When talking about the NBA’s Central Division in the Eastern Conference, it’s almost easy to forget what comes after the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers in recent years. There are still three other teams, and Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is convinced the division “is as strong as it’s been in a long time.”
Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago reports that Thibodeau, in a Bulls TV interview on Wednesday, that being a contender in the division is a “challenge [that] will be a great one.”
“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.
It’s solid quick analysis from a head coach that knows the pulse of his competition. The Bulls will hopefully have a less dramatic season when it comes to Derrick Rose, who’s expected to be back on opening night, and they should be much stronger than they were a year ago.
The question is, has the window now closed for the Bulls with a much stronger conference all-around and no signs of the Miami Heat weakening? Is it necessary for the Bulls to tweak their team with better players around Rose?