It is fun to project the standings of the upcoming NBA season, but let’s take things one step further. October is quickly approaching, and it is almost basketball time; let’s take a look at the Central Division and how they will fare this 2022-23 season.
There is so much history in the Central Division. You have arguably the greatest NBA player of all time, Michael Jordan, with the Chicago Bulls, the Detroit Bad Boys and the Pistons, the Reggie Miller days with the Indiana Pacers, the Greek Freak and the Milwaukee Bucks, and finally, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The two best players of all time played in this division, but times have certainly changed.
Indiana Pacers, No. 5
Indiana is a basketball state, but the Pacers have struggled anyways. This is not the year they will compete, and they will be back in the lottery come summertime next year.
The Pacers are one of those teams that are rarely talked about. They receive very little national attention and are in a smaller market, but they are trying to prove everyone wrong. Myles Turner and company look to put the Pacers back on the NBA map after a 25-win season. They ended the season with the longest losing streak in the East.
Detroit Pistons, No. 4
This is no shot at the Detroit Pistons here; the top four NBA teams in this division are all respectable. Detroit has one of the brightest futures in all of basketball, but for now, their rebuild will continue. Look out for the Pistons in 2023-24, however. After winning 23 games last year, Detroit could easily get 40 this season.
A starting lineup of Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Saddiq Bey, Bogdan Bogdanovich, and Isaiah Stewart will be very fun to watch. Getting Bogdanovich from the Utah Jazz for pennies will help the future of this team greatly. They can flip him at the trade deadline for double what they gave, and then Marvin Bagley III can take back over.
Cleveland Cavaliers, No. 3
How the heck did the Cleveland Cavaliers end up with Donovan Mitchell? The former Jazz superstar looks to lead the Cavs back to the playoffs. Sports in Cleveland have been rough lately, but people should keep them on their radar this year. They could very easily challenge the Chicago Bulls for second place in the division.
Darius Garland, Kevin Love, the Mobley brothers, Caris LeVert, and the Spida will present some problems for not only the division but the entire NBA.
Chicago Bulls, No. 2
DeMar DeRozan, Zach Lavine, Nikola Vucevic, and Andre Drummond present a team that looks to do some damage. Add Goran Dragic, the NBA defensive-stud Ayo Dosunmo, and of course Alex Caruso, the Chicago Bulls are very deep.
After being a top-six team in the conference last season, the Bulls have only gotten better. In fact, every team in this division got better from last year. The Central Division has not been this competitive in so long. Expectations are high in Chicago, and they are not a top-five seed in the playoffs; something went wrong.
Milwaukee Bucks, No. 1
The greatest thing to ever happen to the city of Milwaukee is a man by the name of Giannis Antetokounmpo. Giannis is the saving grace of the Milwaukee Bucks and the sole reason they will finish in first place in this division.
With sky-high expectations, the Bucks could not care less about being the best team in the division. They want to be the top team in the East and then win an NBA championship. After a 51-31 record last year, the Bucks have a shot at being a 60-win team. You really should fear the deer.
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