With the NBA season being a few weeks away, it is a good time to look at where teams stand. Being a Cavs fan, I want to look at their offseason and their expectations for the 2019-20 season. One way this can be done by looking at the Cavaliers and how they compare to other teams in their division. So, let us compare the Cavs to other Central Division teams.
Except for their rookies and a two-way deal with former Kansas State forward Dean Wade, the Cavs have kept quiet. The Cavs are relying on their young players such as Collin Sexton, Cedi Osman and Darius Garland, and veterans such as Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson, to compete throughout the season. While this is a decent start, the Cavs still have a ways to go before becoming a (legitimate) playoff team. This is especially true when compared to other teams in the Central Division.
The Central Division consists of the Chicago Bulls, the Cavaliers, the Detroit Pistons, the Indiana Pacers and the Milwaukee Bucks. Last season, a Central Division team was the best team of the Eastern Conference. The Milwaukee Bucks were the first seed, as they finished with a record of 60-22. Their star player Giannis Antetokounmpo won the MVP award after beating out stars such as James Harden and Paul George. Antetokounmpo and the Bucks had a great season that ended after the Raptors beat them in the Eastern Conference Finals. As Antetokounmpo continues to develop his game, the Bucks will once again be one of the top teams of the East.
The Pacers and the Pistons were also playoff teams, as the Pacers were fifth , and the Pistons were eighth. Both teams were swept in the first round, but they managed to reach the playoffs.
The Pacers had a solid offseason, as they brought in free agents Malcolm Brogdon and Jeremy Lamb. Both players are great additions that will help the Pacers on the offensive end. They will come in handy, as the Pacers are waiting for Victor Oladipo’s return. So, the addition of Brogdon and Lamb was a smart decision.
The Pistons (like the Cavs) mostly on draft picks, but they did sign free agents Derrick Rose and Joe Johnson. The veterans will help the Pistons, but I do not expect a complete turnaround.
The Bulls are in a similar position as the Cavs. They are a rebuilding team hoping to find their identity. They were a lottery team this summer and used their pick to draft Coby White of UNC. The Bulls have pieces such as White, Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen that will serve as building blocks to their future. While they may improve, they are in the same position as the Cavs.
The Cavaliers have an interesting season ahead of them. They are on the right track, as they added more pieces, as well as a new head coach. They will win a few more games, but will likely remain a lottery team.
This season, the Central Divison might be even tougher than last year. The Bucks will remain at the top of the division, while the Pacers won’t be too far behind. Then, the remaining teams may or may not fight for that third spot. At least I hope so.
All in all, while the Cavs will be better this season, I see them being fourth in their division. If they can at least pass the Bulls, I’ll be satisfied. We’ll see what happens, as the season grows closer.
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