NBA Season Preview: Can LeBron Win One For #TheLand?
October 10, 2014 - 7:24 pm
Fresh Faces: The Central Division Rookies You Should Know
CJ Fair, Indiana Pacers: CJ Fair might have an NBA baptism by fire his rookie season. With Paul George suffering a season ending injury, Fair should be counted on to contribute more than even he anticipated for the Pacers. Pressure bursts pipes and makes diamonds. We’ll see if Indy’s upper management got them a true gem.
Doug McDermott, Chicago Bulls: The elephant in the NBA’s living room surrounding Derrick Rose’s chronic injuries is that he shoulders so much of the scoring responsibilities. It’s hard to lead a team alone on offense in the league, but Bulls hopefuls are excited about Doug McDermott. After starring at Creighton for four years in college, he finished fifth all-time on the NCAA’s leading scorer list with 3,150 points. Simply put, Dougie McBuckets can put the ball in the hoop.
Spencer Dinwiddie, Detroit Pistons: You’ve probably never heard of Spencer Dinwiddie, but you’ll know him soon. The Pistons are in major rebuilding mode, in dire need of stability. Which they haven’t had at point guard since Chauncey Billups rode off into the retirement. Funny thing is, Billups too was an under appreciated player, that went to college at the University of Colorado and later starred for the Pistons. Lighting just might strike twice in the Motor City.
Jabari Parker, Milwaukee Bucks: Derrick Rose and LeBron James are the two kings battling it out for Eastern Conference supremacy now, but Jabari Parker will soon be the heir to the Central Division throne. Like Rose, Parker is a product the harsh Chicago winters. That means he’s tough, skilled and one of the prize players of one of the most loaded NBA drafts of all-time. The Bucks have a great chance at developing into a title contender (eventually) once Parker becomes the player he’s destined to be.
Johnny O’Bryant, Milwaukee Bucks: One of the more overlooked draftees from 2014, the former LSU big man Johnny O’Bryant is a force in the paint. Jabari Parker was the prize, but O’Bryant should definitely be a big part of the Bucks future, too. Milwaukee wont win much this season, but with such a young, exciting, energetic group of young players, they’ll be fun to watch.
What’s good with the Bulls?
Is Derrick Rose really ready? Can Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol work together? So many questions and like Chicago’s own Kanye West aptly pointed out to Sway, the answers aren’t always easy to come by. However, when we asked Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried, who played alongside Rose during Team USA’s gold medal run this summer, if Rose was back, he simply smiled, shook his head and said “It’s gunna be scary.” Until we get to see D.Rose ball out, that’s good enough for us.
So Who Do We Need To Watch?
The Pacers ruled the Eastern Conference last season with little challenges until the playoffs. However, they’re in a totally different position this year: Paul George is out, Lance Stephenson jumped ship to Charlotte to play for MJ and David West is considering retirement. Shit was all good just a season ago.
Most have the Pacers taking this year off, but team president Larry Bird aint built with an ounce of quit in him. The team might make a move or two by playoff time, but it’s just hard to think that the Pacers organization will be ok with not being great. It’s too early to talk tanking for draft picks, but which direction the Pacers decide to go in will be interesting to see.
Overview/Predictions: Outside of a few fun moments from the too young Milwaukee Bucks, the Central Division is a two team race between the Bulls and the Cavs. Most consider the Bulls a clear favorite but, we’re not so sure. Yes, the Bulls are getting a healthy Derrick Rose back, have added Pau Gasol and last season Joakim Noah became a real-life NBA star. Not to mention, rookie guard Doug McDermott might become one of the best shooters in the league some day soon.
On the flip side, the Cavaliers have the best team on paper in the Central Division since the days Jordan, Pippen and Rodman. Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and LeBron James all have different respective levels of success and, despite being at different levels in their careers, are focused on that shiny gold trophy. Odds are, whoever wins the battle between these two might be ready to dethrone the San Antonio Spurs come late June.