2009-2010 NBA Preview - Central Division

The Cavaliers should have this division won by March.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs didn't really improve the team this offseason. They added Shaquille O'Neal and Anthony Parker, two new starters who won't raelly make a difference. Shaq could end up being a hinderance. But they have the, at worst, second best basketball player in the world and an easy conference. They know how to win (in the regular season at least) and should be penciled in for another 60 wins. What they do in the playoffs this time around is what matters though...

2. Chicago Bulls. The Bulls are such a difficult team to figure out. All throughout this decade, it looked like they were on the verge of becoming a very good team, only to level off and fall back out of the playoffs. On paper, this team looks as good as ever. They have a great young rookie point guard, several talented wing players, and a group of talented big men with varying complimentary games. But they still lack a superstar. A bunch of jump shooting role players can only take you so far. They will continue to be a 45-50 win team until they can get that stud. Maybe Rose will become that guy.

3. Detroit Pistons. Joe Dumars is the most overrated GM in the league. He did assemble a team that won one championship, I will give him that. But he also drafted Darko over Carmelo, which in my opinion, cost him one or two more championships. Then this offseason, I'm just baffled. He gave up his best player for Iverson, which backfired. But that's okay, because he got cap space out of the whole mess. Now, it's good that he didn't want to be like all other teams and hold onto his money for the class of 2010. But spending it all on Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva? What? I can't see this roster really doing anything. Maybe scrapping together 40 wins. I feel kind of bad for Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince, the two holdovers from the glory days. Not counting Ben Wallace, of course, who somehow is still getting checks from NBA teams.

4. Indiana Pacers. The Pacers have talent. Danny Granger has become one of the 10 best players in the NBA. Troy Murphy had a great season. Roy Hibbert showed a lot in his limited playing time last year. But they just have way too many holes to really make any noise. The brawl at the Palace years ago gutted this team of talent, and it's going to take a strong rebuilding process to get them to the level they are acustomed to. And getting a pick in the 10-15 range every year isn't going to help that. They need to bottom out first.

5. Milwaukee Bucks. Maybe I'm wrong but this is a front office that doesn't seem to care. Maybe they feel burned by signing Andrew Bogut and Michael Redd to big contracts, only to see them unable to stay healthy. They gave up Richard Jefferson for nothing and used their first round draft pick on a point guard who isn't ready. Their 2008 first round pick was completely useless. This is the team I think will have the worst record in the NBA in 2009-2010, and no one will really seem to care.

All Central Team

C - Shaquille O'Neal, Cavaliers
PF - Troy Murphy, Pacers
SF - LeBron James, Cavaliers
SG - Michael Redd, Bucks
PG - Derrick Rose, Bulls

MVP - LeBron James, Cavaliers
Rookie of the Year - Taj Gibson, Bulls (again, not much to choose from)
Coach of the Year - Mike Brown, Cavaliers
Most underrated player - Anthony Parker, Cavaliers
Most overrated player - Ben Gordon, Pistons

Jonathan Carrano

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