Now we see the Sixers face off the Central Division. They have the Pacers, Bulls, Pistons, Bucks, and Cavaliers. The Pacers are probably the best team here with Derrick Rose being out for the Bulls for some time. The Bucks seem to just be wandering around. The Pistons and Cavaliers have some youth and are a few years from being the great teams they used to be in the past few years. And yet I do think the Sixers are better than any of these teams. One note: This division is related to the Sixers more than others as it features Jrue Holiday’s older brother and Andrew Bynum’s cousin.
The Sixers were the last team to face Derrick Rose. In what I thought was a somewhat preventable accident, Rose tore his ACL doing a simple move in game one of the playoffs vs the Sixers. From then on, it was a fight for the series that the Sixers originally had no business winning.
While the Bulls are no longer contenders for the moment, they are still a playoff team in my eyes. They’ll just be on the lower end of the top 8. They brought back Kirk Hinrich, who coincidentally was traded away from the Bulls because of the emergence of Rose. I’ll never get over how odd that is.
They have one of the better Centers in the league in Joakim Noah, and a very good SF in Luol Deng. They’ll still be one of the best defensively but their offense will probably take a negative turn. Carlos Boozer hasn’t been what the Bulls hoped he would be but now’s the time for him to step up his game to prove his worth.
I really don’t think the Bulls should rush Rose back. Even if he comes back for the season, he’ll need the rest of the season to get his grove back. While still being young, can he go back to his MVP form? Many have come back but never could regain what they had. The Bulls need to spend this time finding someone who will really help Rose carry the load when he gets back.
When it comes to Point Guards, the Cavs have a future star, if he’s not a star yet. Kyrie Irving is the bright spot for a franchise that has been through a lot in recent memory. Don’t worry Cavs fans, I won’t mention you know who’s name. Still, this team has some work ahead of them.
Can they make the playoffs? I don’t think so yet. I think they may be in for another lottery year. It won’t really be because they’ll be bad, but again looking at the Atlantic division, and the Pacers and Bulls and Heat taking up most of the available spots, the Cavaliers could end up back in lottery land. And that’s ok.
They have a player on their roster listed twice. Have the Cavaliers found a way to clone players? Probably should’ve cloned Irving…
The Cavs need help in every area really. Again, they are young and they have some people to potentially build a contending core around. And the Sixers shouldn’t have any problem with this team.
I said earlier that the Pacers would probably end up winning the division. They were able to keep key players on their roster while showing improvement. I like the make-up of this team and I have compared them to the Sixers of last year. No superstars on the team but still one of the top teams in the East. Of course, the Pacers were legit and the Sixers eventually had their lovely collapse.
Sixers and Pacers should have some magnificent battles, especially at the Center position. Both big men are big and strong and possibly the two best Centers in the East. I see this team as a top 4 team in the East yet again, mainly because the leader of each division gets a secured spot in the top 4 seeding. But, ignoring that rule and being based off of just record, the Pacers are probably still 4th best in the East. I don’t think they are a contender but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them reach contention mode at some point during the regular season.
The Pistons are in a somewhat similar situation as the Cavs as they have a future star PG along with a young core of guys. For some reason I would prefer having the Pistons’ roster over the Cavs’ because they have a lot of potential at each position. Brandon Knight, Rodney Stuckey, Austin Daye, Jason Maxiell, and Greg Monroe. In a few years that could be serious. They did just draft Andre Drummond who is slated to be pretty good. They have a couple of other players too. The Pistons will be okay.
As it should be with young teams, focus on player development. Don’t worry about the record. Make sure you’re taking the steps needed to win big later. I don’t think they’ll be seeing the playoffs this year or the next. Lottery? Eh, probably.
Sixers are the better team and once again the Sixers shouldn’t have a problem dealing with the Pistons.
The Bucks are in the middle of the pack. They’re not a lottery team but they may miss the playoffs. Their back court is scoring powered with Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings. But they also have Epke Udoh and Ersan Ilyasova. It’s a nice group to build around and again they could make the playoffs.
Sixers should have fun with the Bucks but with all that scoring power up top, I actually think Bucks can pull a win out. Sometimes it’s hard because I almost have no idea how well the Sixers will play together. On paper, the Sixers should be able to defend the Bucks fairly easily. I guess after the pre-season games and seeing Bynum in action (he won’t be playing until the regular season) is when I’ll get an idea.
Welp up next is the Southeast division. Boy that’s a division to look at as they feature the best, and the worst.