Thursday, December 22, 2011

2k12 NBA Preview: Central Conference

Just as we did for the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference, here is our prediction for the Central:

1st Place: Chicago Bulls
(#2 Seed)

PG Derrick Rose
SG Richard Hamilton
SF Luol Deng
PF Carlos Boozer
C Joakim Noah
6th: G Ronnie Brewer

The Bulls are the clear favorites in the division with the youngest MVP in league history running the point and a surprisingly strong supporting cast. The key for them remains to me lies in the health of their two big men, Boozer and Noah. As long as those guys give the Bulls 70+ solid games, they're going to give the Heat a run for their money in the East!

2nd Place: Indiana Pacers (#7 Seed)

PG Darren Collison
SG Paul George
SF Danny Granger
PF David West
C Roy Hibbert
6th: George Hill

The Pacers have a nice, deep team that should be perfectly suited for the shortened 62-game season. With Tyler Hansborough, Hill and Jeff Foster coming off the bench, all guys who would be starters on a lot of NBA teams right now. They need Danny Granger to be that top-20 NBA talent like he can be though, and not hold back. West was a huge add which really solidified the group, but he has to stay healthy!

3rd Place: Milwaukee Bucks (runner up if any key injury to top-8)

PG Brandon Jennings
SG Stephen Jackson
SF Luc Mbah a Moute
PF Drew Gooden
C Andrew Bogut
6th: Carlos Delfino

The Bucks could have a really good squad if Jennings can improve his shooting and Bogut gives them a full season. Jackson was a big addition and should be among the leagues leading shooting guards and Moute is a monstrous defender with an improving offensive game. They also are very deep, with Delfino, who could even start somewhere, coming off the bench with a healthy Mike Dunleavy and Beno Udrih backing up at point.

4th Place: Detroit Pistons

PG Brandon Knight
SG Rodney Stuckey
SF Tayshaun Prince
PF Jonas Jerebko
C Greg Monroe
6th: Ben Gordon

This team is actually deeper than most people are giving them credit for, they just don't quite have the credibility and consistency to keep up with the Bucks or Pacers. They're starting five isn't mind-blowing, but I like Stuckey a lot at 2, and Monroe is a vastly improving young big man. We'll see hoe Knight adjusts to NBA life, but he should be fine. It will probably take this team another year or so before they think about contending again though.

5th Place: Cleveland Cavaliers

PG Kyrie Irving
SG Anthony Parker
SF Omar Casspi
PF Antawn Jamison
C Anderson Varejo
6th: Daniel Gibson

The Cavs are still in the early stages of the post-James era, but the Irving pick sure did help this franchise. The kid is the real deal and should be in the class of Rose, Paul and Westbrook before long, he's that talented. They still don't have too much outside of him, though Casspi is an underrated defender and Jamison should give them plenty of scoring.

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