2010 NBA Off Season Recap: Central Division

There will be monstrous changes in this division, as the Cavaliers are going to fall off the edge of a cliff, and the Bulls finally have some star power and stability.

1. Chicago Bulls

C - Joakim Noah, Omer Asik
PF - Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson
SF - Luol Deng, James Johnson
SG - Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver
PG - Derrick Rose

The Bulls didn't land any of the big three, but I still think they have done very well for themselves. They added three players that started last season with the Jazz. The key here is Carlos Boozer, of course. The Bulls haven't had a big man who can create his own offense and score consistently since Elton Brand.  He is a pro at the pick and roll from his Jazz days, and him and Derrick Rose could be a lethal combo. Luol Deng is a very good third option who had his best season last year and still is only 25 years old. They surround those three with a nice variety of role players. Starting with Joakim Noah, who might be out sized at center but is the perfect hustle player. He can rebound, block shots, get put backs and get under the opposing big man's skin. Kyle Korver offers much needed three point shooting. The Bulls would have loved to get JJ Redick for more shooting, but wind up with Ronnie Brewer, who is more of a slasher. Young big man Taj Gibson is a solid rebounder and nice first big man off the bench.

2. Milwaukee Bucks

C - Andrew Bogut, Tiny Gallon
PF - Drew Gooden, Ersan Ilyasova, Larry Sanders
SF - Corey Maggette, Luc Mbah a Moute, Darington Hobson
SG - John Salmons, Carlos Delfino, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Michael Redd
PG - Brandon Jennings

The Bucks were the biggest surprise in the league last season in my opinion. And they had a very productive off season. They know they won't attract any big name superstars, so they have to be creative to add talent. They signed Drew Gooden to a solid, if not overpaid, contract. He has bounced around coming up on Chucky Brown levels, but with some stability he should be productive next to superstar in waiting Andrew Bogut. Corey Maggette has become a huge ballhog, but now that he has some real coaching he should be a nice fit. John Salmons was great when he came over from the Bulls and surprisingly resigned. Brandon Jennings should be even better, as his shooting percentage won't be that bad again. Not to mention they have Michael Redd's huge expiring deal should they choose to swing a trade. There are no superstars here, but if Bogut can stay healthy, they could approach 50 wins.

3. Detroit Pistons

C - Ben Wallace, Greg Monroe, Chris Wilcox
PF - Charlie Villanueva, Jonas Jerebko, Jason Maxiell
SF - Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye
SG - Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon
PG - Rodney Stuckey, Terrico White

 It is hard to figure out how the Pistons stand this year. They still have Tayshaun Prince and Rip Hamilton from the great Piston teams. Ben Wallace somehow managed to pull another good season out of his hat. But injuries to Prince and Hamilton and bad seasons from free agent signings Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon caused the Pistons to plummet. The free fall started late in 2008-2009 as well, so this could be the Pistons for good. It looks like they are going to roll with the same squad this year, with the addition of passing big man Greg Monroe. If Rodney Stuckey and the new free agents step up, they could get back into the playoffs. But more realistically they will trade Hamilton and Stuckey, and go with the young guys like Monroe, Stuckey, Jonas Jerebko and Austin Daye. It is time to move on and let these guys finish their careers on other, better teams.

4. Indiana Pacers

C - Roy Hibbert, Jeff Foster
PF - Troy Murphy, Tyler Hansbrough, Solomon Jones, Magnum Rolle
SF - Danny Granger, Paul George
SG - Dahntay Jones, Mike Dunleavy, Brandon Rush
PG - TJ Ford, AJ Price, Lance Stephenson

The cupboard isn't bare in Indiana, but that could be the problem. They are good enough to win 30-40 games and pick around 10, but not good enough to make the playoffs. They were on pace to pick in the top five until they got hot at the end of the season. That was the difference between DeMarcus Cousins and Paul George. The Pacers need to find a way to add some elite talent to a roster that has become stagnant.  Danny Granger is close to a superstar, Roy Hibbert is a nice up and coming big man, and they have some young wing players who could develop. But they are hand tied by Troy Murphy and Mike Dunleavy's contracts. Luckily for the Pacers both of those guys come off the books this season. As does TJ Ford. In fact, the Pacers will be players in the free agent summer of 2011 (if there is no lockout, of course), with over 40 million in contracts coming off the books.

5. Cleveland Cavaliers

C - Anderson Varejao
PF - JJ Hickson, Leon Powe
SF - Antawn Jamison, Jamario Moon
SG - Delonte West, Anthony Parker
PG - Mo Williams, Daniel Gibson, Sebastian Telfair

This is not quite the Bulls after Michael Jordan left, but the exit of LeBron James has crippled this franchise. The team is now composed of large contracts for role players. Antawn Jamison is now the defacto leader of this team, and he should put up 20-10 numbers, simply because there are no other options. Mo Williams will have to become more of a scorer. There really isn't much to say about this team right now, as they will have to draft very wisely the next few years and they could climb out of this hole. But for now, it is a team in chaos that doesn't have the necessary pieces to rebound from this LeBron disaster. 

Jonathan Carrano

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