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"Five Key Players of the Central Division
By Christopher Reina - 21st October, 2004 0:09 AM
The Central Division is featured in the second of a six-part series about the key players to watch during the upcoming season who will be pivotal to his teamís success.
TYSON CHANDLER-CHICAGO BULLS
The last playoff game Tyson Chandler played in was in the year 2000 at Arco Arena, in the California State High School Championship versus Newark Memorial. It seems as though going into every season, Chicago fans say, Ďthis will be the year the Baby Bulls click and make the playoffs.í
They still havenít made the playoffs, due in large part to Mr. Chandler and Eddy Curry, not yet meeting expectations. The pressure that has been placed on these two young players hasnít been quite fair, for if they would have attended college and played all four years, they would only now be entering their rookie season.
While Mr. Curry broke out a bit last season, averaging 15 points and 6 rebounds per game, Tyson Chandler remained mostly stagnant at 6 points and 8 rebounds per game.
DREW GOODEN-CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
Drew Gooden is playing for his third team in three years. He is well on his way of becoming the Reggie Sanders of the NBA, a quality player that a lot teams would like to have, but wonít break their back to keep.
Mr. Gooden has averaged 12 points and 6 rebounds in each of his first two seasons in the league. These are solid numbers, but as the fourth pick overall in the 2002 NBA Draft, he has yet to reach his full potential. He has been criticized for absentmindedness, forgetting plays and possessing an overall disinterest.
Paul Silas expects to be able to facilitate in the Mr. Goodenís maturing process and expand upon his solid numbers, as he attempts to replace the departed Carlos Boozer. If the Cavaliers get a consistent and attentive 35 minutes per game from Mr. Gooden, they will surely be a playoff team.
DETROIT PISTONS-ANTONIO MYDYESS
It was hard to imagine the Detroit Pistons being any better than they were last June, but by signing Antonio McDyess, Joe Dumars managed to improve his championship club. Mr. McDyess would be one of the top 5 or 6 power forwards in the entire league year in and year out if he could merely manage to stay healthy. Unfortunately he has been plagued by injuries over the last few years, negating his talent.
This season, his chances of remaining healthy will rise significantly, as he will not be counted on for a 40 minute per night burden. Most likely he will the first player off of Larry Brownís bench to give Ben and Rasheed Wallace some rest, and only when those players are in foul trouble will his minutes increase significantly.
A healthy Antonio McDyess for the entire season will especially payoff in the postseason, as the Wallaceís will be that much fresher.
INDIANA PACERS-STEPHEN JACKSON
Stephen Jackson was an absolutely critical part of San Antonioís championship in 2003 and he might be the final missing piece to get the Indiana Pacers into the NBA Finals for the first time since 2000. They were a Tayshaun Prince block away last season against the division rival Pistons.
Despite him being the possible missing piece, Reggie Miller is sorry, Mr. Jackson, he is going to be the starting shooting guard this season. This might be, but Stephen Jackson is leading the Pacers in scoring so far in the preseason. He will get his minutes, he will get his shots. Everyone knows that it doesnít matter who starts a game, itís who finishes and it is highly unlikely that Rick Carlisle wonít have Stephen Jackson on the floor at the end of the game.
The only way Stephen Jackson isnít effective for the Indiana Pacers, is if he isnít a happy camper, and is a disruption to team chemistry. With Reggie Millerís playing time increasingly decreasing each season, it wonít be a problem, as the Pacers will be the second best team in the Central, the East and all of the NBA.
MILWAUKEE BUCKS-DESMOND MASON
Desmond "Cowboy" Mason has been one of the leagueís exciting players ever since his rookie season when he was with the Seattle Supersonics and had Kevin Calabro calling his explosive dunks.
He came to the Milwaukee Bucks in the Ray Allen trade and last season he scored 14 points per game in just 30 minutes per. His production will have to increase as the Milwaukee Bucks need to have a second scorer to complement Michael Redd."
2012 PD ABA Fantasy Keeper League Champion, sports.ws
2011 PD ABA Fantasy Keeper League Champion, sports.ws