Dre back with another division preview. This time we talk the division of underrated Pacers and wasted MVPs.
Vegas Over/Under: 48
I love this squad. One thing that always confuses me on over/unders is when a team hit it last season and improved in the offseason. The Pacers were a 48 win squad last year, and Kyle O'Quinn and Tyreke Evans are such amazing pickups. We might question them overpaying Myles Turner this offseason, but on paper, they could be a 50 win squad. I don't know if Victor Oladipo is quite good enough to make them a contender, but they stand poised to win the division.
Subtractions: Mirza Teletovic, Brandon Jennings, DeAndre Liggins, Jason Terry, Gerald Green, Brandon Rush, Rashad Vaughn, Xavier Munford, Marshall Plumlee, Gary Payton II, James Young, Joel Bolomboy, Joel Anthony, Greg Monroe, Sean Kilpatrick, Jabari Parker
Vegas Over/Under: 48.5
I say this over/under is perfectly placed. What's frustrating is they legitimately have an MVP caliber player in Giannis Antetokounmpo. And if you're a team with an MVP player that doesn't crack 50 wins, something is wrong. Honestly the Bucks have some reasonable pieces around Giannis in Eric Bledsoe and John Henson. The issue seems to be the mediocre players the Bucks keep filling their squad with. Tony Snell and Matthew Dellavedova in the past, for instance, were odd pickups. This offseason they acquired Brook Lopez and Ersan Ilyasova? Some believe a better coach will improve the squad. I'm worried about their lack of a legitimate center. They have a good shot of winning the division, but I feel that 48 win range is perfect.
Subtractions: Jameer Nelson, Beno Udrih, Anthony Tolliver, Tobias Harris, Dwight Buycks, Eric Moreland, Brice Johnson, Boban Marjanovic, Kay Felder, Luis Montero, Willie Reed, James Ennis III, Avery Bradley
Vegas Over/Under: 38.5
Like the Pacers the Pistons over/under matches their win total last season. Unlike the Pacers, I can't say they've made significant changes in the offseason. This division may be one of the most amazing in regards to wasted talent. Andre Drummond is one of the top bigs in the NBA, but he's completely wasted on this squad. Barring a major change, or a breakout season and a mid-30s team (or worse if the Pistons start tanking) seems likely.
Subtractions: Marcus Thornton, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Jae Crowder, Kendrick Perkins, Kay Felder, Okaro White, Isaiah Thomas, Isaac Hamilton, LeBron James, Jose Calderon, Richard Jefferson, London Perrantes, Jeff Green, Iman Shumpert
Vegas Over/Under: 31.5
I think the Cavs do a bit better than 31 wins ... maybe? Larry Nance Jr. is no replacement for LeBron James, but the Cavs did just sign him to a long deal, and he'll get more than 500 minutes with the squad next season. If Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson are back, that's a pretty formidable front court. George Hill underwhelmed last season but traditionally has been a very good point guard. In the East, this team could be a playoff squad with enough health. That said, if Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love have health issues, which both have in the past, this team could decide to tank. I'll still say they look poised to finish 3rd in the division with an outside shot at the playoffs.
Subtractions: Jameer Nelson, Nikola Mirotic, C.J. Fair, Tony Allen, Noah Vonleh, Kay Felder, Paul Zipser, Diamond Stone, David Nwaba, Jarell Eddie, Jaylen Johnson, Bronson Koenig, Willie Reed, Jerian Grant, Sean Kilpatrick, Quincy Pondexter
Vegas Over/Under: 30
The under, of course, the under. I've called the Bulls the worst run team in the NBA in recent memory. As a reminder, they shipped out Jordan Bell, Jimmy Butler, Rajon Rondo, and Nikola Mirotic last season, who all helped their respective squads tremendously. In the offseason they picked up Jabari Parker to a big deal, which was questionable at best. I don't see them vying for a playoff spot and as I note, anytime a team is worse than a playoff squad, it's even more likely their wins drop, as tanking is a common practice. Bottom of the division and a contender for the top pick in the draft.