A look at the Central Division and potential New Year's resolutions for each teamEvery NBA team will enter 2013 with an addition or a subtraction they’d like to do to their roster, or something they want to establish within the team, whether an identity or an attitude or something like a new offense. So here are some notes and resolutions that each team may want to start on. This time, we look at the Central Division.
Chicago BullsThis might be the easiest wish list to check off, the Bulls want a 100% healthy Derrick Rose for the second half of the season. There might not be another player who puts the fear into the Heat more than a healthy Rose, and he is a legitimate nightmare to defend when he has his jumpshot falling. The bench mob that dominated other team’s reserves last season isn’t as vaunted as it was last year, which affects how hard they play collectively. If Rose returns I can see the Bulls making a play at the usual mid-season castoffs looking to climb on board a playoff team searching for veteran skills and leadership.
Cleveland CavaliersThe Cavaliers want back in the playoffs. When you watch Kyrie Irving dazzle the defense with his ball handling prowess, knocking down threes like they were free throws, and directing his team, you know you’re watching a star in the making. He’s had a myriad of injuries so far, ranging from his jaw to his hand to his finger, but none seem to be bad enough to derail his season so far. Anderson Varejao has to be an All Star this season, as he is finally healthy and is taking advantage of all the Cavs’ misses from the field. Dion Waiters, Alonzo Gee and Tristan Thompson all have their moments, Waiters in particular has star potential and what's more his coach allows him to just keep shooting.
Detroit PistonsThe Pistons new year’s resolution should be to cut the umbilical cord. Let the kids play. Trade Maxiell, Maggette, Prince, and Villanueva for expirings and draft picks – all could be handy contributors for championship contenders looking for depth. Start the future frontcourt of Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. Their time to learn on the job is now, with Drummond a future rebound and shot-blocking machine just waiting for 30 minutes a night. Brandon Knight is quietly showing strong improvement after his surprisingly successful rookie year, as he has become more dependable at running the team whilst Rodney Stuckey has been coming off the bench. For a team consistently in ‘strife’ for the past half decade, this team has some nice building blocks, but they need a couple of veteran free agents to make a return to significance.
Indiana PacersThe Pacers want Roy Hibbert, All Star. Coming into the season you’d think the team could rely on their newly paid big man to rack up 15 and 9 nightly, with a handful of blocks and solid leadership. He’s had a sharp drop-off from last season, hitting just 40% of his field goals and his free throw percentage has dropped for the fourth straight year. The blocks are there, but very little else. Danny Granger might find himself the odd man out when (or if?) he returns, as the small forward spot seems to be Paul George’s to lose. Whether Granger ends up being traded will depend on whether the team can turn him into a shooting guard, someone like Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton or Gerald Henderson.
Milwaukee BucksMilwaukee needs the real Ersan Ilyasova to stand up. He’s a head scratching case – you don’t get the vibe from him that he’s gotten paid and now is coasting, it seems to be a real issue between he and coach Skiles. The Bucks backcourt is clicking, consistently outscoring their opponents and giving the team two legitimate closers who can score at will and set up a team-mate when needed. Larry Sanders has finally been given consistent minutes and a starting gig. He has seized the opportunity and his production has sky rocketed to the point where he is a nightly double double player and a legit threat to Serge Ibaka’s title of best shot-blocker in the league. Up next is the New Year’s Resolutions for the Southeast Division
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