Posted by Royce Young
Read Ken Berger's full Central Division preview
The Burning Question: Will this be the worst division in the league?
At first look, yes, it is. In fact, I looked two more times and yes, it still is.
There's just one team that appears capable of actually doing anything substantial. Now everyone is staring at the Bulls assuming there's a roster there that is ready to finish in the top four in the East and potentially push for the Eastern Conference Finals. But here's reality: We don't know a lot about that Bulls team.
Historically, they've underachieved a bit in what are supposed to be big breakout years. Carlos Boozer is a very nice addition and pairing him inside with Joakim Noah is lovely. But is that addition really all the Bulls needed to get over the hump? Forget the Boozer acquisition, the biggest thing for the Bulls is about Derrick Rose's maturation.
If he starts evolving into an MVP-style candidate the way he's talking, then yes, the Bulls will be there. But as for the rest of these teams? The Bucks are a group people are expecting something out of, but are they really a 50-win squad? Playoffs, yes. But true contender when their only offseason move was getting Drew Gooden, Corey Maggette and 14 other power forwards? Plus, Andrew Bogut has said he's maybe not even healthy, so that's not a big helper.
Other than the apparent top two in the Central, there's a big dropoff. The Pacers are on another crash course to win 30 games, the Cavs will be lucky to stay competitive and the Pistons are standing next to a cliff with one foot hanging off.
Now of course you could look at the Atlantic Division which has a big-time lineup of Boston, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Toronto and make a really strong case that group will be worse. And I'm not sure I could disagree with you. But at least the Atlantic has the Celtics, a team you know will be involved deep into the postseason. The Central has the Bulls, a team we all sort of kind of think will be. Big difference.