2007 NBA Central Division Preview
It was the Eastern Conference’s Central Division that gave the NBA the club that went to the league finals. But it wasn’t the expected Detroit Pistons. Instead, it was the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs couldn’t finish the deal; instead the Spurs finished them. But James proved himself throughout the playoffs. For the Cavaliers, it became clear that they needed to be more than a one-man team to win it all.
Check out the Bulls this season. Chicago has some fine young players—Luo Deng, Kirk Hinrich and Ben Gordon—that form a sound foundation. Each has enough experience, youth and athleticism to make this a break out year. Oh, and don’t forget Ben Wallace, free agent Joe Smith and rookie Joakim Noah, who are just a few of the guys that make this one of the more complete teams in the division.
The Cavs were division and conference champs last season. Yet, their road record (20- 21) was less than impressive. In order for Cleveland to continue to grow and improve, they must play much better when away from home. Cleveland did not pull off any deals in the off-season and that means that good players like Ilgauskas, Gooden and Gibson will have to play better than good.
It’s tough to imagine the Pistons working together after such a contentious 2006- 2007 season. Rasheed Wallace going over-the-top emotionally in the finals and his penchant for technical fouls really hurt the club in the long run.
The Bucs Michael Redd must remain healthy for the team to have a chance at the playoffs. Last year he missed 29 games due to injury. Guard Mo Williams is a steady performer and if center Andrew Bogut can finally step-up, this club has a chance to win more than it loses.
For the Pacers, it’s a matter of discipline, tenacity and talent—three things on which they are short. New coach Jim O’Brien, formerly with the Sixers, has his work cut out for him.
The Central Division certainly has tightened up. Look for the Bulls, Pistons and Cavaliers to be competitive and for the Bucs to have a shot. If you can’t play defense in the Central, you’re really sunk. This is a claw and dig division.
2007 NBA Central Division Predictions
Projected Order of Finish: Click on team name for individual in-depth team outlook.