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Ahead of the Pace: NBA Central Division Preview

Posted By Warren Shaw On Oct 19 2012 @ 12:35 pm In NBA | 1 Comment

Pro Sports Blogging  presses on with its NBA Season preview coverage taking a look at the NBA’s Central Division.

Chicago’s recent dominance in the division seems to be at an end as the Bulls will be without their former MVP and perennial All-Star, Derrick Rose. Whether or not the Bulls can hold down the fort and make the playoffs until Rose returns remains to be seen.

Indiana looks to be in the first class seats of this division when taking a quick glance.

Our experts think the Central Division will play out in the following manner:

Logan Williams Picks @LoganWill17 [1]

1.Chicago Bulls

52-30

2.Indiana Pacers 47-35

3. Milwaukee Bucks

41-41

4. Detroit Pistons

35-47

5. Cleveland Cavaliers

28-54

The Bulls will most likely be without Rose until around Christmas time but what a gift to receive and help boost your team just in time to make a run and garner a rhythm to be ready for the playoffs. Even without Rose the Bulls are the favorite and they showed why last year with the significant amount of time they played playing without Rose.

The Pacers success last year was a great story and I feel they will continue to have a solid record and build on their success last year with another playoff appearance.

The Bucks continue to mature and their young core of players will take another step in the right direction but narrowly miss the playoffs.

The Pistons have taken a fall from grace since the days of being a constant contender for the NBA title year in and year out and this will once again be a down year for the boys in blue as their young players continue to find their way in the NBA and try to build their chemistry.

Now for the Cavaliers, Lebron left this franchise in shambles and they have made some nice draft picks the past couple of years but they don’t have much outside of the picks especially with the loss of Jamison to the Lakers. Byron Scott is a good coach and with time he can turn this team around. But the current situation of the team will not lead to a winning record and that may get him fired before the team can turn the corner.

Steven Jones Picks @Stevenjo5 [2]

1. Indiana Pacers

51-31

2. Chicago Bulls 44-38

3. Milwaukee Bucks

37-45

4. Cleveland Cavaliers

33-49

5. Detroit Pistons

28-54

The Pacers sport a cast of known commodities. Their young, unproven Paul George could determine whether the Pacers sink or swim. It’s almost impossible to find two NBA writers who agree on George’s potential, and his wide range of possible futures leaves Indiana with little certainty and plenty of hope.

Picking the Bulls to finish 2nd in the division may actually be too high considering that Chicago lost several valuable bench players and 2011 MVP Derrick Rose. Their big men will defend, but who will score?

Two historically losing gambits for Milwaukee: asking Monta Ellis to share the ball/sacrifice his playing time for the good of the team; and asking NBA players to keep listening to Scott Skiles after about the three-year mark (and this will be his fifth year as the Bucks’ coach).

Everyone is psyched for Year 2 with Kyrie Irving in Cleveland, but his teammates aren’t up to his level yet. Everything depends on whether youngsters Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters develop at a rate commensurate with their high draft statuses.

Detroit’s Greg Monroe headlines a promising front court foundation, but the back court and wing spots have too many gaps to get the Pistons anywhere near .500.

Cal Lee Picks @CLMECCA75 [3]

1. Indiana Pacers

49-33

2. Chicago Bulls 42-40

3. Detroit Pistons

35-47

4. Milwaukee Bucks

33-49

5. Cleveland Cavaliers

28-54

Even though the Pacers statistically finished in the middle of the pack, they were 2 wins from a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals.  The burden of productivity falls on the shoulders of Danny Granger, George Hill, and David West but watch for “Rude Bwoy” Roy Hibbert to post big numbers this season. Pacers take advantage of a weak Central Division and capture their first title since ’04.

The Running of the Bulls will come to an end in 2012…I only meant with the NBA. Spain you’re safe. With Rose being out for most of the year, Coach Thibodeau will have to orchestrate his best coaching work yet and  keep this team in games defensively because offensively they will struggle. Detroit is a team that has a ton of upside.

While I’m not completely sold on Lawrence Frank coaching these guys, Greg Monroe is on the cusp of a breakout year. Remember the name Andre Drummond, power forward from UCONN who will likely play the 5 if he gets the PT. He can be a bully in the blocks.

A few years ago the Central had to “Fear the Deer” but since then the Bucks only see the brake lights of the Pacers and Bulls running wild. This year will be no different. Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings can only do so much, 1st round Pick Henson will be sidelined for the first month and they have no true center to match-up with the rest of the conference.

If the NBA games ended at the 1st half, the Cleveland Cavs would have been one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference in 2011, too bad someone didn’t tell them there’s a second half to be played. Coach Byron Scott will try to squeeze all he can from this young group, and Kyrie will try to be ‘Magic’ Irving-esque to win them some games, but this team isn’t seasoned enough to run with the big dogs in the division.

Sean Eckert Picks  @chefdj409 [4]

1.Indiana Pacers

48-34

2.Chicago Bulls

44-38

3. Milwaukee Bucks

39-43

4. Cleveland Cavaliers

37-45

5. Detroit Pistons

 27-55

This might just be the most muddled division in the NBA.  With Derrick Rose out until? The best team in the Central is Indiana.  The only reason I don’t think that they are a 50-win team is because they will not sneak up on anybody this year.  Other teams know what they do and how good they are. 

The Cavaliers are the dark horse in this division.  With Kyrie Irving entering his second year and multiple impact rookies, including Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller, Cleveland could make some big noise in this mediocre division.

Warren Shaw Picks @Shawsports [5]

1.Indiana Pacers

50-32

2.Chicago Bulls

42-40

3. Milwaukee Bucks

39-43

4. Detroit Pistons

34-48

5. Cleveland Cavaliers

34-48

The Pacers should run away with the division crown, largely in part because of the injury to Bulls’ guard Derrick Rose. Indiana is deep, relatively young, and skilled in the front court with Roy Hibbert and David West. Paul George has opened eyes around the league as a freakish 6’10 shooting guard who can play at both ends. 

Reports on Bulls guard Derrick Rose’s time table to return range from January to March. They have no guarantee Rose comes back as explosive as he we have known him to be if he comes back at all this season. They will have to rely on a defense that was 1st overall in opponents’ points per game last season to carry them through with improved play from Boozer, Noah, and Deng.

In Milwaukee they have arguably the fastest backcourt in the league with Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. Newly wealthy Ersan Illyasova (5-year $40 million deal) and Samuel Dalembert bolster a average front line that should keep the Bucks viable for a final playoff spot.

The Pistons are just playing for respectability hoping Greg Monroe continues to emerge as a potential All-Star alongside Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey. Rookie Andre Drummond should be fun to watch and I expect him to have some JaVale McGee type moments, both good and bad.

The Cavs have a star in Kyrie Irving but I question their decision to pair him with Dion Waiters in their backcourt. Tristan Thompson will get the minutes he will need to develop this year but can he live up to the hype of being the 4th pick a year ago? Other than that not much is happening in Cleveland.

More division and season previews are to come. The Southeast is up next.  Please feel free to comment here or by using #NBAonPSB on Twitter for any questions for our panel.

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[1] @LoganWill17: https://twitter.com/LoganWill17

[2] @Stevenjo5: https://twitter.com/stevenjo5

[3] @CLMECCA75: https://twitter.com/CLMECCA75

[4] @chefdj409: https://twitter.com/chefdj409

[5] @Shawsports: https://twitter.com/ShawSports

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