Top Storylines: Central Division
Chicago Bulls – Look Me in the Eyes.
*Photo via Chicago Tribune
You could talk for days about how Derrick Rose being healthy is the biggest storyline in Chicago and you'd be correct...but you'd also be boring. Don't be boring. Instead, bask in the awesomeness that has presented itself in the form of rookie power forward Bobby Portis.
Portis, or "Crazy Eyes" as he's been affectionately named by his teammates, could play his way into the rookie of the year discussion thanks to a successful preseason that should lead to rotational minutes the minute the season tips off.
Consider the future with the Chicago Bulls. We could be seeing the first glimpses of a team who could be built around Jimmy Butler, Nikola Mirotic, Bobby Portis, and Doug McDermott for the foreseeable future. And before you get on me for including McDermott in that group, take a deep breath and let it go. A guy can dream, right? – Mike Ricci
Cleveland Cavaliers – The King Needs His Number 2.
*Photo via NBA.com
What’s going on with Kyrie Irving? And why is nobody talking about his comeback from a fractured kneecap? There is a real possibility Irving not only misses time but also has to work himself into shape during the year. LeBron James is the best player in the world and can carry a team to the playoffs on his own, but to be dominant and compete versus the Western Conference, this team needs Irving playing at 100%. Mo Williams is a solid backup but he’s just nowhere near the same kind of player. Irving’s ability to stretch the floor and to create shots on his own completely changes the dynamic of this team and makes the offense nearly impossible to defend. Irving not being healthy would mean the Cavs will still fall short in their ultimate goal, to win an NBA Championship. This is a major storyline for not only the Cavs, but for the landscape of the entire NBA. – Joe Vayas
Detroit Pistons – The Price is Right…Right?
*Photo via USA Today
Most teams have one guy to coach the team and another guy to assemble the team. Well the Detroit Pistons have Stan Van Gundy, so no need to for two dudes when one can do the job. After trading for Reggie Jackson in February, the Pistons locked him up on a 5-year, $80 million deal. That’s a great deal for a proven point guard…wait, he’s only started 76 games in four years?!? WOW, I see what you’re saying John Wall. Okay, well hopefully he now gets the chance to blossom as a full time starter.
Detroit also snagged the not as good Morris twin from Phoenix, which may turn out be a genius move as now the better twin misses his brother and may maneuver his way to Detroit. The Motor City has a roster of a low seed in the East, but now it’s time to see if coach Stan Van can (that rhymed lol) lead the team that basketball operations president Stan Van put together. – Parth Goradia
Indiana Pacers – Run This Town.
*Photo via Getty Images
This is a season of complete turnover in everything from personnel, philosophy, and star player jersey numbers. No more 7-2 Big Roy or MMA-trained bruiser David West to set fear in opposing backcourts. No more enigma of Lance Stephenson to constantly keep foes off-guard in more ways than one. No more "old-school" pound-the-paint mentality that came to be the mantra for the Pacers for the past 25 years.
Throw-in scoring machine Monta Ellis, sharpshooter C.J. Miles, a reinvented (and repaired) Paul George, and a trio of quicker, more nimble forwards in Ian Mahinmi, rookie Myles Turner, and ex-Laker Jordan Hill, and you have yourself what looks to be a high-flying scoring juggernaut.
Look for rookies Myles Turner (University of Texas - PF/C) and Joe Young (University of Oregon PG/SG) to get more minutes as the season grows into bloom. Key is obviously Paul George's health and scoring prowess. His lore of being a great two-way player will be put to the fullest of test as he changes position to bang down on the blocks with the big boys. – Sam Churchill
Milwaukee Bucks – Fear the Deer.
*Photo via Getty Images
Jason Kidd is the glue that holds the young Milwaukee Bucks together as a cohesive unit. He just may be the most crucial element to the success of the team. Milwaukee may lack the star power, outside of a returning Jabari Parker or an incoming Greg Monroe, but they have stars growing in size. Michael Carter-Williams is a point guard learning his craft from one of the best of all time. Giannis Antetokounmpo has a chance to be the best Greek player in NBA history. Greg Monroe adds a dynamic to the roster that the Bucks haven't had in a very long time. Can the Milwaukee Bucks win an NBA Championship this year? Most experts would say no. I'm not going to say yes. With some added depth and a growing possibility for defensive excellence, the post-season surely awaits the 2015-16 Milwaukee Bucks. – Ryan Buchanan