NBA Eastern Conf. Central Division Preview

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The Central Division in the NBA's Eastern Conference is the toughest division in basketball with the Pistons, Cavs, Bulls, and Pacers all within an arm's length of each other. With the Pistons losing Ben Wallace, things get even tighter in the Central this season, but it looks like Detroit Still has enough to take home another Central Division title.

Detroit Pistons: The Pistons lose Big Ben, but they keep their other 4 All-Star caliber players (Billups, Hamilton, Wallace, and Prince) and throw Nazr Mohammed, who has more of an offensive presence, into center position. I'm not saying that the loss of Ben Wallace does not move the Cavs, Bulls, and Pacers closer to the Pistons in the Central because it does. But we can not forget how important of a factor it is that these guys know how to play together. I like Tayshaun Price to have a standout year and for the Pistons to take the top spot in the central once again.

Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavs have gotten better every year since Lebron joined their franchise, but they are not quite ready to surpass the Pistons yet. Many experts say the Cavs will be even better with a healthy Larry Hughes, but perhaps his absence was the reason for Cleveland's success. He is a good defensive player, but turnover prone on offense. The Cavs would benefit more with a pure shooter playing the two-spot. Lebron will be the best player in the league, but will come up just short in the Central.

Chicago Bulls: The Bulls get Big Ben who is just a stronger version of Tyson Chandler, a big athletic defender and rebounder who can not score. The Bulls will have one of the best defensive units in the league and good depth with Nocioni and Duhan as well as rookies Tyrus Thomas and Thabo Sefolosha coming off the bench. But what they really need is a number one screening option to take them on his back in critical situations. They'll be play bound, but they will not go far.

Indiana Pacers: Indiana still has not reclaimed from the Ron Artest episode or should I say episodes. They are still talented enough to challenge for the Central title with the likes of O'Neal, Jackson, Tinsley, and the acquisition of Al Harrington, but I do not see them finishing better than third or fourth. We can count on Tinsley and O'Neal missing time with injuries again this season. They'll make the playoffs as a seven or eight, but that's as far as they'll go.

Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks are a decent basketball team and would probably contend for second place in the Atlantic Division, but they play in the toughest division in the NBA. Milwaukee will lose a step without TJ Ford, but I'm expecting an even better season out Michael Redd. Andrew Bogut is the Bucks' future. He will not be ready to start on opening day and will not be ready to star in the league this season. The Bucks will find the basement.

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