As we get ever so close to the start of the 2016-2017 NBA Season, people are giving out predictions and projections, so I figure “what the heck” I’ll give out some myself. I will go through each division and give my opinions on what I think might happen. We start off with the Central Division where the champion Cleveland Cavaliers reside.
- Will Cleveland suffer from “Championship Hangover”? It is real easy to believe they will not because the Eastern Conference is still not overly formidable yet, anything is possible though.
- Does the “Greek Freak” take the next step? Antetokounmpo started to become the primary playmaker for Milwaukee last season. Now with running mate Khris Middleton out for the majority of the season, more of the burden with come on Giannis to carry the Bucks offensively. Also, that new $100 million dollar contract could add on some pressure as well.
- Pacer Makeover: Are they now contenders? New coach, new point guard and power forward, and a supposed newly found commitment to playing more up-tempo. Is this the “jolt” that Indiana needed to come to the front of the pack in the East
- How does Detroit build off of last year’s playoff appearance? The Pistons squeaked into the post-season last year due to improvement of their young core led by Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson. Continued development of guys like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and a full season of Tobias Harris would help their cause.
- Will the acquisitions of Rondo and Wade get the Bulls back in contention? Chicago has rid themselves of Derrick Rose (much needed for all parties involved) and now have a pass-first PG in Rondo. Wade has championship experience along with Rondo which can really help this young team. I wonder if that will be enough considering they have major questions in the frontcourt?
5 Best Players in the Division
- LeBron James, Cavs Still makes his teammates better, and can still wreak havoc on both ends of the floor with his intelligence and skill.
- Kyrie Irving, Cavs The playoffs proved that this guy is a stone-cold assassin. He is a scoring machine! He showed he can play some defense in the Finals.
- Paul George, Pacers Love his two-way game, but I still don’t know if he can carry a team to the Promised Land.
- Jimmy Butler, Bulls Plays very similar to George, has not proven as much.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks If last year is any indication of what he can be, he is due for a true break-out season this year.
Best Coach: Tyronn Lue, Cavs
Surprise Player: Jeff Teague, Pacers. A change of scenery, plus a commitment to playing more up-tempo could really help Teague come out of the shadow this season.
Disappointing Player: Dwayne Wade, Bulls. D-Wade had a really good year last season, but can we really count on him to play 74 games again?
Order of Finish: 1. Cleveland 2. Indiana 3. Chicago 4. Detroit 5. Milwaukee