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What the hell happened in the Central Division?

A comprehensive offseason breakdown of each team in the Central Division from someone who was sort of paying attention

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Indiana Pacers Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA offseason is nearly over so it is time to take stock of all the comings and goings for each team in the NBA. Detroit Bad Boys is bringing you expert analysis of it all, because even though we obsess about the Pistons, we sort of pay attention to everything else as well.

It is time to review the Central Division home to the (in order of last year’s standings) Cleveland Cavaliers, Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons. Did you know some star players got traded?

NBA: Finals-Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers

Offseason in five words

Opening Night Starter Derrick Rose

Big Changes

LeBron James remains the GOAT, but this could be his last ride in a Cleveland uniform. The Robin to his Batman, Kyrie Irving, decided he was ready to become Nightwing (did I get that nerdy reference right?) and force a trade. Cleveland came out in great position if they’re ready for a rebuild, but their title contention hopes took a hit. Isaiah Thomas could be even better than Kyrie if healthy, but that’s the biggest health-related caveat of the offseason. He could take months to return and be a shell of his former self. The true wildcard is the Nets picks, which will either be used for a rebuild lottery pick or as trade fodder to add another superstar.

Better or Worse?

Functional Thomas and Jae Crowder = Favorites in the East.

Banking on big seasons from Derrick Rose, Iman Shumpert and Jeff Green = Enjoy that rebuild, Cavs fans.

NBA: Playoffs-Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Milwaukee Bucks

Offseason in Five Words

Better be right about Giannis

Big Changes

The hype train could not be racing down the tracks any faster in Milwaukee, which is sort of odd for a team that finished last season 42-40 and did next to nothing to improve their team in the offseason. But they also didn’t lose any of their top nine players. They had a clown show of a GM search after losing John Hammond and ended up with John Horst. They re-signed Tony Snell and a couple draft picks to the end of the bench. Jabari Parker will attempt to return from a second major knee injury. In other words, the only reason people are high on the Bucks is because of Giannis Antetokounmpo. And they might not be wrong to think that. The Greek Freak is approaching otherwordly superstar status. the kind reserved for those top 5-8 players in the league. If he takes a step to join the elite then they are possibly a 50-to-55-win team. If not, they’ll be a fun mediocre team again and I can see Greg Monroe scream “And-one!”

Better or worse?

Better. They didn’t really do anything to improve, but a full year of Khris Middelton and Giannis controlling the game like he’s in the Matrix might be all they need.

NBA: Playoffs-Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana Pacers

Offseason in 5 words

Don’t realize they’re 2009 Pistons

Big Changes

I think losing Paul George, Jeff Teague and CJ Miles count as big changes. Getting the mega deal of Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis is depressing. Their two best players minus Myles Turner might both play point guard in Darren Collinson and Corey Joseph, and they’re not even that great. They also added Bojan Bogdanovic. If I didn’t hate the Pacers I’d feel awful for them. This team shelled out $150 million in near multi-year contracts via trade and free agency this offseason all so they could be pretty bad. As a Pistons fans, I am trained to spot this disaster a mile away. It’s going to be ugly, and in a couple years the only guy from this season that might be left is Myles Turner. They better hope he stays on the path of stardom.

Better or Worse?

Competing for one of the worst offseasons in the NBA, but can still comfortably mock the Bulls.

NBA: Playoffs-Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bulls

Offseason in 5 words

Roster is injured, terrible, both

Big Changes

How the f%$& do you turn Jimmy Butler and a first-round pick into Kris Dunn, who was old and terrible as a rookie, an athletic shooting guard coming off an ACL tear, and Lauri Markkanen. Maybe the latter will be great, but he’s got boom or bust potential and the first two — yuck. Especially with a point guard like Dennis Smith Jr. staring at them in the face in the draft. For a team that has been starving for a point guard since Derrick Rose became a shell of himself post injury and staring at a season relying on Kris Dunn, Jerian Grant and an injured Cameron Payne at PG this season. Don’t forget about their injury riddled small forward rotation of Zach LaVine, Paul Zipser and Quincy Pondexter. Or that after Dwyane Wade gets bought out the shooting guards will be Justin Holiday, Denzel Valentine and David Nwaba.

Better or Worse?


NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Pistons

Offseason in 5 words

Last chance for Drummond, Jackson

Big Changes

The team spent the offseason looking to improve their defense, 3-point shooting and ball handling. And it looks like they could have done just that with the additions of Avery Bradley, Langston Galloway, Luke Kennard and, to a lesser extent, Anthony Tolliver. I know that there is a lot of speculation about if this is a make-or-break year for Stan Van Gundy. I would twist that a little bit and say the real people with jobs on the line are Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson. Van Gundy has added defense and shooting and the franchise has spent money. So it’s time for the big-time players to take the next step. If not I have no doubts that Van Gundy will at least try to relocate one or both of them, and that he will get the support of owner Tom Gores.

Better or Worse

Better, but are they really good enough?