Central Notes: Warren, Fiserv Forum, Pistons, Bucks

After Pacers team president Kevin Pritchard said that he views forward T.J. Warren as pivotal to the team’s success, and his absence as a key reason why Indiana had a disappointing season, J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star considers whether Warren’s presence is as crucial as Pritchard believes.

“The most important thing in this league right now is having rim defense and a big wing who can guard those guys,” Pritchard said of losing oft-injured Warren for all but four Pacers games due to a foot surgery. “We didn’t have a lot of that for a lot of the year.”

Michael acknowledges that Warren was the team’s best option as a defensive forward, but notes that there is room for improvement still, as Warren occasionally fouls too often while hunting for steals. The emergence of Oshae Brissett as a viable option for spotting Warren will lessen his burden when he returns to full health next season, Michael adds.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The Bucks will be raising crowd capacity at their home arena, Fiserv Forum, from 9,100 fans to 16,500 fans for the rest of playoffs, per a team press release. The earliest date this could go into effect is June 1, if the team’s series against the Heat extends to five games.
  • The fact that the Pistons were able to land two stellar mid-first-round selections during the 2020 NBA draft bodes well for the club’s future under first-year GM Troy Weaver, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Langlois notes that rookies Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey already appear to have carved out roles as reliable role players in their first season and could be capable of much more in the coming years. With an 80% chance at nabbing a top-five pick in the upcoming draft, the rebuilding Pistons will have an opportunity to add more firepower to their intriguing young roster.
  • The Bucks internally talked about tanking a matchup with the Heat in the final weekend of the season to avoid facing Miami in the first round, but unanimously decided against it, writes Zach Lowe of ESPN. With Milwaukee on the cusp of taking a 3-0 advantage in its series against Miami tonight, it appears that was the right call.
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