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NBA Neighborhood Watch: Introduction & Tour of the Central Division

Won’t you be my neighbor?

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Chicago Bulls David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the first installment of the Brew Hoop Neighborhood Watch. The NBA is a vibrant community, and while the Milwaukee Bucks are our preferred resident, we still want to be in touch with our neighbors around the league. After all, that’s what good neighbors are for. Today, we’ll start things off local and take a swing through the Central Division.

Cleveland CavaliersFear The Sword

Record: 0-2

After the latest departure of LeBron James, the Cavs have a new face of the franchise: Cedi Osman. The previous era stripped the team of most of its assets and prospects, but Osman was among those who persisted and currently appears to be a big part of the team’s future.

In the meantime, Kevin Love is the clear-cut best player in Cleveland, but he needs to clean up his language to truly take a leadership role. I mean, c’mon Kevin, there’s kids watching.

And in “extensions that don’t make the most sense,” how about Larry Nance and his 4 year/$45 million deal? Chris Manning says:

How this deal ultimately turns out likely depends on how Nance Jr. evolves going forward. Right now, his best attributes are his ability to run the floor, his energy level and his athleticism. He’s a solid defender and rebounder too. This summer, Nance Jr. talked about wanting to expand his game and he’s shown flashes of being able to shoot from 18-feet and out. If he can develop those parts of his games, this deal looks like a steal for the Cavs. If he doesn’t, or only kind of improves, then this deal is still fine.

How about former Badger heartthrob Sam Dekker? He’s in Cleveland now, right? How’s he doing?

Detroit PistonsDetroit Bad Boys

Record: 2-0

Optimism still reigns supreme in the Motor City, and apparently there’s a lot to like with how Dwane Casey is running things. Like most NBA teams – and Milwaukee is no stranger to this – the Pistons could still stand to shoot more threes, and there’s lots of ways for them to do just that.

Blake Griffin might be the team’s star, but the way things are going it might just be the case that Andre Drummond is becoming the more crucial player. Sean Corp writes:

The simple fact is that Detroit’s defense is absolutely dreadful so far, and I’m not sure how it’s going to get better. An Andre Drummond that is fully engaged and doesn’t foul out would be helpful. He quickly amassed fouls against Brooklyn and had the same issue against Chicago. Against the Nets it saw him visibly hold back on D — afraid to pick up additional fouls. Against the Bulls he simply fouled out and missed crunch time.

The Detroit defense can’t be THAT bad, can it?

Indiana PacersIndy Cornrows

Record: 2-1

We just saw these guys! The 2017-18 Pacers were an “out of left field” success, and few people are sleeping on them this season.

Myles Turner took his offseason workout program seriously, and ended up signing a lucrative 4-year extension (worth between $72 and $80 million). But Pacers fans maybe aren’t sure about him?

Pacers fans still want gravity from the PF position, and have heavy interest in a stretch-4. Why? Adam Friedman writes:

The elusive stretch-four is something Pacer fans have been clamoring for since the Paul George days. But look around the league and you won’t find any stretch four better than Thaddeus Young, who’s available.

Young shot 32 percent from three last year, admittedly pretty bad. According to NBA stats Young ranked 61st out of starting forwards who played 50 or more games. But of the 61 players ahead of him only a few are possibly available and, of those, almost none of them are better than Young.

Two of the names who could be available and would start over Young are Tobias Harris and Kevin Love, but both guys would take considerable assets to acquire.

Indiana is better off trying to use Sabonis, Bojan Bogdanovic or Doug McDermott as a stretch-four. There is also a chance Young will shoot better from three, forcing teams to guard him on the perimeter, thus opening the floor up.

Chicago BullsBlog a Bull

Record: 0-2

The headline says it all: “The Bulls have no plan, no goal, and little hope” Thankfully, Ricky O’Donnell says more:

The Bulls flopped in their mission to fail upwards, but at least there was a plan. As the second year of the post-Butler era begins, the Bulls can say with confidence that they aren’t trying to be bad anymore, not after re-signing Zach LaVine to a huge contract he won’t live up to, not after nabbing Jabari Parker for a big money-low risk flier on the free agent market.

A true tank requires intent, and that intent is gone. Instead, the front office has done the only thing we can count on them to do: they’ve built a bad team on accident.

There is some momentum amongst the Chicago fanbase for Jabari Parker serving as a super-sub. Where have I heard that before?

And now, your one serving of schadenfreude for the day. Don’t revel in others’ misfortune too much, else misfortune befalls you and yours.

This is the first of (hopefully) many installments, probably coming to you on a weekly or bimonthly basis. The goal is to keep a closer eye on teams around the league, and we’ll likely focus on teams that are on the upcoming schedule for Milwaukee or are in the same tier when playoff seeding becomes a focus. Do you like the idea? Do you hate it? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll evolve to meet your needs.