Has Tom Thibodeau been listening to the Bulls Zone?! Um, I wish. But he did sit down with Bulls TV to talk about how much the Central Division has improved – a topic we’ve addressed multiple times on our podcast. Here’s what the defensive guru and all-around great head coach had to say:
“Each year you’re faced with new and different challenges. I think the Central Division is as strong as it’s been in a long time from top to bottom. Of course, Indiana continues to add quality players to their team. They had a terrific season last season. Cleveland has made a lot of additions to their team, getting the No. 1 pick in [Anthony] Bennett and adding [Andrew] Bynum to the mix, so they’ll be dangerous. I think Detroit has added a lot with Josh Smith and then of course Milwaukee, everyone tends to overlook them, but I think they’re going to be very good as well. So it will be a great challenge for us.”
The Pacers are a team Jason Hall and I have talked about numerous times. They’re consistently a tough match-up for the Bulls and always play hard basketball. With Danny Granger making his return to the line-up as well as adding Luis Scola and C.J. Watson, look for the Pacers to give the Bulls a run for their money for the division lead.
Now while I see only the Pacers as a major threat to contend for the division title, I also agree with Thibs on the improvement of the rest of the Central.
For example, the Cavaliers have added no. 1 pick Anthony Bennett and Center Andrew Bynum. So it’s a possibility that superstar PG Kyrie Irving will lead his team to the playoffs for the first time in his career.
The Pistons have added the very talented, but often basketball stupid, Josh Smith and have also acquired PG Brandon Jennings to run the team and provide outside scoring. In addition, they have a talented and big front court, which makes them tough and gives the city of Detroit a rare bright spot.
And then you have the Milwaukee Bucks. And well…they’ll still be the Milwaukee Bucks.
Although the Central has improved all-around, with the exception of the Bucks, I still think that the return of former MVP Derrick Rose puts the Bulls on top at season’s end. Coach Thibs is great at having his players prepared and educated on their respected opponent.
This is going to be fun!