Another year, another NBA offseason dwindling down. Before we know it, media days and camp will be here, and the preseason will be tipping off. However, for now, the hottest topics are how all of the teams did this offseason in order to prepare themselves for this year. So, we will be breaking down each division in roundtable fashion, and we’re almost through the entire league. So far, we’ve done the Northwest Division, Southwest Division and Pacific Division.
This week we will be assessing the Central Division which is composed of the reigning NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks. This week’s participants are…
Cyril Mpacko: @Cee_Armel
DJ Allen: @DJAllen23
Alfonso De Falco: @FonzyDeFalco
B.J. Boyer: @wcboyer24
General Consensus Grades:
Cleveland Cavaliers: A
Analysis from Cyril Mpacko (A): Anytime you re-sign King James, you’ve won the offseason. Adding Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Kay Felder gives the Cavs more depth in key areas. The only thing holding Cleveland back from an A+ is their ongoing spat with J.R. Smith.
Lowest grade: A- from Alfonzo De Falco: The Cavs had one priority: re-sign LeBron James, and they did that. They also brought in Mike Dunleavy for wing help and their second round pick Kay Felder has the potential to be a nice role player. Also credit the management for bringing back Richard Jefferson to keep the chemistry going, now they just need to bring back J.R. Smith.
Indiana Pacers: A
Analysis from B.J. Boyer (B+): After watching Paul George shoulder a huge offensive burden for the Pacers throughout the season, Indiana tinkered with everything from the coaching staff to the roster. They didn’t retain Frank Vogel who is now being succeeded by Nate McMillan, and flanking George with the likes of Jeff Teague, Thaddeus Young, Al Jefferson and Aaron Brooks. I’m a tad concerned about the defensive drop-off from former Pacer point guard George Hill and Teague (a Teague/Monta Ellis backcourt will be gruesome at times defensively), but the Pacers had a nice summer that should boost their standing in the East.
Highest grade: A+ from DJ Allen: Outside of the Golden State Warriors, the Indiana Pacers had one of the best offseasons compared to the rest of the league. Trading for Jeff Teague and signing Thaddeus Young was huge. They are two guys that are very solid at their position and can make an immediate impact. Add that to Paul George who’s coming off a great summer and a young Myles Turner who has potential to be a problem in this league, and the Pacers have a great team that can make some noise in the Eastern Conference.
Detroit Pistons: C+
Analysis from Alfonzo De Falco (B-): Detroit got rid of a couple bad contracts in Jodie Meeks, Anthony Tolliver and Joel Anthony, and they also brought back Andre Drummond as the franchise centerpiece. As for who they signed, as usual Detroit did not sign any big names but they got some good role players to bolster their deep roster.
Lowest grade: C from DJ Allen: Nothing really stands out looking at the offseason of the Detroit Pistons. They re-signed Andre Drummond which most people expected but besides that, there weren’t many eye-popping moves. It was an average off-season at best.
Chicago Bulls: B-
Analysis from B.J. Boyer (C-): Chicago ridded themselves of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah this offseason, entrusting Jimmy Butler to assume the role of a true leader. Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo have been brought in to facilitate it all, and to also help the Bulls win a few more games in hopes of qualifying for the postseason. Outside of Robin Lopez the center position remains shoddy for Chicago, but they have a nice young big in Bobby Portis. Don’t expect the Bulls to contend, but let’s not question their status as one of the league’s most compelling watches this season.
Highest grade: B from Cyril Mpacko: Losing Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Mike Dunleavy officially ends the most successful period of Bulls basketball outside of the Jordan/Pippen years. Adding winners in Dwyane Wade & Rajon Rondo should help Jimmy Butler assume leadership responsibilities in this next era. Not a home run offseason but a slew of base hits that should help keep the Bulls competitive.
Milwaukee Bucks: C-
Analysis from Cyril Mpacko (B+): Adding a scrappy guard like Matthew Dellavedova bodes well for the young Milwaukee Bucks. Their key acquisition was drafting Thon Maker, who has mountains of upside. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of freakish lineups Jason Kidd can craft up with all of that height and athleticism at his disposal.
Lowest grade: C+ from DJ Allen: The Bucks didn’t make any huge changes this offseason. They drafted Thon Maker whose career is hard to determine at this stage. Matthew Dellavadova and Jason Terry aren’t eye-popping names that really move me to say their offseason was great.