Thursday, October 11, 2012

Central Division Preview (Joakim's Pool Party)

Our NBA preseason preview rolls along with the Central Division.
We'll start off with the Chicago Bulls, who posted the best regular season record last year, only to lose their superstar point guard Derrick Rose to a torn ACL just in time for playoffs. While they have dominated the Central over the last couple years, there are so many questions for the Bulls this year. When will D. Rose return and how long will it take him to get back to All-Star form? Did Pooh-Dini get any sweet tats while rehabbing his knee? Can Tom Thibodeau deliver after signing a big offseason contract? What do women find attractive about Joakim Noah? Can the "Bench Mob" recover after losing Kyle Korver, CJ Watson, Ronnie Brewer, Omer Asik, and John Lucas III? Does Rip Hamilton sleep in his facemask? Is Luol Deng really British? While they are not going to be an elite team without D. Rose, the Bulls will still be a solid squad. Thibodeau will have them playing good team defense and giving maximum effort every night. Deng is a legitimate All-Star and Hamilton is a proven scorer. Carlos Boozer still sucks, but he'll be effective on the glass. Noah, while quite possibly one of the ugliest players of all time, is one of the better-passing (not to mention flopping) bigs in the game right now, and Taj Gibson should provide some help in the paint. Look for the Bulls to start off being competitive but not great, and make a run late in the season when Rose returns.

After a second round loss last season to the eventual champs, the Pacers will be looking for some redemption this year. They are returning their entire starting five, and Roy Hibbert will be looking to prove his worth after getting paid in the offseason. Danny Granger will still be their first option, and Paul George is strong on the offensive end, although his defense needs work. And even though he had a little bit of a rough off-season, we all know not to count out Psycho T. The Pacers are a solid team, even if they lack star power, and keep an eye on them to win the Central this year.

Lead by the dynamic backcourt duo of Monta "The Human Canvas" Ellis and Brandon Jennings, and coached by Scott "Super Sperm" Skiles, the Milwaukee Bucks should be exciting to watch this year. After losing Andrew Bogut, the Milwaukee frontcourt is a collection of defensive-minded no-names. Ellis and Jennings are both high-intensity players who like to get to the basket, but we will have to see how they play off one another after an offseason together. At the end of last season, they pretty much took turns driving to the basket, not unlike Lebron and D. Wade in their year together in South Beach. The Bucks' season will live and die with their backcourt. Unfortunately, their guards are good at scoring, but terrible at handling the ball and defending, so Milwaukee will most likely struggle again this year.

Excuse me for stating the obvious here, but both the Pistons and the Cavs are currently in "rebuilding" phases. Fortunately for the Cavs, they are rebuilding around last season's Rookie of the Year, Kyrie Irving. Unfortunately for the Cavs, they really don't have anyone else. Time to spend some of that Fathead money, Dan Gilbert. Anderson Varejao and Boobie Gibson aren't going to help much. The Cavs also lightened up in the off-season by picking up Tyler Zeller, so get ready to see two white boys from UNC match up whenever they face the Pacers.

Meanwhile, the Pistons are looking to build around Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe. Monroe nearly averaged a double-double last season (15.4 and 9.7) playing out of position at center. After picking up rookie Andre Drummond, Detroit will look to move Monroe back to his natural position at power forward. Hopefully this will allow him to become a bigger offensive threat going forward.

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