The Golden State Warriors closed out the 2022 NBA season on June 16 when they defeated the Boston Celtics 103-90 in the sixth game of the NBA Final. With the win, the Warriors locked up their fourth NBA Championship in eight seasons.
The Milwaukee Bucks, the 2021 NBA Champs, watched that game from afar after being eliminated by the Celtics in a seven-game series in the first-round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Bucks finished the regular season with the same 51-31 record Boston put up during the 2022 campaign. With that record, Milwaukee claimed their 17th Central Division title. The team has won the Central for the past four consecutive seasons.
Before we look at how the Bucks and the other teams in the Central Division might fare during the 2022-23 NBA Season, please check out our guide for betting on the 2023 NBA Playoffs and our tips for betting on the NBA.
2023 NBA Central Division picks
|To Win 2022-23 NBA Central Division|
The Milwaukee Bucks have, arguably, the best player in the NBA in Giannis Antetokounmpo. With their success in 2021 and the fact that they came close to making it the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals, it makes sense that they did not go out and make big changes heading into 2023.
This team will go as far as Antetokounmpo, who is 27 and a two-time NBA MVP, will take them. The club overall isn’t great, but with a generational talent to lead them, they just need to be better than average, and they are that.
The Cleveland Cavaliers made an enormous leap in 2022. Cleveland went to the NBA Finals in 2018. The Golden State Warriors swept them in four games. After that the team went 19-63 on 2019. Cleveland had a 19-46 record on 2020 and went 22-50 in 2021. When the 2022 NBA Season ended, Cleveland had a winning record of 44-38. They finished in third place in the Central Division and missed the playoffs.
Cleveland has a young core that will only improve with experience. The most noteworthy of those players is Evan Mobley, who was a very close second to Scottie Barnes in the NBA Rookie of the Year voting.
I don’t think the Cavs will unseat the Bucks at the top of the Central Division in 2023, but I think they will improve and start to close the divide between the teams.
Like the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Chicago Bulls have been in the doldrums for the past several NBA Seasons. Before 2022, when the team went 46-36, the last time the team had a .500 season was 2017 when they finished the year at 41-41. The Bulls made the playoffs last year, but they fell to the Bucks in the first round in five games.
The only real move the Bulls made during the summer was to sign Zach LaVine to a supermax deal for $215 million over five years, which is strange for a team that was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
The Bucks have Giannis and the team didn’t lose any of its core, with that, Milwaukee should continue its run of dominance in the Central Division with a win in 2023.
Pick: Milwaukee Bucks to win the NBA Central Division in 2022-23
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