The Atlantic Division during the off season showed little progress in getting significant players to boost up their teams. Aside from Chicago, the Milwaukee Bucks would be a big surprise on this division. They gave up their ailing center, Andrew Bogut for a much quicker and better team. Indiana could give Chicago a run for their money with the whole team intact while adding up 2008’s first round, ninth overall pick DJ Augustin.
Let’s go over each team as we start the second of our six-part NBA 2012-2013 preview.
The Central Division
New Acquisitions: Marco Belinelli, Andre Emmet, Kyrylo Fesenko, Kirk Hinrich, Marko Jaric, Nazr Mohammed, Vladimir Radmanovic and Nate Robinson.
Rookies: Ryan Allen and Marquis Teague
The Bulls have learned their lesson well. Losing their all-star MVP, Derrick Rose to a knee injury came out a disaster to them. They need a quality backup point guard and more role players if ever Rose fails to be healthy again. That is why they signed Kirk Hinrich, Nate Robinson, rookie Marquis Teague and even gave Marko Jaric a second chance in the NBA. They lost sweet shooting Kyle Korver and good backup center Omer Asik. However, with Marco Belinelli and Nazr Mohammed filling in the gap, the Chicago Bulls could very well be the team to beat in the Central division.
New Acquisitions: Kelenna Azubuike, Jon Leuer, CJ Miles and Jeremy Pargo.
Rookies: Kevin Anderson, Michael Eric, Justin Holiday, Kevin Jones, Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller.
Cleveland came out sleeping in the offseason, mainly because going after Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum is just a long shot to the moon. It would be unlikely for teams like Orlando to settle on Kyrie Irving and a bunch of role players. That would never happen, so Cleveland’s focus on what they do best… rebuilding. Antawn Jamison could have been a good veteran presence on the team. However, they have to let go of him and focus more on developing players like Tristan Thompson and Samardo Samuels. Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller could be a good pickup for Cleveland, but it would depend on how they develop throughout the season. This team has low expectations so losing won’t be a problem.
New Acquisitions: Jonny Flynn, Corey Maggette and Terrence Williams
Rookies: Andre Drummond, Kim English, Viacheslav Kravtsov, Khris Middleton and Kyle Singler
Detroit came out really strong in the off season by signing Maggette and Williams, both are athletic and strong forwards who can really score. Andre Drummond could very well be a good rookie of the year candidate, and Kyle Singler can put up quality minutes. This team is still finding their identity as they go through the whole process of rebuilding. However, expect to have a roster shift early in the season as Detroit has already 6 small forwards in their roster. Tayshaun Prince could be likely the traded.
New Acquisitions: Blake Ahearn, DJ Augustin, Sundiata Gaines, Gerald Green, Ian Mahinmi and Sam Young
Rookies: Ben Hansbrough, Orlando Johnson, Luke Nevill and Miles Plumlee
Indiana with their strong playoff appearance last season doesn’t need to do some big changes on their lineup. They gave big man Roy Hibbert a maximum salary and ended up getting him a solid backup in Ian Mahimni on the Darren Collison trade. They still have David West and Tyler Hansbrough making Indiana as a good solid frontcourt team. Sam Young and DJ Augustin could very well contribute to the team right away, not to mention they still have all-star Danny Granger and rising guard Paul George. This is a playoff team but having to push all the way to the NBA finals is still a puzzle yet to be solve, especially after leading two games to one against Miami last year, and ended up Miami winning the championship.
New Acquisitions: Samuel Dalembert, Marquis Daniels, Joel Przybilla and Alando Tucker.
Rookies: Mustapha Farrakhan, John Henson and Doron Lamb
Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings, this could be one of NBA’s fastest backcourt tandems. Adding up solid and defensive centers who are much healthier than Andrew Bogut in Samuel Dalembert and Joel Przybilla, then Milwaukee is going to be a good playoff contender team. I like Doron Lamb who has a good set of offensive skills. Milwaukee could go as far as the second round in the playoffs, however, that will depend on how healthy they will be throughout the season.
Watch out for part three…