My predictions for the Central Division as well as brief comments on each team after the jump. (Media Day today for the Sixers, we're going to wrap these predictions quickly as camp is looming).
1. Cavaliers (62-20) - I'm fairly certain I like the additions of Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon more than Shaq, although I'm sure I'm in the minority. Personally, I wish for nothing but bad things to happen to this team. If you thought the pregame posing for pictures was ridiculous last season, just wait 'til you see Shaq and LeBron try to one-up each other for biggest d-bag in the league.
2. Bulls (41-41) - They lost Ben Gordon, which is going to sting, but they will have John Salmons + Brad Miller all year, and Rose is a year older (and hopefully picked up some defensive clues over the summer). I see them pretty much right where they were last year.
3. Pistons (39-43) - The Pistons went in an unexpected, and I'm afraid misguided direction when they splurged in free agency to bring in Ben Gordon and Charlie V. Now they're a hodgepodge of mismatched parts and their defensive identity is completely gone. I have them scratching their way into the #8 seed, but that's really nothing to brag about.
4. Pacers (35-47) - Not much to say about this team. With or without Dunleavy, is anyone really scared of them?
5. Bucks (29-53) - The Bucks could swing either way this season. They probably would've been my upset team to sneak into the playoffs had they retained Ramon Sessions, but there are just so many question marks. Expect Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut to return. Expect dazzling plays from Brandon Jennings. Don't expect a whole lot from Joe Alexander. Expect really solid fantasy numbers from Hakim Warrick. Expect a high lottery pick next season unless Jennings really plays beyond his years and Redd/Bogut remain healthy.
Here's your playoff seeding for the Eastern Conference:
7. New Jersey
Thoughts in the comments, as usual.