Wishful thinking: NBA Central Division preview

If you've somehow missed all the NBA previews--or are simply jonesin' for more--top bloggers helped We Rite Goode boil the season down to a few catchy soundbites that can be used to impress at cocktail parties or keggers. After you've read our methodology here, finish off our team-by-team previews with a look at the mighty midwest match up between Motown and the Second City...to say nothing of a lurking LeBron.

1-T. Chicago Bulls
Ben Go, Thank You Isiah

What they need to do to make me happy: Win 55 games and the Central Division. Should they meet in the Playoffs, finally vanquish (and preferably humiliate) the Detroit Pistons. Make the NBA Finals. Ben Gordon and Luol Deng make the All-Star team.

Reasoning: Last year, the Bulls won 49 games, and with their young core maturing, no significant personnel losses and the addition of Joakim Noah, improvement is to be expected, nay, demanded. Another playoff loss to the Pistons would be devastating, casting into serious doubt the patient (not to say pussified) strategy of GM John Paxson in failing to trade for a bona-fide All Star. I currently endorse this strategy, but another bouncing by Sheed and the boys would send me careening wildly into mindless, petty-resentment-filled blatherings, a la Jay Marriotti.

1-T. Detroit Pistons
Natalie Sitto
, Need 4 Sheed

What they need to do to make me happy: The Pistons need to win at least 55 games, and the NBA Championship. Amir Johnson and Jason Maxiell will have breakout seasons. Tayshaun Prince will finally make the All Star team. Sheed and Flip Saunders are going to become such good friends that they are going to be roomies on the road.

Reasoning: The Pistons have had the team and the pieces in place to win the NBA Championship each season since they won it in 2004. Sheed, Rip, Chauncey, Tayshaun and McDyess are a hell of a starting five no matter who you ask and the bench is more solid than in seasons past.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavalier,
[Editor's note: The Cavalier was tied up at the last-minute with a certain movie he's working on, so gave us the OK to just adapt an earlier NBA preview].

What they need to do to make me happy: 51 wins, but perhaps they could also give over 60% effort for more than one playoff series - that way they’ll be better AND I won’t have to boycott watching them for over half the season like 06-07.

Reasoning: I’m not entirely thrilled to have the same team back, but I’m also realistic enough to know there wasn’t much to be done. Danny Ferry has shown that he’s not going to just go spend the MLE and sign guys like Sasha Pavlovic and Anderson Varejao simply to appease message board posters, bloggers, and ESPN columnists. They’ll look to improve on last year through improvement of young players (LBJ, Boobie Gibson) and the idea of having a team that knows each other, ie chemistry.

4-T. Indiana Pacers
, Indy Cornrows

What they need to do to make me happy: Win 45 games, make the playoffs and deliver at least a competitive playoff series. Also, I'd like to see a strong effort consistently and a more entertaining style of play, with Jermaine O'Neal staying healthy and playing at an All-Star level.

Reasoning: Despite all of the drama last year, there was enough talent to be a playoff team until several injuries destroyed those chances. Jim O'Brien brings an uptempo style that will improve the pace of play and then entertainment value. If Marquis Daniels stays healthy, he will stun people this year and be a strong Sixth Man of the Year candidate.

4-T. Milwaukee Bucks
, BrewHoop.com

What they need to do to make me happy: The maturing triumvirate of Mo Williams, Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut leads the Bucks to 45 wins and the second round, shocking all the experts who do their best to ignore the Bucks' existence. Larry Krystkowiak brainwashes the Bucks into playing defense, rebounding from time to time and getting their bigs more involved offensively. Yi Jianlian shows flashes of greatness while managing to hold his own on both ends.

Reasoning: Getting Redd, Mo, Bogut, Bobby Simmons, and Charlie Villanueva healthy along with the additions of Desmond Mason and Yi means the Bucks can actually field a team this year. The other Coach K looks like he could be a less ornery, slightly less bald Scott Skiles, which is exactly what a team as defensively atrocious as the Bucks needs. Andrew Bogut looks ready to break into 15/10, marginal all-star territory.

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posted by Crucifictorious @ 16:11,


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