NBA Central Division Futures: Expect More Regular Season Dominance from the Bucks
The start of the NBA regular season is right around the corner, and FanDuel Sportsbook has posted odds for which team will win each division. That includes the Central Division, which is expected to be a runaway:
- Milwaukee Bucks -1450
- Indiana Pacers +1200
- Chicago Bulls +6500
- Cleveland Cavaliers +8500
- Detroit Pistons +10000
The only thing that can stop the Bucks from winning this division is a host of injuries. That’s how much better they are than their competition.
This has been the most dominant regular-season team over the past two seasons. They’ve posted the best record in the league in back-to-back years, and they outscored their competition by an average of +9.62 points per 100 possessions in 2020. They are led by back-to-back reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who recently signed a massive five-year extension. Antetokounmpo still has to figure out how to get this team over the hump in the postseason, but they should cruise to another 50+ wins as long as he stays healthy.
They have the potential to be even better this season. They were able to acquire Jrue Holiday from the Pelicans, and he fits in with this team perfectly. He’s one of the best defenders at the point guard position, and he’s a much better 3-point shooter than last year’s starting point guard Eric Bledsoe. He should get plenty of open looks playing next to Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton.
The Pacers are an underrated Eastern Conference squad, and they’d have the potential to contend in some of the other divisions this season. They were able to win the seventh-highest percentage of their games last year despite Victor Oladipo, Malcolm Brogdon, and Domantas Sabonis all missing stretches due to injuries. T.J. Warren also showed his scoring prowess in the bubble last season, so this team has the potential to overachieve again in 2021.
The Bulls are headed in the right direction, but they still have some growing to do. Zach LaVine has emerged as a legitimate go-to scorer, and Coby White came on strong towards the tail end of his rookie season. They could make a playoff push if Otto Porter and Wendell Carter Jr. can stay healthy, but this team is not ready to contend with the Bucks.
The Cavaliers and Pistons round out this division, and both teams should challenge for the worst record in the league. Both of these teams have a former star player at power forward – The Cavs have Kevin Love, the Pistons have Blake Griffin – but neither player is nearly as good as they were in their primes.
Neither franchise has much to be excited about at the moment, but the Cavaliers do have a slightly more promising future. Andre Drummond has impressed during the preseason, and their backcourt of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland has upside. The Pistons will be hoping for a big rookie season from rookie Killian Hayes. They secured him with the seventh pick of the draft, and he will likely operate as their starting point guard this season.