May 22, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert (55) reacts in the 4th quarter of game 5 in the 2012 NBA eastern conference semi-finals at the American Airlines Arena. The Miami Heat defeated the Paces 115-83. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

2012 NBA Offseason: Grading the Central Division

In Part 1 of my six part series in grading every division’s offseason moves, I looked at the Atlantic Division. Now it’s time to turn our attention to the Central, to see if team like the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers did enough to make themselves championship contenders, or if the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Milwaukee Bucks or Detroit Pistons have done enough to make themselves playoff contenders.

With that being said, let’s take a look at all of the movement in the NBA’s Central Division.

 

Chicago Bulls

Players Added

NBA Draft: G Marquis Teague
Free Agents: G Kirk Hinrich, F Vladimir Radmanovic, Nazr Mohammed

Players Lost

Free Agents: C Omer Asik, G Ronnie Brewer, G C.J. Watson
Trades: F Kyle Korver

The Bulls wisely didn’t match the offer sheet to Asik, but overall it has been a lousy offseason for the Bulls. Adding Hinrich, Radmanovic and Mohammed does nothing to make them better and the losses of Korver, Brewer and Watson will be felt from a depth perspective.

It was nice that Teague fell in their laps on draft night but he’s not ready for major NBA minutes yet. Grade: D-

July 17, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters (3) during the game against the Phoenix Suns at the Thomas and Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

 

Cleveland Cavaliers

Players Added

NBA Draft: G Dion Waiters, C Tyler Zeller
Free Agents: F Luke Harangody (re-signed), F Jon Leuer
Trades: G Kelenna Azubuike

Players Lost

Free Agents: C Semih Erden, F Antawn Jamison
Waived: G Manny Harris
Retired: G Anthony Parker

The Cavs added Waiters and Zeller to a good young core that features Kyrie Irving and Tristian Thompson already. However they are still a bunch of parts away from competing. The future looks bright though and now that they are in the middle of the Dwight Howard saga, they have the chance to add a huge part for the future in Andrew Bynum. If they do, then this grade is much better. Grade: C+

Detroit Pistons

Players Added

NBA Draft: C Andre Drummond, G Kim English, F Khris Middleton
Free Agents: F Kyle Singler, F Vyacheslav Kravtsov
Trades: F Corey Maggette

Players Lost

Trades: G Ben Gordon

The Pistons moves won’t have impact on the team this season, but instead planted the seeds for the future. They finally got their athletic big man they desperately needed when Drummond fell to them during the draft. Whether he becomes Dwight Howard or Kwame Brown though is yet to be determined.

They also found a sucker team in Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Bobcats to take on Ben Gordon’s contract, so they get a little bit of salary cap relief going forward. I love their second round picks of English and Middleton, so the Pistons are starting to rebuild nicely. Grade: B

Indiana Pacers

May 20, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers shooting guard George Hill (3) dribbles the ball along the baseline against the Miami Heat in game four of the Eastern Conference semifinals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Miami defeated Indiana 101-93. Mandatory credit: Michael Hickey-US PRESSWIRE

Players Added

NBA Draft: G Orlando Johnson, F Miles Plumlee
Free Agents: G George Hill (re-signed), G/F Gerald Green, G D.J. Augustin, C Roy Hibbert (re-signed)
Trades: F Ian Mahinmi

Players Lost

Trades: G Darren Collison, G/F Dahntay Jones

The loss of Larry Bird was felt on draft night as I hated the Miles Plumlee pick. In addition, they overpaid for Hibbert and brought back Hill, so their starting five is intact, which is fine.

Then they traded Collison, their playoff PER leader for the right to pay Mahinmi $16 million? They could have likely signed him as an unrestricted free agent for half the price and wouldn’t have had to include Collison.

But they countered with Augustin, who’s more of a pure point guard than Collison, even though Collison was statistically better across the board and they added some bench scoring in Green. However looking back at the point guards, Augustin can’t guard anyone and they are paying him $1.3 million more than they would have paid Collison.

Overall I think Indiana got worse. Grade: C-

 

Milwaukee Bucks

Players Added

NBA Draft: F John Henson, G Doron Lamb
Free Agents: F Ersan Ilyasova (re-signed)
Trades: C Samuel Dalembert

Players Lost

Free Agents: C Kwame Brown
Trades: F Jon Brockman, F/C Jon Leuer, G Shaun Livingston

I like what the Bucks did. They re-signed Ilyasova and brought in a pair of big men in Dalembert and Henson who can make Milwaukee very tough to score on in the paint. Lamb gives them another shooter and when he’s feeling it, the kid is lethal from the perimeter.

They may have improved enough to sneak into the playoffs this season. Grade: B

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