Storyline/s: With Derrick Rose out, the division can be had. Can the team that finished second take advantage? However, Granger got himself injured, and the Pacers may now just be in the same boat as Chicago.

X-Factor/s: With Granger sidelined, can Paul George unlock the huge potential within him?

Prognosis: Division Champions. Exiting in the Conference Semifinals.

Milwaukee Bucks - 31-35 record last season. Missed the playoffs.

Ideal Rotation: Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Mike Dunleavy, jr., Ersan Ilyasova, Samuel Dalembert / Beno Udrih, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Tobias Harris, Ekpe Udoh, Drew Gooden, Joel Pryzbilla

Storyline/s: The Bucks relatively stood pat in the off-season, their only key move was keeping Ersan around. They did manage to swing a deal for Samuel Dalembert, and drafted John Henson. Is it enough to move up amidst the Eastern flux? The pressure is on for Scott Skiles.

X-Factor/s: Can Tobias Harris make the necessary improvement?

Prognosis: Exiting in the 1st round of the playoffs.

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