The NBA Central Division Certainly Can Be Won
Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan vs Buddy Hield and Myles Turner: both of these teams have dynamic duos that shouldn’t really scare Milwaukee. Especially, given the recent success that the Bucks have had against Indiana and Chicago.
Milwaukee is 9-1 in the last ten games against Indiana.
Milwaukee is 7-3 against Chicago in the last ten regular season games. That is everything you would hope for and more. 16-4 against two teams you will play against, a lot, is always a good starting point.
With the NBA season only nine days away, let’s take a closer look at the roster construction of the Pacers and Bulls. Should the Bucks have much to worry about here? What kinds of success will former Buck players Jevon Carter and Jordan Nwora have for their new teams?
The schedule makers appear to have been kind to Milwaukee this season, giving the team some decent stretches of beatable opponents. Milwaukee opens their season series against Indiana in Indiana on Nov. 9th. The Bucks will face off against Chicago four days later at home.
The party might be over for Chicago. For a team that really needs to develop players, there does not seem to be much player development going on. (Save Coby White and maybe Patrick Williams.)
The Bulls are a much better team with Lonzo Ball, who is currently injured and will most likely not play this season. DeMar DeRozan had a good season, averaging 24/4/5. Zach Lavine is also still a great player and plays well in the NBA Central division. While Lavine can struggle at times he did lead the team in scoring. (24.8 points per game). The Bulls gave him a huge contract and have huge expectations for him.
Chicago added Jevon Carter to hopefully cover for the loss of Ball. In the NBA Central you do need strong point guard play. Carter should be no match for Damian Lillard.
The Bulls also added Derrick Favors, rookie Justin Lewis (Marquette) and journeyman Tory Craig. That might not be enough to get them back into serious contention.
The Bulls are 134-129 vs the Bucks all-time. Even with all of those great Bulls teams of the 90’s, it is crazy to think the Bucks are close to passing up Chicago in all-time wins.
The Opponent: The Indiana Pacers
Indiana has a good young team and unlike Chicago, has been able to draft and develop. Tyrese Haliburton is a very quick, dynamic player. He always plays well against NBA Central foes.
Halliburton, who was born in Oshkosh and attended Oshkosh North High school, was drafted 12th by the Kings in the 2020 draft. He lead the Pacers in scoring with 20.2 points per game. He also passes the ball well (10.2 per game) and steals (1.8). Trading for him has really helped to brighten up the team’s future.
Benedict Mathurin also played well last year. Mathurin (6th overall pick Arizona) was in the conversation for rookie of the year. He averaged 17 points per game and never seemed to have hit that dreaded “NBA rookie wall”.
Indiana also added Bruce Brown (2 years 45 million) and many quality rookies (Jarrace Walker and Ben Shepard to name a few.) This team continues to add good young players.
TJ McConnell always plays well against Milwaukee and has averaged 23 points against the Bucks. To get that kind of production from a back-up PG is pretty impressive. TJ is 31 years old and along with recent addition Daniel Theis is the elder stateman on the team.
It is hard to tell what role former Buck Jordan Nwora will play for Indiana. He has played in the preseason, just not much.
Milwaukee is 114-92 all-time vs NBA Central rival Indiana.
Giannis has averaged 25 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists in his career against the Pacers. Those are all well-below his career numbers and certainly much lower than his season averages.
In terms of their history, the Pacers were a founding member in the ABA, a competing league to the NBA. One of the things that led to the ABA’s downfall was the $3.2 million dollar membership fee that was charged from each team. That was in the 1970’s.
Coming up next is a preview on both the Pistons and Cavaliers, probably the teams Milwaukee should be more concerned about in the NBA Central division.
Keep your eyes here on Wi Sports Heroics for more Bucks information and game previews.
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