Tuesday, October 27, 2009

'09-'10 Preview: Central

Central Division: Much like the Atlantic Division, the Central Division consists of Cleveland and then everybody else. This season will be nothing more than a tune-up for the playoffs for the Cavs, and as long as LeBron is in town that’s the way things will stay. Depending on the maturation of Derrick Rose, the Bulls may be able to add some wins to last season’s tally, but they finished 25 games behind the Cavs in ’08 so thinking they can compete for the division is wishful thinking. The rest of the slop in this division resides in the same 30-40 win range, and expecting anything more would be foolish.

1. Cleveland: Added Shaq in the offseason to attempt to neutralize Dwight Howard in the playoffs. Personally, I don’t think he’ll have too much of an impact on the season’s outcome. Regardless, the Cavs will cruise this season and battle for one of the top seeds in the East.

2. Chicago: If Derrick Rose can elevate his game to superstar status – which is definitely possible considering his playoff performance last season – the Bulls could be decent this year. I still find it hard to root for a team this guy is on. Who knew Doc’s boy, John Salmons, averaged 18.3 ppg last season? Not me.

3. Detroit: Added Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva to the roster in the offseason. The Pistons now will be playing with a 3-guard rotation consisting of Gordon, Rip Hamilton, and PG Rodney Stuckey. Stuckey is the only PG of the three, so I’d expect him to get a majority of the minutes. They should be better than last season, but not great.

4. Indiana: Tyler Hansborough will try to prove that he’s the NBA’s great white hope – doubt it. He’s listed right now as the 3rd PF on the Pacers behind Troy Murphy and Josh McRoberts. I don’t see this ending well.

5. Milwaukee: Wow. They suck. Check out this lineup.

Players to Watch - Derrick Rose…see above. Pistons Guards: It will be interesting to see how the 3-guard rotation works out – they definitely have some talent there but we’ll see how they mesh. Shaq: I don’t think he makes a huge difference. We’ll see.

Player to Hate: Joakim Noah – do a Google image search on him and tell me you don’t want to punch him in the face.

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