Welcome to day two of our completely original Season Preview idea. Today we are taking a look at the shaken and stirred Central Division. So many story lines. So many possible outcomes. It’s time to look at some best/worst case scenarios + breakout stars.
Be sure to check out our Atlantic Division Season Preview. Thanks for reading!
The Central Division
The Cleveland Cavaliers
Best Case Scenario: They win a title plus LeBron’s cutting-edge experimentation with his hairlines results in a scientific breakthroughs that protect our boys overseas with a warm, comfortable, bulletproof pelt of breathtakingly thick body hair.
Worst Case Scenario: Kevin Love gets really into Albert Camus, no longer discriminates between his teammates and opponents when passing.
Breakout Star: Dion Waiters, but in a reality show called The Guy Everyone in Cleveland Hates the Most.
Best Case Scenario: Score an unprecedented 200 points per game, leave the league in ruins a la Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.
Worst Case Scenario: Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett become deities after the cold Minnesota air toughens their skin to an impenetrable level, dethrone the King’s Court in the NBA Finals.
Breakout Star: Oh, dear lord—shudder—the fast-break transition game.
Best Case Scenario: LeBron brings Cleveland its first professional sports title in more than 50 years. In the process, he reverses post-industrial economic trends and turns Northeast Ohio into the Silicon Valley of the Lower Great Lakes
Worst Case Scenario: The team fails to gel, underperforms all year, and in March, a TV announcer has to ask, “Does Dion Waiters need to take over this game right now?”
Breakout Star: Year two of Tristan Thompson’s right-handed jumper experiment
Best Case Scenario: LeBron delivers his championship to Cleveland. Just as Dan Gilbert goes to hug him on the podium, LeBron ROCK BOTTOMS Gilbert through a table and climbs to the top of a nearby ladder to claim his MVP trophy.
Worst Case Scenario: LeBron and Dion Waiters become friends. Seriously, nobody wants that.
Breakout Star: Uncle Drew… who’s hair looks 100X better than LBJ’s.
The Detroit Pistons
Best Case Scenario: NBA fans in other cities remember who more than three Pistons players are at any given time
Worst Case Scenario: Josh Smith shoots a three so bad he’s put on the “Do Not Fly” list, can only play in home games and is also stuck in Detroit forever.
Breakout Star: Stan Van Gundy, but in a reality show called “Yeah, But Ron Jeremy Had More Fun.”
Best Case Scenario: Josh Smith continues to chuck the career-high 3.5 3-point attempts per 36 minutes that he did a season ago.
Worst Case Scenario: Josh Smith continues to chuck the career-high 3.5 3-point attempts per 36 minutes that he did a season ago.
Breakout Star: If you’re a blindly hopeful Pistons fan: Josh Smith’s 3-point shooting.
Best Case Scenario: Stan Van Gundy makes “big ball” the new “small ball,” the Pistons surge to second in the East, and the rest of the league spends the offseason chasing Joe Dumars’ tail.
Worst Case Scenario: Josh Smith convinces Andre Drummond, “threes are where it’s at, bruh,” and the Pistons lose a million games
Breakout Star: Not sure there’s a breakout star here, but Stan Van G reaction GIFs should be great
Best Case Scenario: Andre Drummond and Ariana Grande start posting instagram pics of them hanging out. That’s as excited as I get for Detroit.
Worst Case Scenario: Andrew Drummond and Jennette McCurdy start posting instagram pics of them hanging out. He’s WAY too good for her.
Breakout Star: Stan Van Gundy (Side Note: Wouldn’t it be great if Stan’s voicemail said “Hit me back. Just to chat. Truly yours. Your biggest fan. This is Stan.” Just a thought)
The Chicago Bulls
Best Case Scenario: Derrick Rose doesn’t die at all
Worst Case Scenario: Scar pushes Derrick Rose into a herd of charging Wildebeests, framing a young Mike Dunleavy. Dunleavy runs off to live with a warthog and meerkat, but no one ever looks for him.
Breakout Star: Kirk Hinrich, but for an ABC series called The Goggles
Best Case Scenario: Kirk Hinrich and Aaron Brooks play minimal minutes, Dougie McBuckets and Tony Snell go Super Saiyan Goku for the team’s second unit and Derrick Rose remains able to walk. The following D. Rose hype video is never seen by another set of human eyes; wait, this seems counterintuitive…
Worst Case Scenario: Head coach Tom Thibodeau takes Win-or-Go-Home lineups to new level, refuses to play starters less than the full 48 minutes each game. Jimmy Butler is lone depleted survivor three weeks into the season and continues to play 1-on-5 the rest of the way.
Breakout Star: Nikola Mirotic and Pau Gasol’s adorableness campaign. Mirotic – Gasol in 2016!
Best Case Scenario: Derrick Rose is the old Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol is the old Pau Gasol, Nikola Miorotic is the new Eastern European guy who I constantly want to write about but can never remember how to spell his name, the Bulls win the title, Chicago rejoices
Worst Case Scenario: Rose busts his knee up, Gasol starts smoking cigarettes and jotting notes in a Moleskin during timeouts, Nazr Mohammed logs 1,800 minutes at center, the team falls to the 7 seed
Breakout Star: Moments when Doug McDermott seems like an awkward, impossibly white robot during in-game videos featuring Bulls players “cutting loose.”
Best Case Scenario: Bulls win the Finals! Pau leads the way but D-Rose wins MVP because that’s just what comes with being Pau.
Worst Case Scenario: Thibs implements a thing called “24-A-Days.”
Breakout Star: PAU! (Just needed an excuse to include this video. Pau is a golden angel.)
The Milwaukee Bucks
Best Case Scenario: Everyone continues not to comment on the fact that Giannis Antekounmpo only went for 6.8-4.4 last year, in 24 minutes. No one mentions that “Point Giannis” had 1.9 assists last year, and a total of 5 in the last 5 preseason games. This all continues to be super exciting and cute.
Worst Case Scenario: OH MY GOD WHAT IF EVERYONE STARTED COMMENTING ON ALL THAT?!
Breakout Star: OJ Mayo, but in a cooking show series called “Unconventional Combinations.”
Best Case Scenario: Giannis Antetokounmpo continues silly, life-long growing spurt, ends season at 8-foot-4. The team’s lengthy pedigree creates a vortex around the net for opposing players, abets the Bucks to a digestible 30-win season.
Worst Case Scenario: Jason Kidd becomes the sociopath internet trolls have suggested for years, straps Jabari Parker to the front-window glass of the team bus prior to every game.
Breakout Star: Larry Sanders’ stamina?
Best Case Scenario: Basketball bloggers everywhere swoon as the team surges to 25 wins.
Worst Case Scenario: Basketball bloggers everywhere becomes increasingly vitriolic as the “mainstream idiots” criticize Giannis for existing only as an abstract concept.
Breakout Star: Giannis Twitter coverage.
Best Case Scenario: Giannis decides to sleep with every basketball blogger’s wife/girlfriend just to see if they’d still love him. And of course they do.
Worst Case Scenario: “Heeeey. I’ve been hiding in this closet for 6 weeks now and… Wait a minute, we aren’t really playing Hide-and-Seek, are we? Ah! I’ve been duped! Welp, back to the Bradley Center!” – O.J. Mayo
Breakout Star: Larry Sanders because I legitimately think he’ll be awesome this year. Suck it, Ballerball.
The Indiana Pacers
Best Case Scenario: No one gets hurt when David West inevitably combusts.
Worst Case Scenario: Roy Hibbert is caught in the blast, mysteriously removing him from any ability to be an impactful player. Haha that already happened.
Breakout Star: Ian Mahimni, but for a book of poetry called “The Mahimni in Me.”
Best Case Scenario: Paul George bellows, “I don’t need no leg,” at the heavens,returns to team, maintains lockdown defender status, captains the Pacers to the Eastern Conference’s No. 5 seed.
Worst Case Scenario: George Hill, Rodney Stuckey, C.J. Miles all play the way they’re projected. Lance Stephenson blows artic tundra into the state of Indiana, freezing Frank Vogel’s face.
Breakout Star: Roy Hibbert’s unflinching aggression on the glass after being subjected to viewing the first 60 pages of Google search results including his name.
Best Case Scenario: Rodney Stuckey tosses up 17 a night for a pretty atrocious squad, the Draft Lottery gods smile upon the Land of Larry Legend and – in a David Robinson – Tim Duncan type situation, the team lands the #1 overall pick.
Worst Case Scenario: Rodney Stuckey tosses up 17 a night for a pretty atrocious squad, the Draft Lottery gods frown on the Land of the Palace Malice, the season becomes lost in time.
Breakout Star: Shots of a sad, defeated Paul George after particularly ill-advised Stuckey jumpers.
Best Case Scenario: Luis Scola becomes the new Lance Stephenson. Hear me out…
It’s like the movie Fallen where a demon possesses a body then moves on to another body through the act of touch. Lance isn’t a person… he’s a spirit that moves around from body to body. Lance exists in Scola now causing him to become that crazy x-factor Lance used to be. Pacers still miss the playoffs.
Worst Case Scenario: Scola, with the Lance spirit inside him (stay with me), goes on a fishing trip with Roy Hibbert. Hibbert forgets about Scola and leaves him in the middle of the woods and the Lance spirit is destroyed forever.
Breakout Star: John Goodman… who eventually finds Scola in the woods! But is it too late? Dont miss… FALLEN TWO: THE AGE OF L666NCE