Wednesday, October 31, 2012

NBA Central Division Preview

Kyrie plus Dion
Equals offensive rebounds
galore for Andy.

Cleveland's post-Lebroncalypse rebuilding effort continues in 12-13.  They landed Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller in the draft.  Some thought Waiters was a bit of a reach as he didn't even start in college.  He looked a bit clunky and out of shape in the summer, struggled in the pre-season, but scored 17 points with 3 steals in one NBA game so far!  Zeller may not be a complete stiff, which is good because Varejao will draw some calls before the trade deadline. The Alonzo Gee/CJ Miles/Omri Casspi show at the 3 has to be the worst in the league.  Second year PF Tristan Thompson was the #4 overall pick in 2011 and will look to build on a promising run as a starter at the end of last season.

Starting Unit:
PG Kyrie Irving
SG Dion Waiters
SF Alonzo Gee
PF Tristan Thompson
C  Anderson Varejao

They had 21 wins last season and the over/under is 30.5.  The question is are CJ Miles, Zeller and Waiters worth more than Antawn Jamison, Ramon Sessions, Anthony Parker and uh...Christian Eyenga?  For this year, I say no, but it's certainly better for the future.  Under 30.5.

What the mother eff?
How did Noah score that?
Bet she has a 'stache

Last year Chicago went 50-16 and were aiming to do some damage in the playoffs when Derrick Rose's knee burst into flames.  Now he may not return until February or March and it's up to Kirk Hinrich and Nate Robinson to keep his spot warm and keep the team winning.  Deng and Boozer will be relied on heavily to provide offensive punch that doesn't involve the aforementioned 42% shooters.  If Rip Hamilton can stay healthy for a year that would help too.  This is still a strong defensive team under Thibodeau with Deng, Taj Gibson and Noah.  Former Marquette small forward Jimmy Butler also gets his shot this year after missing last season with injury.  He's also a lock down type defender.

Starting Unit:
PG: Kirk Hinrich (goggles version)
SG: Rip Hamilton (faceguard version)
SF: Luol Deng
PF: Carlos Boozer
C : Joakim Noah

The o/u is 47.5 and despite no Rose for the bulk of the year I'm going over.  One, this squad will stay in games with defense and perhaps the new additions of Hinrich/SuperNate/Butler/Bellinelli and a full year of Rip can score enough points to make them a winner.  I also suspect that Rose is busting his ass to be back early.

Good thing nobody
Watches NBA basket-
ball in Wisconsin

Actually, it's not quite as bad as my haiku makes it seem.  The Bucks have decent starters at every position save small forward, but are forced to rely on Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings to both co-exist and be the stars on the team.  Former first round pick Tobias Harris will be given a shot to be the starting small forward at least until Luc Richard meh Mehbute returns.  Ersan Ilyasova had a break through year and if either of the guards share he could build on an impressive '11-12 season.  He had 13 points and 9 rebounds per game despite only starting in 41 contests and playing just 27.6 minutes per game.  Every one of those numbers will increase for this season.  Samuel Dalembert is a solid defensive center that will block some shots and get some rebounds for them.  The Bucks added lanky defensive freak John Henson from North Carolina in the first and may have also scored with second round pick Doron Lamb of Kentucky.  They'll hopefully provide some needed depth.

Starting Unit:
PG Brandon Jennings
SG Monta Ellis
SF Tobias Harris
PF Ersan Ilyasova
C  Samuel Dalembert

This team doesn't blow me away, and I think the o/u is pretty accurate at 36.5, but since I'm a predicting machine, I'll go over.

What's better than eight
points scored over nine seconds?
Strippers and booze, duh.

The Pacers are a well built team that appear to have ever growing expectations.  They have one my favorite players in the NBA in Paul George and he'll be relied upon heavily early with Danny Granger's knee acting all wonky.  Granger is going for the dreaded second opinion, which could lead to surgery of some sort.  Darren Collison is in Dallas this year which means IUPUI's own George Hill will be the point guard this season.  He's not as flashy as Collison, but can shoot it and protects the ball.  David West is still a productive 4 and Hibbert continues to play borderline all-star basketball at the pivot.  Sam Young of Pitt and Gerald Green of slam dunks will see more time because of Granger's absence as well.  Green has recently shown a lot of scoring ability, it sure would have been neat if he did that as a member of the Wolves.  The bench also features Tyler Hansbrough, Ian Mahinmi, Miles Plumlee and Lance Stephenson, so they have some depth there.

Starting Unit:
PG George Hill
SG Paul George
SF Sam Young
PF David West
C  Roy Hibbert

The Pacers have a 51.5 o/u and I'd hit the under solely because of Granger.  If there is good news on the second opinion, I'd go over.

Bad boys they aren't
but there are some good signs here.
Miss America

The Pistons rebuilding effort really begins with talented play of Greg Monroe.  In just his second full season he was a double double machine, averaging 12/10.  He also can handle the ball well and gets his share of blocks and steals on the defensive end.  Brandon Knight will be entering his second season after a solid rookie campaign where he had 13/3/4 and shot 38% from downtown.  He'll look to expand on those numbers, especially the assists.  Stuckey is a player more suited to be a combo guard off of the bench, but seeing as Kim English and Will Bynum are the depth in the backcourt, he'll be leaned on to be a scorer.  Prince, Maggette, Singler, Jerebko, Maxiell, Daye and Villanueva are part of a cluster of forwards that make shake any number of ways.  The Pistons likely regret not trading Tayshaun when they had a chance; now he's just a bloated contract in a complimentary player.  Ideally for the Pistons, first round selection Andre Drummond from UConn develops at a high speed and takes over the 5 spot shifting Monroe to the 4.

Starting Unit:
PG Brandon Knight
SG Rodney Stuckey
SF Tayshaun Prince
PF Jason Maxiell
C  Greg Monroe

The Pistons are at a 31.5 o/u and I'm going under  I like Knight and Monroe to continue to develop, and there's enough depth there to steal a few wins but I feel a late season tank coming on here.

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