Central Notes: Cavs, Bucks, Bulls, Pistons

Coach David Blatt believes the mediocre play of the Cavs this season is a result of their play on the defensive end, writes Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group. “That’s the battle for consistency,” Blatt said of the defensive woes. “A lot of that is the plan and the principles and inherence to those things. A lot of that is commitment on the part of the guys to doing it. Of course you have the element of effort, which is critical. And then finally it’s the pride that you take in doing it if that is really and truly going to become part of who you are. And we’re working towards that.” The Cavs are allowing 99.7 points per game, which ranks 16th in the league.

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Bucks are unexpectedly in the playoff hunt at 14-14, but even after the season-ending injury to rookie Jabari Parker, the team isn’t likely to make any moves with an eye only on contention this season, writes Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel.  “Nothing has changed. This is still about the future and the goals we have as we move forward, and that is to build this into a championship-caliber team,” GM John Hammond said. “We like where we’re at today, and we’re going to continue to battle throughout the season.”
  • The Bulls have a fortunate problem in that they have too many high caliber players competing for playing time, opines Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald. McGraw argues that although Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson are all veterans who have earned their stripes, rookie Nikola Mirotic is playing at a level that doesn’t warrant being sent to the bench once they are all healthy. The forward is shooting 44.1% from the field and 80.9% from the foul line during his potential rookie of the year campaign.
  • The Pistons are off to a rough start at 5-22, but the team isn’t making any trades with the short-term in mind, writes Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. Ellis notes that Detroit would like to trade Josh Smith, but other teams are asking for a first-rounder to take the the 29-year-old forward. The Pistons were in a similar predicament in 2012 when they sent a first-rounder to Charlotte in order to move Ben Gordon because of his player-friendly contract. Ellis adds that the team is unlikely to have a repeat of such a short-sighted move.

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