Hello beautiful people! Welcome to my new series titled “NBA Midterms”. This series will consist of my grades & assessments, for each of the 30 NBA squads, at the midpoint (or midterm), of the season. This will be a six-part series, as teams will be assessed by, the six NBA divisions. This is part two. If you would like to read part one, click here. Enjoy.

(All stats & info are as of January 14th, 2020)

CENTRAL DIVISION

MILWAUKEE BUCKS

Record: 36-6, 1st in East

Top Players: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton

Under The Radar Players: George Hill, Donte DiVincenzio

Assessment: Milwaukee is a legitimate championship contender. Top three in offensive & defensive efficiency. The Greek Freak continues to add to his repertoire. They have spectacular depth. Khris Middleton and/or Eric Bledsoe could make the All-Star team. My only gripe with the Bucks, is a lack of a secondary superstar. They have a nice group of players surrounding Giannis, but which one of them can I trust, to perform in a potential NBA Finals series? Depth becomes less of a necessity the deeper in the playoffs. Therefore, which of their role players, can step up in a big moment? Would love to see Milwaukee get Andre Igoudala, to have another secondary ball-handler, & veteran. Overall, this is the team to beat out East. Midterm Grade: A+

INDIANA PACERS

Record: 25–15, 5th in East

Top Players: Malcolm Brogdon, Domantas Sabonis

Under The Radar Players: T.J. Warren, Jeremy Lamb

Assessment: Another pleasant surprise out East! Despite All-Star guard Victor Oladipo having yet to suit up this season, Indiana has held up nicely. Malcolm Brogdon has blossomed in his new role as the lead ball-handler. Same can be said for Domantas Sabonis. The duo are putting up great numbers, & have a strong case to make the All-Star team. Myles Turner has stepped back offensively, but remains a strong defensive presence inside. Jeremy Lamb & T.J. Warren have been producing solid offensive numbers. Aaron Holiday looks more comfortable in his second season. Would love to see Goga Bitadize and T.J. Leaf get more run. And Victor Oladipo could be returning next week! His return will make Indiana threat in the postseason. Midterm Grade: B+

CHICAGO BULLS

Record: 14–27, 10th in East

Top Player: Zach Lavine

Under The Radar Players: Wendell Carter Jr., Tomas Satoransky

Assessment: Very disappointed with Chicago. Too much talent to be outside the playoff race. Zach Lavine is having an All-Star level season, that’s flying under-the-radar. Would like to see more from Lauri Markkanen & Wendell Carter Jr, they have immense potential. Rookie Coby White is talented, but he’s a chucker. Kris Dunn is playing well, after struggling for much of last season. Otto Porter Jr. needs to return, to help this squad on both ends. Daniel Gafford is finally getting an opportunity, and playing well. This team is better than their record suggests, and they have a decent chance to reach the postseason. Shoutout to former Knick Luke Kornet. Play him more minutes! Midterm Grade: C-

DETROIT PISTONS

Record: 14–27, 11th in East

Top Players: Andre Drummond, Derrick Rose

Under The Radar Players: Christian Wood, Sekou Doumboya

Assessment: Detroit has been extremely disappointing. However, their failures are due to several injuries to key guys, namely Reggie Jackson & Blake Griffin. I expect a tear down of the roster in the next month. Productive vets like Langston Galloway, & Andre Drummond could be moved. Young guys Christian Wood, Sekou Doumbouya, & Svi Mykhailuk have looked really good recently. Would love to see more of Luke Kennard, he was playing well before getting injured. Why is Thon Maker still in NBA? Shoutout to Bruce Brown, one of the more underrated perimeter defenders in the league. And Derrick Rose! He’s been playing at a really well these last few games. Please trade him to a contender! Hopefully, this team can find younger reinforcements this summer. Midterm Grade: C-

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

Record: 12–28, 13th in East

Top Players: Collin Sexton, Kevin Love

Under The Radar Players: Tristan Thompson, Kevin Porter Jr.

Assessment: Cleveland hasn’t recieved much national attention this season. Aside from the recent behavior from Kevin Love. Cavs have won a few more games then expected. Collin Sexton has had a solid sophomore campaign, but needs to become more of a distributor. Darius Garland has shown improvement in recent weeks. Tristan Thompson has put up some big numbers recently. Expecting him, and several of the other veterans on expiring deals, to be moved before the deadline. Really enjoy watching Kevin Porter Jr. Athletic offensive talent that can score and facilitate. Would like to see more Dante Exum. Cedi Osman’s progression has stagnated. Hopefully this team can acquire some more young talent in the offseason, to add to their core. Preferably big men. Someone, PLEASE, save Kevin Love! Midterm Grade: C

If you made it to the end, thank you so much for reading. Leave a comment if you agree, or disagree with this piece. And please, share this with your friends. With that being said, again, HAPPY NEW YEAR! And much success in 2020!

Blessings,

Andy

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