Friday, September 12, 2008

Central Division (E) Breakdown - July 05, 2008

Chicago Bulls

"Even too much of a good thing can be bad" is a pretty poor motto. Just because the Bulls have an excess of young promising guards doesn't mean that they have to trade one away. With Kirk Hinrich, Derrick Rose and Ben Gordon, the Bulls can assure themselves years of excellent guard instead of trading one away and taking a risk on another player. Plus Ben Gordon, can play the 2 position extremely well and he is way better off the bench so there is absolutely no reason to trade him away. As for Kirk, what happens if you trade him away and Rose doesn't turn out to be as good as expected? Hinrich provides an assurance factor as he was really blossomed over the last season and worst come to worst the Bulls have solid trade bait in a few years if Rose does meet expectations. In addition to these young guards the Bulls are stacked with young guys that have plenty of potential making them a definite threat in several years, but the organization must face the fact that it is in a rebuilding process and not in a situation where it is in serious contention. If the Bulls continue to rack up studs in the Draft they can restore the good name of the franchise. The entire team is composed of players under the age of 30 and 11 of the 15 are 25 or younger. The problem with all the youth is that Larry Hughes (29), Andre Nocioni (28), and Drew Gooden (26) can barely be considered veterans so there is nobody to lead the youth in the correct direction on the court and through a player-player relationship; it should a priority of the team to rack up a vet through free agency or through a trade - nothing major, the team just needs some serious leadership from reliable players.The future is real promising for the Baby Bulls, with Loul Deng who had a breakout season last year and is sure to improve since he is known for his great work ethic and dedication to the game even in the off season. Tyrus Thomas may not be the best offensive force but he has incredible athleticism as well as a strong niche for the defensive end of the court. Thabo Sefelosha should some energetic play toward the end of last season and can be a key energy guy off the bench for the team. Joakim Noah, too is a bundle of energy, and even though he may not have the most perfect cut skill moves nor have the best hair, but he still finds ways to get things done for the team. Aaron Gray, a second round pick last year still requires some seasoning as his footwork and ability to keep up with elite centers are poor; however he has shown dedication and could develop into a solid seven footer in the league. With a veteran or two these Bulls could really be something in a few years.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The team is headed for some rough times and must enjoy the next two seasons with LeBron. There were previous rumors in his interest to move to the soon to be Brooklyn Nets and it has become a giant show since ESPN broke this story several days ago after LeBron claimed that his favorite borough was Brooklyn. First of all, wow ESPN that took you a while. Second, I bet $20 that LeBron couldn’t name another borough. As for the Cavs, they need to put the money out there or make a big trade because it's now or never. The team has a lot of cap space filled so the signing of a free agent is ruled out leaving them with the priority of a trade. The team has a starting line up of Eric Snow, Wally Szczerbiak, LeBron James, Ben Wallace, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas which may take the team to the playoffs, but they aren't getting the best bang for their buck. The total cost of this rotation is $60 Million, leaving the team little for a bench that consists of overpaid Anderson Varejao and Aleksandar Pavlovic. Varejao does bring good energy off the bench and Pavlovic is a decent wing man but not at their prices - they seem like moves the Knicks would make. Delonte West who was solid in Boston earlier in his career may be a key part of the Cavs plan next season as his quick hands make him swift both on the offensive and defensive ends. Daniel Gibson is sure to be a solid young shooter if they can keep him though free agency. The team also has Joe Smith on the bench who is one of the more underrated big men in the league and does everything tht could be asked of him. The team also had a successful draft in adding J.J. Hickson as well as Kansas seniors Darnell Jackson and Sasha Kaun. The team looks nice right now but once you subtract LeBron in exchange for nothing and you have a big mess. The team also has no guarantee for the future as there is no guaranteed salary for the '10-'11 season (LeBron's player option is the salary for that season which may not even be picked up) - fact is if LeBron isn't returning other players may want to leave or may demand more to stay so in three years the Cavs are going to look like a real hell hole. Next free agency, the team should look to make some real smart moves in order to swade LeBron into staying and if he doesn't they should make sure they will be able to sell some tickets without him.

Detroit Pistons

First of all, the Billups and Wallace for Baron Davis trade --- hahahaha trade rumors; I mean lets disassemble one of the better teams of our time in order to bring in an injury prone guard - Baron Davis is real good, he's one of the best guards in the league but why would the Pistons do this? Chanucey Billups has been an injury free Baron Davis without the same energy or beard. Billups is a special player since he plays solid D, he is a great shooter behind the arc, in mid-range, and at the line. He is also the best post up guard in the league and has a guard move trade marked by him. Rip Hamilton runs from 12:00 in the first until 00:00 in the 4th or later. He creates matchup difficulties for any team and he too is a solid shooter that is money from the free throw line. Then there is Tayshaun Prince who is a long, athletic stud that plays fundamental basketball. And finally there is Rasheed. What is there to say - when he is in the game and at his best he is one of the most dominant forces in the league with his turnaround and he can also set out side the arc (he also has the ability to shoot three's with his left hand). Since the loss of Ben Wallace the team has tried to replace him with Jason Maxiell and Antonio McDyess. Both have been solid but neither has brought the same defensive intensity that Ben brought to the table (Ben hasn't brought that level either since leaving the Pistons). Walter Hermann has been a good addition out of Charlotte and the team has acquired Arron Affalo and Rodney Stuckey out of the draft. All three have become essential off the bench and have come through when needed of them in the regular season and in the post season (especially Rodney Stuckey who really emerged in the post season). This year's draft was quite poor for the Piston drafting Walter Sharpe, Deron Washington, and Trent Plaisted (the only player I predicted to be drafted of the three). Plaisted may develop into a decent back up center but probably nothing better. As for Sharpe and Washington there really can't be too much to expect of them - Washington also cut his afro which has apparently deprived him of his spectacular dunking ability which means that he probably won't win this year's slam dunk contest. The team is headed in the right direction and with the addition of any everyday center they can return to the Finals and reclaim the NBA Championship. The Pistons are in no panic mode and are in easy sailing right now, but if they want to take it to the next level it is going to require a reliable center who will be there at the end of tight games to hold up the paint and tie down the opponent's best big man because the Pistons cannot count on Rasheed for that with all the technicals and his foul troubles. The Pistons must not be satisfied just being in the upper enchalant of teams and must take themselves to the top.

Indiana Pacers

There is nothing a Knick fan enjoys more than looking at the roster of the Indiana Pacers and realizing that there is a team that may be in worse shape then your own. Outside Danny Granger, wh0 came off really strong last season, and Brandon Rush the team has really little to offer other than a bunch of really good bench players. Jim O'Brien and the rest of the coaching staff really have something to deal with for this upcoming season. I'd also like to note that Roy Hibbert was traded to the Pacers in the Jermaine O'Neal so all the good stuff I said about him into the Toronto Raptors post can be said about him here. Nathan Jawai is also a real athletic stud in the Australian league but it is unsure how his success will translate to the NBA. The team is in real trouble and has been all down since it has been unloading its roster after the Palace Melee. They were headed in the right diretion, all they needed was a coach to put his foot sown and control his wild squard but instead they decided to trade away and release their promising team and now they are left with a bunch of bench players. Honestly, the team was a Mary Poppins away from the Championship but now they are in a serious hole since they didn't even reciece an array of draft picks they could build their team around. What makes it worse is that they traded away their biggest piece of trade bait and all they recieved was a draft pick, a guard whose career has been stunted by injury, and Stephen A. Smith's favoriter player. I wish there was some advice I could offer Indiana but there isn't anything then can do except for wait. --- (at this point I left my computer and thought about what the Pacers could do to turn around their team) --- I came to the conclusion that the must look to future and make the appropriate first pick next season; then to help ticket sales the Pacers should spend a ton of money on half times skits and claim to have the best half time shows in the world - hopefully that is enough to keep fans coming to games. Or the Pacers could secede from the NBA and join a European league where they can compete for a title. What I am getting at is that the team is in a big, real big mess and with little trade bait the road ahead looks increasingly rough.

Milwaukee Bucks

With the Richard Jefferson trade, the Bucks should look to contend in the Eastern Conference this season and possibly come up as the surprise team to win the Central, that is a bit of a stretch but the playoffs should be a reasonable goal this season with the second round within reach. Their starting roster is appealing this season with Mo Williams at the 1, Michael Redd at the 2, RJ at the 3, Charlie Villanueva at the 4, and the Aussie, Andrew Bogut, at the 5. Williams is a solid point guard who was the ability to lead the team to success and now was one of the most proffiecent shooters in Michael Redd and just a great overall scorer in Jefferson. Then Villanueva has the ability to score from the outside and showed that he could really shine when Bogut went out. Then Bogut has been a project but seem to be coming on as of last season - this year he can emerge as the most improved player of the year this upcoming season. The team has an impressive bench for the Eastern Conference in Charlie Bell, Desmond Mason, Ramon Sessions and now Joe Alexander and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (yes I spelled his name without checking for spelling) show both contribute to the team since both bring a verstile skill sets to the team the create mismatches for opponents. The only questions that the team has to handle are defense and a backup center. If Scott Skiles can bring the team together to play some consistent defense then they can really be something. The Bucks are in fair position to go out and find a veteran center like Juwan Howard, Theo Ratliff, or possibly Alonzo Mourning. The organization has put itself in a nice position after the great deal with the Nets that benefited each team appropriately. If the Bucks hold their ground defensively then they can make a real push and become a threatening team in the league.

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