TRI: Central Division 2010-11

November 8, 2010
Truman Reed

Western Conference: Pacific | Northwest | Southwest
Eastern Conference: Atlantic |   Central   | Southeast

CENTRAL DIVISION's Truman Reed projects the standings of every division in the NBA. Teams are listed according to projected divisional finishes:

Chicago Bulls 
2009-10: 41-41 (third in division; lost to Cleveland in first round of playoffs)

For Starters: G Derrick Rose (20.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 6.0 apg), G Ronnie Brewer (8.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.7 apg), F Carlos Boozer (19.5 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 3.2 apg), F Luol Deng (17.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.0 apg), C Joakim Noah (10.7 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 2.1 apg)

In the Rotation: F Taj Gibson, F James Johnson, F/G Kyle Korver, G Keith Bogans, G C.J. Watson

Pluses: F Boozer (trade, Jazz), G Brewer (free agent), F/G Korver (free agent), G Watson (trade, Warriors), G Bogans (free agent), F/C Kurt Thomas (free agent), F Brian Scalabrine (free agent), C Omer Asik (free agent)

Minuses: G Kirk Hinrich (trade, Wizards), F Hakim Warrick (trade, Suns)

Truman's Take: The Bulls' acquisition of Boozer from Utah was one of the more significant transactions of the offseason and, coupled with their signings of long-range marksman Korver and Brewer and the hiring of former Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau as head coach, upgrades them into contention for the division title.

Milwaukee Bucks 
2009-10: 46-36 (second in division; lost to Atlanta 4-3 in first round of playoffs)

For Starters: G Brandon Jennings (15.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 5.7 apg), G John Salmons (15.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.8 apg), F Drew Gooden (10.9 ppg, 7.7 rpg; 0.7 apg), F Carlos Delfino (11.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.7 apg), C Andrew Bogut (15.9 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 2.5 bpg)

In the Rotation: F Ersan Ilyasova, F/G Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, F Corey Maggette, F/G Chris Douglas-Roberts, F/C Jon Brockman, G Keyon Dooling

F Gooden (free agent); G/F Maggette (trade, Warriors), G/F Douglas-Roberts (trade, Nets), F/C Brockman (trade, Kings), G Earl Boykins (free agent), G Dooling (free agent), rookie F/C Larry Sanders (VCU)

Minuses: G Luke Ridnour (free agent, Timberwolves), G Charlie Bell (trade, Warriors), F Kurt Thomas (free agent, Bulls), C Dan Gadzuric (trade, Warriors), F Jerry Stackhouse (free agent, Heat)

Truman's Take: No NBA organization did more wheeling and dealing during the offseason than Milwaukee, as reigning NBA Executive of the Year John Hammond was not content to stand pat. Hammond's moves should add depth and veteran savvy to the Bucks' frontline and backcourt and give Scott Skiles one of the deeper teams in the league. The team should challenge for the division title and home-court advantage for the first round of the playoffs after making its first postseason foray in four seasons last spring.

Cleveland Cavaliers 
2009-10: 61-21 (first in division; lost to Boston 4-2 in second round of playoffs)

For Starters: G Mo Williams (15.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 5.3 apg), G Anthony Parker (7.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.9 apg), F J.J. Hickson (8.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 0.5 apg), F Antawn Jamison (18.7 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1.3 apg), C Anderson Varejao (8.6 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.1 apg)

In the Rotation: G Ramon Sessions, G Daniel Gibson, F Jamario Moon, F Samardo Samuels, F Jawad Williams

Pluses: G Sessions (trade, Timberwolves), C Ryan Hollins (trade, Timberwolves), F Joey Graham (free agent), rookie F Samuels (Louisville), C Christian Eyenga (free agent), rookie G Manny Harris (Michigan)

Minuses: F LeBron James (trade, Heat), C Shaquille O'Neal (free agent, Celtics), C Zydrunas Ilgauskas (free agent, Heat), G Delonte West (trade, Timberwolves)

Truman's Take: Life certainly won't be the same in Cleveland without LeBron James. Jamison and Williams now become the top scoring options and everyone else must pitch in, too. Look for Hickson to continue his emergence at the `4' spot as Varejao shifts over to the `5.' Samuels could develop into a solid backup for the two of them for first-year coach Byron Scott.

Indiana Pacers
2009-10: 32-50 (fourth in division, did not make playoffs)

For Starters: G Mike Dunleavy (9.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.5 apg), G Darren Collison (12.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 5.7 apg), F Danny Granger (24.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.5 apg), F Josh McRoberts (4.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.0 apg), C Roy Hibbert (11.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.6 bpg)

In the Rotation: F Tyler Hansbrough, F Paul George, G T.J. Ford, G/F Dahntay Jones, C Jeff Foster, F James Posey

Pluses: G Collison (trade, Hornets), F James Posey (trade, Hornets), rookie F George (Fresno State)

Minuses: F Troy Murphy (trade, Nets)

Truman's Take: The Pacers will miss the double-double numbers Murphy provided at the `4' spot unless Hansbrough steers clear of injuries and begins climbing the NBA ladder. Collison will be a significant upgrade at point guard, but A.J. Price, who had a productive rookie season at the position, is still rehabbing from offseason knee surgery so more will be expected of Ford.

Detroit Pistons
2009-10: 27-55 (fifth in division; missed playoffs)

For Starters: G Richard Hamilton (18.1 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 4.4 apg), G Rodney Stuckey (16.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 4.8 apg), F Tayshaun Prince (13.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 3.3 apg), F Austin Daye (5.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg, .4 bpg), C Ben Wallace (5.5 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 1.2 bpg)

In the Rotation: G Ben Gordon, F Charlie Villanueva, G Will Bynum, F Jason Maxiell, F Tracy McGrady

Pluses: rookie F/C Greg Monroe (Georgetown), G/F McGrady (free agent), rookie F Terrico White (Mississippi)

Minuses: None

Truman's Take: For a team that finished in its division cellar, the Pistons did very little maneuvering since the 2009-10 campaign ended and will probably pay the price. They received a setback during the preseason when Jonas Jerebko, a rookie breakthrough last year, suffered an Achilles' tendon injury.