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NBA Preview 2013-14: Central Division

Paul George
1. Chicago Bulls
2. Indiana Pacers
3. Detroit Pistons
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
5. Milwaukee Bucks

Rookie Report
Tony Snell, SF, Bulls
The 6-7 forward from New Mexico should bring help on the wing and gives Chicago scoring, something that it definitely lacked last season.
Anthony Bennett, F, Cavaliers
The surprising No.1 overall pick will bring a ton of rebounding but it remains to be seen what forward slot he fits into.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG, Bucks
The Greek guard, who was selected 15th overall, has great size and has the potential to be a solid guard/forward at the NBA level.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Pistons
Detroit really lacked excitement and scoring in their backcourt so they picked up Caldwell-Pope, a high-scoring guard who was a star at Georgia.
Solomon Hill, F, Pacers
Although undersized, Hill will bring leadership and maturity to a frontcourt that has some aging players, like David West.

"The Return" should decide the Central this year. Even without Derrick Rose, the Bulls managed to win 45 games and took out Brooklyn in the first round of the playoffs. With Rose back, it gives Chicago scoring and the face of their franchise back. It remains to be seen if he is 100% but he should be a big addition, nonetheless. Along with Rose, the Bulls offense should rely heavily on Joakim Noah, who is a monster on the glass and is a great defender and aging Carlos Boozer, who disappeared at times last year. The addition of Tony Snell, this year's first round draft pick, should help significantly. Snell is a gifted athlete who can score but is also psychical on the wing. It remains to be seen how much minutes he can gain with the multitude of wings Chicago has. Thanks to a big year from Paul George the Pacers challenged the Heat for the Eastern Conference crown until the last second. George is still a year or two from becoming a superstar but the wing can shoot, but also is gifted with the size and strength to get to the rim. He can score and rebound but is also a quality defender who can shut down big name stars. Roy Hibbert returns as one of the NBA's most intimidating low post presences and a fully healthy Danny Granger will mean big things for the Pacers. When healthy Granger is one of the most underrated players in the NBA, a threat on the perimeter who also has good size. Luis Scola arrives to give more help in Indiana's solid frontcourt. Quietly, the Pistons made a couple of huge splashes over the offseason, landing Josh Smith from Atlanta and trading for inconsistent, but talented, Brandon Jennings. Along with aging but still effective guard Chauncey Billups, Detroit has the talent to make a playoff appearance, especially in the extremely weak Eastern Conference. This roster has a ton of young talent, from rookies Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, an elite scorer and Tony Mitchell, a big man from North Texas to second-year man Andre Drummond. The Pistons are banking on Drummond to develop into the dominant low post presence he has the potential to be. If Jennings can mature and Smith is effective from the beginning, Detroit could surprise. It appears the Cavaliers are starting to build a roster that can compete in the East again. Kyrie Irving has developed into one of the NBA's most dangerous guards. His ankle breakers are a common scene and Irving has proven he can be a playmaker, which he will be this year with talent around him. The Cavs took a real risk on signing Andrew Bynum, who didn't play one minute with Philadelphia, but he has the talent to be dominant. When healthy, Bynum dominates, with his impressive size and athleticism. Cleveland is also hoping for second-year guard Dion Waiters to improve greatly and Tristian Thompson, who is changing his shooting hand from lefty to righty, to finally develop into a more formidable forward. The Bucks were saved by the fact that the East was so terrible last year, sneaking into the playoffs. They clearly felt that a 37-45 mark wasn't good enough so they shipped two expensive contracts, Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis off. They did pay Larry Sanders, who is an elite shot-blocker and still have an underrated forward in Ersan Ilyasova, who can stretch the floor. The frontcourt appears to be solid, but the backcourt has no proven playmakers. Brandon Knight was acquired in the Jennings trade and he has talent, but has struggled with inconsistency in his career. O.J. Mayo can score and played well at times with Dallas, but isn't anything to build around.

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