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Utah Jazz v Cleveland Cavaliers

That’s A Rap #190: Central Division Preview

The Central Division was at the centre of our minds after Donovan Mitchell was surprisingly traded to the Cavaliers. Will the move boost Cleveland past the division leader mainstays in Milwaukee? In a league starved for wings, Cleveland’s trying to win with none!

Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Donovan Mitchell and the Toronto Raptors will be sharing the court on opening night—but not the way some Raps fans had envisioned. This past week, Spida was surprisingly traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers!

What does this mean for the Milwaukee Bucks’ stranglehold on the Central Division? In an era where teams are stock-piling wings (hello Toronto), Cleveland has elected to avoid them altogether! The Cavs have an All-Star backcourt duo to go with a young frontcourt duo (with All-Star potential)... and a gaping hole at the 3. Does that even matter?

I was not able to make this week’s episode, but Jason and Dre discussed the Central — with a boost from the Mitchell trade — and how the Division has changed this off-season.

In This Episode:

6:20 — Spider Land

If Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell are the new Damian Lillard-CJ McCollum duo, imagine how much better the Trailblazers would be if they also had a frontcourt of Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley! Does the Mitchell trade push the Cavs into championship contention?

18:28 — Bucking the trend?

The good news is that Milwaukee’s championship core (outside of PJ Tucker) is still intact and relatively healthy (Khris Middleton’s wrist surgery in July shouldn’t keep him out of any regular season games). The bad news is that a large portion of their core (outside of Giannis) are on the wrong side of 30, including George Hill, Wes Matthews, Joe Ingles, Brook Lopez, Serge Ibaka, Jrue Holiday, and Middleton (Pat Connaughton turns 30 in January).

23:14 — Bullzack

Chicago faltered down the stretch last season, due to injuries. Luckily for Bulls fans, their front office signed someone with higher ambitions in Goran Dragic. Jokes aside, Chicago was one of last season’s big surprises. Can DeMar DeRozan continue turning back the clock? How about a full season of Patrick Williams? Is Lonzo Ball’s current injury (and possible postponement to the start of his 2022-23 season) a premonition of dark times ahead in Chicago?

27:50 — Indianada Pacers

There’s a rebuild happening in Indiana... and a handful of Canadians are ready to lead the charge! Oshae Brissett, Bennedict Mathurin, Andrew Nembhard, and yes, even Canadian-born, Chris Duarte, headline a Pacers team with zero expectations for success. Will they finally be able to deal Myles Turner? Can Buddy Hield tag along?

31:31 — Detroit Rock (the Raptors) City

Maybe it’s a good thing I wasn’t on the podcast because I’d be in the minority that thinks the Detroit Pistons are ahead of schedule! All eyes will justifiably be on Cade Cunningham, but he’s backed up by a capable Killian Hayes, and joined by rookie standout Jaden Ivey, and the perpetually underrated Alec Burks. Saddiq Bey has 50-point potential (in fact, he already has a 51-point game on his resume). Nerlens Noel is a sneaky good backup to Isaiah Stewart. Marvin Bagley and Kelly Olynyk, if combined into one person, can make for an excellent power forward!

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