Central Division Edition
The 2019 NBA offseason has been one for the record books. From unexpected signings to shocking trades, it’s safe to say that the NBA has managed to captivate the sports world without even playing a single meaningful game in over a month. We have seen seven all-stars from this past season change teams. Now that things have (seemingly) calmed down, it’s time to take a look at how each team has faired this offseason.
Milwaukee Bucks: B
Key Additions – Robin Lopez, Wesley Matthews, Kyle Korver
Key Losses – Malcolm Brogdon, Nikola Mirotic, Pau Gasol, Tony Snell.
Draft – No Picks
Malcolm Brogdon will be a difficult player to replace when it comes to the depth of this team. They did a great job of adding multiple pieces to try and help fill that void, and seeing how the Lopez brothers play alongside each other should be interesting. Giannis Antetokounmpo won the MVP award last season but still has the potential to have an even better year in 2019-20. He’s an improved jump shot away from really being an unstoppable force. This team has all the tools needed to finish at the top of the eastern conference and be a real championship contender.
Indiana Pacers: B+
Key Additions – Malcolm Brogdon, TJ Warren, Jeremy Lamb, TJ McConnell.
Key Losses – Darren Collison, Tyreke Evans, Bojan Bogdanovic, Wesley Matthews, Cory Joseph.
Drafted – Goga Bitadze
Indiana was able to put together a very solid season last year. They have made a lot of moves during free agency, but perhaps the most important factor heading into next year will be the health of all-star guard Victor Oladipo. This team is packed with gritty experienced role players. If they manage to find consistency on the offensive end, then I could very easily see them ending their current streak of four straight first-round playoff series losses.
Detroit Pistons: C
Key Additions – Derrick Rose, Markieff Morris, Tony Snell.
Key Losses – Ish Smith, Wayne Ellington, Glen Robinson III.
Drafted – Sekou Doumbouya, Deividas Sirvydis.
The Pistons finished last year with an even .500 record at 41-41. They did manage to get a playoff spot but were ultimately swept in the first round by the Milwaukee Bucks. Unfortunately, I do not believe they made any moves this offseason to improve on last year. Derrick Rose was an amazing story in 2018-19 with the Timberwolves and should be very fun to watch in Detroit, but do not expect to see much consistency from the former MVP. The Pistons have Blake Griffin locked up through the 2020-21 season and will need to get help fast if they ever plan to make a run with the aging superstar. Unless some midseason moves are made, you can expect to find this team right on the border of playoff contention once again.
Chicago Bulls: C
Key Additions – Thaddeus Young, Tomas Satoransky, Luke Kornet.
Key Losses – Robin Lopez
Drafted – Coby White, Daniel Gafford
A pretty average offseason is about the only way I can think to describe the Bulls. They already have some young talent with Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr, and adding Coby White to that list will give this team a nice starting base. Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky are nice pickups but this year will most likely be about player development. They own three picks in the 2020 draft and have the potential to get three more picks depending on draft positions. For a team that is clearly in rebuild mode, I would keep expectations to a minimum and hope to see a major improvement with their young guys.
Cleveland Cavaliers: C-
Key Additions – No Additions
Key Losses – Cameron Payne, JR Smith.
Drafted – Darius Garland, Dylan Windler, Kevin Porter Jr.
The Cavs are a team still reeling from the departure of Lebron James just last year. Much like the Chicago Bulls, Cleveland is also in rebuild mode. I fully expect them to move Kevin Love at some point this year and seek draft picks or young players with high upside in return. No evidence points to this team finishing much higher than the bottom of the eastern conference. Waiving JR Smith was a great move and there appears to be a lot of optimism surrounding the first-round pick Darius Garland.