Yesterday we tackled the Atlantic division and now let’s try to look at the Central Division teams
Chicago Bulls (41-41)
New Acquisitions: Jannero Pargo and Jerome James
Rookie/Rookies: James Johnson 1st round (16th pick) and Taj Gibson 1st round (26th pick)
When General Manager John Paxson declared that the Bulls are keen on keeping a defensive minded team it was clear that they are letting Ben Gordon go and keeping NBA’s All Defensive second team guard Kirk Hinrich. Drafting two athletic forwards in 6-foot-8 Johnson and 6-foot-9 Gibson gives them not only a bigger but also a defensive type of team with Gibson named as Defensive player of the year in 2008-09 adding Jannero Pargo in the mix gives Chicago stability and a more up-tempo offense. All in all Chicago is becoming the dark horse in the Eastern division not to mention they are still such a young team with Derek Rose leading the pack.
Cleveland Cavaliers (66-16)
New Acquisitions: Jamario Moon, Shaquille Oneal, Anthony Parker and Leon Powe
Rookie/Rookies: Christian Eyenga Moenge 1st round (30th pick) and Danny Green 2nd round (16th pick)
Being NBA’s no.1 team going to the playoffs and having the coveted MVP honors, Lebron James is close to getting his first NBA championship but it seems it wasn’t close enough with Dwight Howard blocking its way. King James needs help and GM Danny Ferry was put in panic mode when James is unhappy… 2010 is just around the corner and the Cavaliers will have to keep their franchise superstar in any other way. Then came Shaq the 7-foot-1, 325lbs 37 year old veteran who’s dominance are clearly fading but at his frame even if he goes stationary he still can give driving players second thoughts. He doesn’t command the double team like he used to but still he provides the muscle and the reliable big man King James is looking. Adding veterans and dependable players like Jamario and Leon Powe who defends very well and Parker who is a known scorer makes Cleveland a deeper bench. The Cavaliers is looking ahead to a championship run and with all the pieces of the puzzle in place there won’t be any excuses this time.
Detroit Pistons (39-43)
New Acquisitions: Ben Wallace, Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva and Chris Wilcox
Rookie/Rookies: Austin Daye 1st round (15th pick) and Dajuan Summers 2nd round (5th pick)
The biggest offseason decision they have significantly done would definitely not extending Iverson’s contract and getting Ben Gordon in return. I don’t have anything against AI but I think being with him limits the growth of his fellow teammates. He doesn’t want to be off the bench, he doesn’t like to practice and he puts a team in limbo. They will be having a new coach this season John Kuester and will have Big Ben Wallace back in the Piston’s uniform. Austin Daye would definitely one of the draft’s steal with his height and agility his lanky frame similarly looks like Tayshaun Prince. The Pistons are still a rebuilding team but I won’t be surprise to see them in the playoffs.
Indiana Pacers (36-46)
New Acquisitions: Dahntay Jones, Solomon Jones and Earl Watson
Rookie/Rookies: Tyler Hansbrough 1st round (13th pick) and A.J. Price 2nd round (22th pick)
Tyler benefited 4 years in college and led the North Carolina Tar Heels to the 2009 National championship but with all the accolades Tyler slid down to no.13 in the draft it’s because he is an undersized power forward. He has a very good work ethic but I don’t think he can power his way against a Kevin Garnett or a Dwight Howard but Larry Bird sees himself in Tyler and believes he will be a good player someday. The Pacers got Dahntay Jones to get help from the 2 position with Mike Dunleavy’s recurring injury. Will the Pacers be a title contender this year? Definitely not but given the time they will be… question would be how much time?
Milwaukee Bucks (34-48)
New Acquisitions: Kurt Thomas, Carlos Delfino, Roko Ukic, Earl Watson, Hakim Warrick and Walter Sharpe
Rookie/Rookies: Brandon Jennings 1st round (10th pick) and Jodie Meeks 2nd round (11th pick)
The Jennings incident gives an impression of his confidence… hate him or love him he is still a great player with great speed. But in Scott Skiles system he would have to learn the fundamentals of defense having no experience in college basketball Brandon will have to focus more on guarding tall and strong guards rather than his razzle-dazzle moves. Newest edition Carlos Delfino will give the Bucks some toughness but you have to question their abundance in the guard position… drafting Meeks and now with Delfino. The Bucks lacks the inside post presence of a big man with Andrew Bogut not reaching to his full potential I could see a possible trade within the next few weeks but based on their initial line-up it’s still puzzling to know what coach Skiles is setting up. This is still a rebuilding team and I guess this season they are still up to it.
to be continued…