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Central division 2014-15 predictions

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We've seen some dramatic shakeups in the Central division this summer. How will they transform the standings?

Mike Ehrmann

Milwaukee Bucks (2013-14 record: 15-67)

Winning basketball is almost always entertaining, with teams like last year's Pacers as an exception. An entertaining bad team might be even more rare, but these Bucks could certainly pan out to be one of the most watchable teams next season. They are loaded with young talent, and watching the Greek Freak, John Henson, and Jabari Parker blossom into borderline superstar players is worth all of Larry Sanders' tantrums.

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Predicted record: 19-63

Indiana Pacers (2013-14 record: 56-26)

Wow. This summer couldn't have gotten much worse for the Indiana Pacers. Lance Stephenson blew (blue) his way to greener hills. Charlotte was looking for a star, and Lance could practically taste those meaty leading man part in his mouth. Stephenson is gone, Paul George is likely out for the season, and I don't see how this team is scoring more than 80 points per game. There might as well be a FIRE... sale. Okay, I'll stop.

Predicted record: 20-62

Detroit Pistons (2013-14 record: 29-53)

Remember when the supposedly revamped Pistons were going to snatch a high seed led by Brandon Jennings, Josh Smith, Andre Drummond, and Greg Monroe? Well the spacing was about as atrocious as you could have possibly imagined, and the Pistons bricked their way to another consecutive season of mediocrity. Stan Van Gundy is one of the NBA's finest coaches, and he was able to maintain success throughout his tenure in Orlando by grouping Dwight with several sharpshooters. The Pistons can't boast of as great of an arsenal, but Jodie Meeks, Caron Butler (a much improved long-ranged shooter from earlier in his career), Cartier Martin, DJ Augustin and the multi-faceted Spencer Dinwiddie are welcome additions to provide oomph to their three-point game.

Predicted record: 42-40

Chicago Bulls (2013-14 record: 48-34)

Pau Gasol and Doug McDermott are great pickups for Chicago, but their biggest addition has to be the return of Derrick Rose. This summer, Rose's reports have varied drastically from looking "phenomenal" prior to the FIBA World Cup, to massively struggling in Barcelona, to being in the best shape of his life before training camp. The Bulls will be able to breeze by the regular season without a 100% Rose - the last two seasons are sufficient enough proof of that - but they will need him fully healthy to seriously contend in the postseason.

Predicted record: 54-28

Cleveland Cavaliers (2013-14 record: 33-49)

The Cavaliers have transformed from fringe playoff team to title contender. That's what getting The Return can do for you. LeBron James, in conjunction with Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Dion Waiters, and a healthy (at the moment) Anderson Varejao, is a scary, scary offensive juggernaut. They may take some time to mesh, as the Big Three did in Miami, and they will have their defensive gaffes along the way, but I'd be stunned to see this team unprepared for the playoffs come mid-April.

Predicted record: 57-25