We simply cannot wait for the new NBA season to start, and we are counting down the days until the very first tip off. If you are like us and love the NBA, then you definitely need to have a read on below, as we take a look at each and every team from the Central Division and analyze their chances for success in this brand new season.
The Chicago Bulls were flying high to start the 2021-22 season and won 27 of their first 37 games. But the Bulls stumbled to a 19-26 record in the regular season’s second half to finish 46-36. Chicago lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Milwaukee Bucks in five games.
Former Coach of the Year Billy Donovan begins his third season with the Bulls. Chicago signed veterans Andre Drummond and Goran Dragic to add more depth to its bench. The Bulls have enough talent to qualify for the playoffs, but significant health concerns to key players will lead to an early postseason exit.
Five-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan posted 27 points, five rebounds, and four assists a game during his first season in the Windy City. The 33-year-old small forward shot 50 percent from the field while enjoying the best campaign of his 13-year career.
Twitter, help us find this fan 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/X8CimQ2uCy
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) October 10, 2022
The backcourt duo of Zach LaVine and Lonzo Ball combined for 37 points, nine boards, and nine assists an outing last season. However, Ball played only 35 games due to a knee injury, and LaVine has averaged just 53 games over the past six seasons.
Montenegrin-Belgian center Nikola Vucevic averaged 17 points, 11 rebounds, and three assists in his 12th season. The two-time All-Star started slowly but posted nearly 19 points a game over the final four months of the season.
Third-year forward Patrick Williams tallied nine points and four boards a game, while Drummond posted 11 points and 10 rebounds with the Brooklyn Nets. Dragic averaged 13 points and four assists with the Miami Heat. Chicago will advance to the playoffs for a second straight year, but making it to the second round will be a difficult task.
The 2021-22 Cleveland Cavaliers were 20-16 before winning 11 out of 15 games in January to boast a 31-20 mark. But a range of injuries led to 18 losses over the final 31 regular season games and a 44-38 record. Cleveland failed to make the playoffs after falling to the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks in the play-in tournament.
J.B. Bickerstaff enters his third season as the head coach of the Cavaliers. Cleveland traded for three-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell and signed veterans Ricky Rubio, Robin Lopez, and Raul Neto to fortify its bench. The Cavaliers have a good shot at winning 50 games and will end their four-year playoff drought this season.
Mitchell joins a young, talented core that includes Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, and Isaac Okoro. The former first-round pick averaged 25 points, four rebounds, and five assists during his final season with the Utah Jazz and has posted 28 points an outing in 39 playoff games.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) October 11, 2022
Garland was the fifth overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft and earned his first All-Star appearance last season after tallying 21 points and eight assists a game. The 6-foot-10 Allen also was a first-time All-Star in 2022, posting 16 points and 10 boards in 56 contests. Mobley was selected with the third pick in last year’s draft and averaged 15 points and eight rebounds during his rookie campaign, and Okoro was drafted fifth in 2020, and posted eight points and three boards this past season.
The Cavaliers will feature a deep bench led by a group of proven veterans. Five-time All-Star Kevin Love tallied 13 points and seven boards, and finished runner-up in the Sixth Man of the Year voting. Rubio averaged 13 points, four rebounds, and six assists a game last season, while Lopez and Neto posted seven points apiece. Cleveland will battle for the fourth or fifth seed in the East and has the talent to reach the second round of the playoffs.
The Detroit Pistons opened the 2021-22 campaign with just five wins in their first 33 games. Although the Pistons failed to have a winning month last season, Detroit managed to win 18 of their final 49 games to finish fifth in the Central Division with a 23-59 card.
Former Coach of the Year Dwane Casey enters his fifth season at the helm of the Pistons. Detroit added veterans Bojan Bogdanovic, Alec Burks, and Nerlens Noel. While the Pistons have improved their roster, the franchise will still miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season.
The 2021 top overall pick Cade Cunningham averaged 17 points and five assists, and finished third in the Rookie of the Year Award. The former All-American posted 21 points, five rebounds, and six assists over the final six weeks of the regular season.
— Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) October 10, 2022
The Pistons drafted Purdue guard Jaden Ivey with the fifth pick in this year’s draft and traded for the rights to the 13th pick Jalen Duren. Ivey averaged 17 points and four boards for the Boilermakers, while Duren tallied 12 points and eight rebounds during his lone season with the Memphis Tigers.
Third-year forward Saddiq Bey averaged 16 points and five boards a game and became the first Piston to make 200 three-point shots in one season. Bogdanovic posted 18 points a game with the Utah Jazz last season, while Burks tallied 11 points an outing with the New York Knicks. Detroit has some skilled young players and should improve on last season’s win total. But a lack of depth and an inferior frontcourt will lead to another season with 50-plus losses.
The Indiana Pacers‘ 2021-22 season started rocky with six losses in their first seven games. The Pacers regrouped to win 13 of their next 29 matchups but faltered in the regular season’s second half to finish fourth in the Central Division with a 25-57 record.
The Pacers are in a rebuilding mode and will not qualify for the playoffs for a third consecutive season. Former Coach of the Year Rick Carlisle begins his second season as head coach of the Pacers. Indiana drafted Arizona guard Bennedict Mathurin with the sixth overall pick in this year’s NBA draft.
Point guard Tyrese Haliburton averaged 17 points and nine assists in 26 games for the Pacers after being traded from the Sacramento Kings. The 22-year-old has shot over 40 percent from behind the arc in each of his three NBA seasons.
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) October 10, 2022
Mathurin posted 17 points, five rebounds, and two assists during his final season with the Wildcats. The 6-foot-7 shooting guard averaged 19 points and four boards at the 2022 NBA Summer League.
Myles Turner, Buddy Hield, and Jalen Smith will form the Pacers frontcourt. Turner played only 42 games last season, averaging 12 points and seven rebounds. Hield posted 18 points, five boards, and four assists in 26 starts for Indiana in 2022, while Smith averaged 13 points and seven rebounds during his third season in the league.
T.J. McConnell, Aaron Nesmith, Chris Duarte, and Oshae Brissett will be the key reserve players off the bench. Indiana will focus on developing its young backcourt tandem this year and will not contend for a playoff spot in the next few seasons.
The Milwaukee Bucks raced out to a 25-13 record to start the 2021-22 season. The Bucks won 26 of their final 44 games to win the Central Division for a fourth straight season with a 51-31 mark. Milwaukee didn’t make The Finals as they lost in the Conference Semifinals to the Boston Celtics in seven games.
The Bucks are legitimate title contenders and will challenge the Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers for Eastern Conference supremacy. Two-time Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer begins his fifth season at the helm of the Bucks. Milwaukee added former Utah Jazz sharpshooter Joe Ingles, who tore his ACL in late January and will not be ready for the start of the season.
Six-time All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo posted a career-high 29 points a game with 11 rebounds and five assists last season. The two-time MVP averaged 31 points, 14 boards, and six assists during the 2022 playoffs.
Right back at it. 😤 pic.twitter.com/W3KU7bvXSx
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) October 10, 2022
Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton continued to impress last season. Holiday tallied 18 points, six assists, and four rebounds a game while shooting 41 percent from the three-point line. Middleton is a three-time All-Star who has averaged 20 points a game over the past three seasons.
Brook Lopez played only 13 games last season due to back surgery, which enabled Bobby Portis to start 59 games. The former first-round pick averaged 14 points and nine rebounds while shooting nearly 40 percent from behind the arc.
Grayson Allen will join Holiday in the backcourt and averaged 11 points and three rebounds last season. Milwaukee has the swagger of an NBA champion and will contend for the Larry O’Brien trophy if all of its key players remain healthy.
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