The Central Division in the NBA for the 2019-20 season will be run by one team. While the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons can cause issues, the banner will be raised by the Milwaukee Bucks once again. With the Pacers and Pistons fighting for second place, the rest of the division will be in rebuild mode. The Chicago Bulls have young talent but how long before they can gel? The Cleveland Cavaliers will be looking to unload big contracts to right their ship
The Central Division can host three playoff teams if the Pacers can get to full strength. The Bucks are a lock with MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo while the Pistons will throw out Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond.
Here are the predictions for the standings in the Central Division for the 2019-20 NBA season
The Pistons took the offseason and pondered two important questions. Do they trade Andre Drummond or give this core one last shot? As you can see, they went with the latter but with a few upgrades. Derrick Rose was added to either bring bench production or take over as lead guard. After his season with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2018, many expect Rose to snatch the position away from Reggie Jackson.
The Pistons are looking to build on their return to the playoffs last season and rightfully so. With Drummond and Blake Griffin in the post, the Pistons, if fully immersed in team ball will have options. What they’re missing is consistency on the perimeter. Last season, the Pistons finished 23rd in three-point accuracy. They will need to improve in that department to open up the paint for Griffin and Drummond. Did the new signing of Joe Johnson just solve that?
Did the Bucks hit their stride or peak too early? With Giannis Antetokounmpo set to defend his position as MVP, the Bucks have their sights on the NBA Finals. However, the Bucks still have that one glaring issue that held them back last season. What’s up with Eric Bledsoe? If Bledsoe didn’t struggle, the Bucks may have been NBA champs.
This offseason, the Bucks went all in while keeping their main core intact. With Khris Middleton resigned, all that was left was to fill in the small cracks. Instead of standing pat, the Bucks did a wonderful job with the additions of Wesley Matthews, Robin Lopez, and Kyle Korver. The Bucks are considered one of the teams to beat in the Eastern Conference. If they can stay healthy, a title run is in their sights for sure.
At some point, it all has to come together for the Chicago Bulls. Is this the season where Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen become a solid duo? What about Kris Dunn? He is ready to take on the leadership role as the lead guard? The Bulls will need Wendell Carter Jr to step up now that he’s the main guy in the post. However, the Bulls will only go as far as Otto Porter takes them.
While LaVine and Markkanen are scorers, it’s Porter who has that Scottie Pippen mentality that Michael Jordan needed to help make the Bulls invincible in the ’90s. If Potter can get at it on the defensive end and still average his 17.5 points per game, the Bulls could shock some teams this season. The Bulls finished the 2018-19 season ranked 27th in points scored. This season, the goal has to be to get everyone involved in the offense.
The Pacers, despite not having Victor Oladipo for half of the season, still managed to finished 1st in the NBA in points allowed. With Oladipo not expected back until December or January, the Pacers will need to rely on that stingy defense, yet again. During the offseason, the Pacers added Malcolm Brogdon and Jeremey Lamb to help offset the absence of Oladipo.
In a Draft day trade, the Pacers managed to snag SF T.J. Warren from the Phoenix Suns. in 2018, Warren averaged 18.0 points while shooting 48.6 percent from the floor, including 42.8 percent from deep. But the season will come down to the production of Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis. If the Pacers frontcourt can hold the paint and Oladipo comes back full strength, the Pacers will be a team on the prowl.
The Cavaliers have fallen on hard times thanks to one of the best runs in NBA history. Due to the consistent winning, the Cavs never were fully able to restock along the way. Picks were traded, high salaries were paid, and then players wanted out. Now what? The Cavs still have Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson but neither is a solid defender and only one can score at will. However, the production is not the real issue for the Cavs concerning their top two post players. The main issue is money. Combined, Love and Thompson will make $46.5M for next season alone.
As it stands, the Cleveland Cavaliers will put their hopes in Cedi Osman, Collin Sexton, Larry Nance, and Darius Garland. The Cavs must find a trade partner for both Love and Thompson if they are to improve. With injuries, can the Cavs really count on Love to be productive? This will be a long season in Cleveland.