Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Atlantic Division NBA Preview

Boston Celtics  - 39-27 last season. Division Champions. 4th seed in playoffs. Lost to the Miami Heat in Eastern Conference Finals.

Ideal Rotation: Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass / Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, Leandrinho Barbosa, Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger, Darko Milicic

Storyline/s: They were that close to winning the East. In fact, they were one game away. But can Doc Rivers and the C's do it again? They'll do it without Jesus Shuttlesworth, who departed to the dark side, so to speak. Danny Ainge decided to plug in a set of swingmen + Jet swag to replace the minutes. The Big Ticket was revitalized by the move as the main slotman, but given the age, hopefully, he does not have to bear the brunt of the minutes *looks at Brandon, Darko and Jared* excessively

X-Factor/s: Jeff Green missed last season due to his heart issues. He's the tweener forward tasked to provide relief for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett

Prognosis: Division Champs. Exiting the Conference Finals.

Brooklyn Nets - 22-44 last season. Missed playoffs altogether.

Ideal Rotation: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Brook Lopez / C.J. Watson, MarShon Brooks, Mirza Teletovic, Reggie Evans, Andray Blatche, Josh Childress

Storylines: They got Prokhorov. They got Jay-Z. They got some new digs and a new image to boot. They tried to get Dwight, pulling off the deal to get Joe Johnson as a bargaining chip, while keeping Deron and Crash. But fate would have it that the proposed megadeal won't push through.

X-Factor/s: The Nets decided to reward Brook Lopez after deciding to nix dealing for Dwight. Time for him to earn that keep.

Prognosis: Exiting 1st round of playoffs.

New York Knicks - 36-30 last season. 7th seed in playoffs. Lost to the Miami Heat in the 1st Round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs

Ideal Rotation: Jason Kidd, J.R. Smith, Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler / Raymond Felton, Pablo Prignoni, Ronnie Brewer, Steve Novak, Rasheed Wallace, Marcus Camby

Storyline/s: Linsanity lasted 35 games (25 of those he started) and Knicks management felt it was not worth it to match the offer sheet he received. They turned over the keys to old point guards (Kidd, Prignoni) and a returnee (Felton). But this is still Carmelo's team (especially since STAT is having his knee checked again) and Mike Woodson authored the Iso-Joe offense in Atlanta.

X-Factor/s: Deron Williams says Raymond Felton is a better point guard than Lin. The North Carolina alum played his worst season last year in Portland, admitting he was out of shape.

Prognosis: Exiting 1st round of playoffs.

Philadelphia 76ers - 35-31 last season. 8th seed in Playoffs. Lost to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Ideal Rotation: Jrue Holliday, Jason Richardson, Dorell Wright, Lavoy Allen, Andrew Bynum / Evan Turner, Nick Young, Thaddeus Young, Spencer Hawes

Storyline/s: Did the Sixers luck out on making it to the next round thanks to Derrick Rose's injury? Can they convince Andrew Bynum to stay in Philly after trading Iguodala and other assets to be involved in this megadeal?

X-Factor/s: Lavoy Allen proved to a serviceable asset enough for Philly to amnesty Elton Brand. Can Evan Turner mimic the contributions Andre Iguodala made for Doug Collins?

Prognosis: Exiting the Conference Semifinals.

Toronto Raptors - 23-43 last season. Missed playoffs altogether.

Ideal Rotation: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Linas Kleiza, Andrea Bargnani, Jonas Valanciunas / Jose Calderon, Landry Fields, Terrence Ross, Ed Davis, Aaron Gray, Amir Johnson

Storyline/s: Their attempted dalliance with Steve Nash (and to some extent, Jeremy Lin) netted them Kyle Lowry, in exchange for a 1st round pick that has some novel protection quirks on it. Can they figure in the chase for the last few playoff seats?

X-Factor/s: DeMar DeRozan worked on improving his game in the offseason. How that can be translated into the upcoming season will determine if he will still be a viable member of the franchise next season.

Prognosis: Missing the playoffs.

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