The Central Division has gotten very interesting this offseason. Lots of player movements, trades and free-agent signings have this division wide open. Should the Chicago Bulls be concerned about any of this?
Each team in this division made significant moves to improve themselves. The Indiana Pacers, who had the best record in the division. The Pacers resigned power forward David West. Former All Star small forward Danny Granger will be coming back from knee surgery to contribute. They signed major role players in Luis Scola, C.J. Watson and Chris Copeland to replace veterans D.J. Augustine and Tyler Hansbrough. The Pacers have more depth and talent off their bench now. They will be a top team in the Eastern Conference once again.
The Milwaukee Bucks made some interesting moves as well. The Bucks have a new backcourt, getting rid of gunners Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings. They replaced them with less talented players Brandon Knight and O.J. Mayo. The Bucks also added Zaza Pachulia, Luke Ridnour and Gary Neal to shore up their bench. Larry Drew is their new head coach from the Atlanta Hawks. The Bucks are making strides by getting rid of players and adding less talented ones, but they will be at the bottom of the division.
The Cleveland Cavaliers brought back their most successful head coach in franchise history, Mike Brown to push them back to the playoffs. The Cavaliers used their number one pick on talented forward Anthony Bennett. They also added skilled players Andrew Bynum, Jarrett Jack and Earl Clark to go along with their superstar point guard Kryie Irving, his backcourt mate Dion Waiters and injury plagued power forward Anderson Varajo. If all these pieces fit together and they stay healthy, the Cavaliers will be a playoff contender in the Eastern Conference.
The Detroit Pistons had a huge summer overhaul on their roster. First of all, the Pistons have a new coach in Maurice Cheeks. They added all star Josh Smith, point guard Brandon Jennings, backup veteran combo guard Chauncey Billups and rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. All this upgrade in talent is added to their massive frontcourt of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond have made them a serious playoff threat.
With every team in the Central Division adding talent to their rosters, the question remains should the Bulls be concerned? It is something to worry about, but the Bulls had the best record in the conference the last couple of years when they were healthy. Coach Tom Thibodeau will have former MVP Derrick Rose coming back stronger than ever from ACL injury to go along with the emergence of third year player Jimmy Butler and the acquisition of shooter Mike Dunleavy, the Bulls will be right at the top of the Eastern Conference once again.
I am very enthusiastic about the Bulls’ chances to win the Central Division next season, but Indiana, Detroit, Cleveland and to some degree Milwaukee will be much better. The Bulls will need all their players to be healthy throughout the regular season to be that championship caliber team we know they can be.