While we mainly talk about the NBA as the Eastern and Western Conference, each conference has three sub-divisions in them and the Central Division in the Eastern Conference has a lot of talent this year. The Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks are the five teams that make up this division and all of these teams, maybe besides the Pistons, have a legit shot to make the playoffs this season.
The Pistons have struggled early on in the year, but they may have had one of the best free agent signings in recent years when they signed Jerami Grant this past offseason to a three-year, $60M deal. Honestly, they should probably offer him the same deal again as a contract extension this offseason because Grant has turned himself into a great player who could be an All-Star for many years to come.
The Bulls and the Cavaliers both missed the playoffs last year and have some young talents with a lot of potential. Both teams have been up-and-down this season, but have the depth and potential to make the playoffs this season. The Cavaliers especially, who are led by Collin Sexton and veteran big man Andre Drummond.
After losing in the first-round of the playoffs for five straight seasons, the Pacers finally made some changes this year and decided to move on from Victor Oladipo. They traded him to the Rockets for Caris LeVert following the James Harden to Brooklyn trade and while LeVert has not played yet and is out indefinitely after having a small mass removed from his kidney, the Pacers have still played at a high enough level to be considered contenders in the Eastern Conference.
And finally, one of the top teams in the entire NBA once again – the Milwaukee Bucks. Giannis Antetokounmpo signing his super-max contract-extension in the offseason was one of the biggest storylines for the entire league, as he became the highest paid player in NBA history after signing his five-year, $228M extension. With Giannis and Middleton back and the addition of Jrue Holiday, it will be hard to stop the Bucks come playoff time.
The Bucks, Bulls, Cavaliers, Pacers, and Pistons could still look to make some moves before the NBA trade deadline. Let’s take a look at one player each team in the Central Division should pursue as the March 25th trade deadline quickly approaches.