NBA Preview: Atlantic Division

Posted on 18. Sep, 2009 by Ari Diamond in NBA Fantasy

The new Atlantic Division hasn’t had much drama since its creation in 2004-2005. Instead the ongoing theme is that of domination. In its early history, it was known as the Titanic Division; now, it’s the Boston Celtics division. Never in the (short) history of this division has there been a team that’s won 50 games in multiple seasons. That should change in 2009-2010 as the Celtics are poised to run away with it early. They should have absolutely no problem capturing the Atlantic division title as no other team in the division can match their combination of size, talent, depth, and championship experience.

Sadly, the most intriguing thing about the Atlantic Division this season will be the speculation over what moves the Knicks (and Nets) should make to prepare for next summer’s free agent frenzy. Sure, the Raptors and 76ers will probably be swapping between 2nd and 3rd place all year in a battle to win the ever-precious 5 seed, which would hopefully avoid a first round nightmare against Boston, Orlando, or Cleveland; but every other division will have that same storyline. While this division is never very exciting, expect a significant change in the balance of power over the next 18 months. Boston is aging. Toronto and Philadelphia have shown promise, and the Knicks and Nets have the cap flexibility to do pretty much whatever they want next summer!! There is little doubt that the 2010-2011 Atlantic Preview will have a very different look.

Flagrant Fouls All-Atlantic Teams:

All-Atlantic First Team:
PG: Devin Harris
SG: Andre Igoudala
SF: Paul Pierce
PF: Chris Bosh
C: Kevin Garnett

All-Atlantic Second Team:
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Ray Allen
SF: Hedo Turkoglu
PF: Elton Brand
C: Brook Lopez

All-Atlantic Third Team
PG: Jose Calderon
SG: Thaddeus Young
SF: Al Harrington
PF: David Lee
C: Andrea Bargnani

Top Front Court: Boston Celtics

With KG, Rasheed, Kendrick Perkins, and Glen Davis, the Celtics have a nice mix of size, athleticism, and age in their front court. While Garnett and Wallace are in their mid-30s, Davis and Perkins proved they could play bigger roles when Garnett went down last season. While Philadelphia has a nice front court rotation with Brand, Dalembert, Speights, and Smith, they do not have the accolades to warrant overtaking the C’s.

Top Back Court: Boston Celtics

With Vince Carter out of New Jersey and Andre Miller now in Portland, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo make up the best back court in the division. Rondo’s emergence last year in the playoffs has made him a household name and arguably one of the premier point guards in the East. Ray Allen can still stroke it and should have fresher legs throughout the season after the acquisition of Marquis Daniels.

Projected Standings

1. BOSTON CELTICS

Danny Ainge wasted no time this summer trying to mix things up in Boston. Early rumors about a possible trade between the Pistons and Celts left many wondering if it was already the end of the Big 3’s era in Beantown. Lower level executives were exploring a trade that would have sent Tayshaun Prince, Rip Hamilton, and Rodney Stuckey to Boston in exchange for Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen. When that trade fell through, Ainge shifted gears and went out and nabbed yet another aging former All-Star, Rasheed Wallace. Sheed’s dismal playoff performance last season caused concern throughout Detroit’s front office; a group that clearly didn’t see promise in the direction of Sheed’s career. While the signing of Wallace was the talk of the summer in Boston, Ainge also made another clever signing, bringing in Marquis Daniels. Daniels had a successful 08-09 campaign in Indiana, where a depleted Pacers team allowed him to flourish and play a lot of minutes. The Celtics now have a deep bench as Daniels and Tony Allen are both highly serviceable wings at both ends of the floor.

With the additions of Daniels and Wallace, as well as the resigning of Glen “Big Baby” Davis, the Celtics now have more depth than they’ve had since Ainge acquired the Big 3. A versatile front court both offensively and defensively consisting of Garnett, Perkins, Wallace, and Davis figures to be the best in the association. The only cause for concern with this roster is the lack of depth at the point. The Cs let Marbury walk (and after that vaseline episode who could blame them) and also let go of Gabe Pruitt. Eddie House is not a conventional lead guard, so expect Danny Ainge to make a mid-season acquisition for a veteran back-up once teams go into salary dump mode, gearing up for 2010.

The Celtics have more talent, experience, size, and heart than any team in this division. Expect them to run away with the division crown early just as they have the previous two seasons.

Arrivals: Rasheed Wallace, Marquis Daniels

Departures: Steph Marbury, Gabe Pruitt, Leon Powe

Depth Chart:
PG: Rajon Rondo/Eddie House
SG: Ray Allen/Tony Allen/JR Giddens
SF: Paul Pierce/Marquis Daniels/ Bill Walker
PF: Kevin Garnett/Glen Davis/Brian Scalabrine
C: Kendrick Perkins/Rasheed Wallace/Sheldon Williams

Strengths:

Leadership and Experience: The Celtics still have the same starting line up as they did when they won it all in June 2008. Adding Rasheed Wallace only adds to the experience.

Depth: Rasheed Wallace, Marquis Daniels, and Eddie House could all start on over half the teams in the NBA. If the Celtics had this roster last season, they very well could have gone to the Finals without Garnett. They now have other pieces that can salvage the injury bug, especially in the front court.

Weaknesses:

Age: With Allen, Pierce, Garnett, and Wallace all between 32 and 35, many speculate how much these guys have left in the tank. An 82 game season plus another 20-25 playoff games is a lot to ask out of an aging bunch. Luckily, they have each other to lean on night in and night out, and it is never about just one guy carrying the load. The added depth should help keep their legs younger come April as well.

Big 3: Ray Allen /Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett

These three are still the best in the association. No other combination of players works as cohesively and compliments one another as well. Pierce is the most reliable offensively, Garnett is the leader and defensive presence, and Allen is a reliable shooter and good last minute option. None of their styles inhibits anyone else’s, which is why they work so well together.

X-Factor: Rajon Rondo:

After last year’s playoff performance, it would not be ridiculous to say Rajon Rondo is a member of the Big 3, and Ray Allen is not. After averaging 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists against the Bulls and Magic at the age of just 23, Rondo is clearly a very special player. He is the Celtics X-Factor because he takes a lot of pressure off of Allen and Pierce, and his youthfulness is something an aging Boston team desperately needs. Add in the fact that Boston’s depth is rather slim at point guard, and it becomes obvious why Rondo’s production is integral to Boston’s success.

Best Case Scenario:
NBA Champions

If Rasheed Wallace can accept the role he is given by Doc Rivers, and the Big 3 can continue to co-exist and avoid the injury bug, then do not be surprised to see Kevin Garnett crying and going crazy again in June. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE !!!

Worst Case Scenario:
2nd Round Departure

If age catches up with the Celtics and injuries mount in Boston (especially to Rondo or Pierce), do not be surprised if the Celtics get handily beaten by the Cavs, Magic, or even the Hawks.

2. TORONTO RAPTORS

Bryan Colangelo made the Jermaine O’Neal-Shawn Marion deal late last season because he knew the mess he created in Toronto needed tending to quickly. That trade gave the Raptors cap flexibility a summer early (2009 instead of 2010), and allowed Colangelo to re-structure his club in order to stay competitive and have a realistic shot at keeping Chris Bosh in Toronto through next summer. What transpired in the off-season was the acquisition of 9 new players, highlighted by the signings of Hedo Turkoglu and Jarrett Jack.

Turkoglu finally gives the Raptors a reliable wing player, something they have been missing since the departure of Vince Carter. It allows Andrea Bargnani to be cemented as the team’s center, and means we shouldn’t see anymore experiments that have him on the wing to mix things up. Jarett Jack gives the Raptors a good locker room presence, a close friend to Bosh, and one of the league’s best back-up point guards. His size should allow him to play alongside Calderon down the stretch of games which will give Toronto another sound decision maker in crunch time. Rookie DeMar DeRozan and forward Reggie Evans give the Raptors some athleticism and grit, something they have been lacking since they lost Charles Oakley. Marco Belinelli and Antoine Wright represent nothing spectacular, but are younger and show more promise then the shooting guard combination the Raptors used to have in Anthony Parker, Joey Graham, and Jason Kapono. Rasho Nesterovic and Amir Johnson add some depth to the Raptors front court, which still remains slim, but at least has more capable bodies then the previous couple of seasons.

The 2009-2010 season will be an interesting one in Toronto, with a lot of new faces and rising expectations after bringing in Turkoglu next to Bosh, Bargnani, and Jose Calderon. While the shuffling worked in the 2006-2007 season, when Colangelo restructured the Raptors into a Division winner, this is no longer the Titanic division, so do not expect a 45+ win season out of the Raptors. That being said, they have a plethora of offensive talent and depth which should allow Head Coach Jay Triano to have the Raptors running, gunning, and blowing out a lot of the poorer teams across the league.

Arrivals: Hedo Turkoglu, Jarrett Jack, Reggie Evans, Marco Belinelli, Antonie Wright, DeMar DeRozan, Rasho Nesterovic, Amir Johnson, Sonny Weems

Departures: Shawn Marion, Nathan Jawai, Kris Humphries, Roko Ukic, Joey Graham, Anthony Parker, Jason Kapono

Depth Chart:

PG: Jose Calderon/Jarrett Jack/Marcus Banks
SG: Antoine Wright/ Marco Belinelli/ Quincy Douby
SF: Hedo Turkoglu/ DeMar Derozan/ Sonny Weems
PF: Chris Bosh/Reggie Evans/Amir Johnson
C: Andrea Bargnani/Rasho Nesterovic/Patrick O’Bryant

Strengths:

Depth: With Jarrett Jack, Reggie Evans, DeMar DeRozan, Marco Bellineli and Rasho Nesterovic, the Raptor bench has a nice combination of athleticism and toughness. Last year’s Raptors featured Roko Ukic, Joey Graham, Kris Humphries, and Jason Kapono- can you say upgrade !!!

Outside Scoring: Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani are mismatch nightmares for opposing front courts because of their range. Coupled with Jose Calderon, Hedo Turkoglu, and Marco Belinelli, the Raptors have enough outside shooting to go around. In fact, they used to have too much, hence the Jason Kapono for Reggie Evans deal, and letting Anthony Parker walk. Instead the Raptors got more athletic and tough, and let some of the shooters go.

Weaknesses:

Size/Inside Scoring: When Rasho Nesterovic is your biggest player, you know you have a thin front line. Although Reggie Evans is an absolute monster, he is a power forward, and cannot guard the Shaq’s, Tim Duncan’s, and Dwight Howard’s of the world. This will once again be the Raptors Achilles heel come playoff time. Lets just hope Colangelo doesn’t make another desperation trade that nets them someone like an aging Jermaine O’Neal to solve the issue.

Experience: Although the Raptors added Turkoglu, the rest of their core still has minimal experience. The Raptor big 3…Jose Calderon, Chris Bosh, and Andrea Bargnani have never been out of the first round. Outside of Hedo and Nesterovic, no Raptor has played in more then 28 playoff games.

Big 3: Jose Calderon/Hedo Turkoglu/Chris Bosh

Very talented trio offensively, but none of the 3 are defensively sound. While Chris Bosh is a hard working defender, he is no Kevin Garnett or Tim Duncan. Jose Calderon routinely gets carved up by opposing point guards, especially his division rivals Devin Harris and Rajon Rondo. Despite their defensive shortcomings, these 3 will be able to work together cohesively and compliment each other well. While Bosh is the Raptors go-to guy, Hedo will be much more reliable in the last 6 minutes, much like his situation in Orlando with Dwight Howard.

X-Factor: Andrea Bargnani

After Bargnani’s emergence under Jay Triano in December, many now believe the former #1 pick has a good chance of living up to the hype of being the first European player taken first overall. He’s long, quick, and athletic, however, like Calderon, Bosh, and Hedo, he is not defensively sound and lacks the rebound capabilities of a center. If he can find a way to get on the glass and protect the rim, he will make a bigger difference for the Raptors then if he upped his scoring to 20 points a night.

Best Case Scenario: 2nd Round

If the Raptors can put together a stellar regular season and find a way to avoid playing Orlando, Boston, or Cleveland in the first round, they have a legitimate shot at the round 2. With their plethora of scorers and deep bench, the Raptors will really be able to mix things up offensively over the course of a 7 game series.

Worst Case: Miss Playoffs for 2nd straight year. Bye-bye CB4.

The Raptors will score 105+ points a game but that wont matter if they are letting up 108 a game. Defense will tell the story of the Raptors season. If the Raptors are not competitive, do not expect Bosh to remain north of the boarder very long.

3. PHILADELPHIA 76ers

The 76ers are a tough team to read heading into the 2009-2010 season for one main reason, Elton Brand. After a successful 2007-2008 season, the 76ers brought in Brand thinking they were one big-name player away from title contention. They were certainly way off on that one as Brand struggled to establish himself with Philadelphia and threw off the run and gun chemistry that made them so successful the year before. When Elton went down with a shoulder injury that costed him his 2nd straight season to injury, the 76ers skyrocketed themselves into the playoffs playing the same gritty, athletic, open-court style that brought them success in 2006-2007. So of course the question become…Will having a healthy Brand back bring them more W’s?

Ed Stefanski was rather inactive this off-season. He made a smart move flipping Reggie Evans for Jason Kapono. The 76ers are loaded in the frontcourt with Brand, Dalembert, Primoz Brezec, Mareese Speights, and Jason Smith. Speights and Smith are young and both have potential, so why not dish out Evans in return for a shooter? It’s something Philadelphia has lacked the past couple of seasons and Kapono is one of the game’s best outside threats. Allowing Andre Miller to walk might really hurt the 76ers. Louis Williams and Jrue Holiday are both very young, but neither is a conventional lead guard. Expect new head coach Eddie Jordan to work tirelessly with these two, and maybe even explore using Andre Igoudala at the point in certain situations.

Altogether, the 76ers remain a big question mark. Getting Eddie Jordan might have been Stefanski’s biggest move since bringing in Brand. Jordan’s Princeton offense, a unique array of backdoor cuts, and slashes to the net might allow Philadelphia’s speed and athleticism to flourish in half-court sets where Elton Brand is at his best.

Arrivals: Jason Kapono, Jrue Holliday, Primoz Brezec

Departures: Andre Miller, Reggie Evans

Depth Chart:

PG: Louis Williams/Jrue Holliday
SG: Andre Igoudala/Willie Greene
SF: Thaddeus Young/Jason Kapono
PF: Elton Brand/Mareese Speights
C: Samuel Dalembert/Jason Smith

Strengths:

Defense: Head coach Eddie Jordan is no defensive guru, but after two years of stellar defense and the same core unit of players, Philadelphia should have no problem replicating their defensive prowess.

Athleticism: With Thaddeus Young, Andre Igoudala, and Samuel Dalembert, the 76ers have some of the most athletic players at their position in the L. Louis Williams and Jrue Holiday may not be conventional point guards, but they are not short on athleticism and speed.

Weaknesses:

Ball Handling: Losing Andre Miller might not show until playoff time, when the possessions get slower, and the decision-making of your point guard is vital. The 76ers have no one that can really run a strong half-court offense like Miller could.
Outside scoring: Despite the acquisition of Jason Kapono, Philly still lacks outside scoring. Louis Williams, Andre Igoudala, and Thaddeus Young are all streaky outside shooters, who prefer to cut and drive to the net. I hate to say it, but expect Kapono to play a big role in many late game situations.

Big 3: Andre Igoudala/Thaddeus Young/Elton Brand

Long, athletic, and defensively sound. The 76ers top guns are all well-rounded players at both ends of the floor. The main issue is that none of the 3 is a reliable offensive option on a nightly basis. While Brand and Igoudala are capable of dropping 20+ over stretches, neither can consistently take over a game and string together a couple of late game wins. You need a guy like that to go deep in the playoffs. (See: Pierce, Turkoglu, LeBron)

X-Factor: Lou Williams

The 76ers biggest question mark is at point guard. If Louis Williams can prove himself to be an NBA floor general, then the playoffs are well in sight for Philadelphia. However, if the young guard continues to have a shoot first mentality, then the 76ers will struggle. Even with Andre Miller they were not an offensively sound basketball team, so the maturity and competency of Louis Williams is vital.

Best Case Scenario: 2nd Round

If Elton Brand returns to his 20 and 10 self, Andre Igoudala becomes an all-star, and Louis Williams proves himself to be an NBA point guard, there is no reason why the 76ers are not capable of upseting one of the top seeds in the East. With Samuel Dalembert and Elton Brand, Philadelphia has the best chance against the big front courts in Orlando, Boston, and Cleveland.

Worst Case Scenario:
Miss the Playoffs. Elton Brand doesn’t work out.

Elton Brand either gets injured, or Eddie Jordan struggles to find a compromise between the speed and athleticism of the young 76er talent and the half court prowess of Brand. Louis Williams and Jrue Holiday struggle to fill Miller’s shoes, which forces Andre Igoudala to play out of position and run the point. This could have the makings of some serious chemistry issues in the City of Brotherly Love.

4. NEW YORK KNICKS

They might as well be called the New York 2010s. With all the talk of the Knicks’ ‘masterful’ rebuilding project for the 2010 free agent class, they remain a work in progress. They brought back David Lee and Nate Robinson on one-year deals, leaving maximum flexibility throughout this season and into next summer to explore all their options to bring in a big name player. Their entire starting line up is not under contract for next summer, and only rookies Jordan Hill and Toney Douglas are guaranteed contracts through the 2010-2011 season. What was the worst salary cap situation in basketball is almost over, lets just hope Donnie Walsh can make the right moves to put New York back on top over the next 18 months.

Head Coach Mike D’Antoni did a good job installing his run and gun offense last season. With one year under his belt, and a similar roster, the Knicks should slightly out perform their 2008-2009 win total. D’Antoni’s free flowing offense is the right fit for a team of players seeking new contracts, as his high octane offense creates many more possessions per game and in the process pads his players stats: more shots, more rebounds, more points, etc.

The big issue in New York this year will come down to playing time. Rookie Danilo Galinari is finally 100%, Eddy Curry is in much better shape, and Darko Milicic is the only real defensively minded player on the roster. Add in lottery pick Jordan Hill and the improving Nate Robinson, and you have plethora of players off the Knicks’ bench that are rather interchangeable. It will be interesting to see how the rotations work out in New York, and which expiring players are given the full potential to get paid next summer.

Arrivals: Jordan Hill, Toney Douglas, Darko Milicic

Departures: Chris Wilcox, Quentin Richardson

Depth Chart:

PG: Chris Duhon/Nate Robinson/Toney Douglas
SG: Wilson Chandler/Larry Hughes
SF: Al Harrington/Danilo Gallinari/Jared Jeffries
PF: David Lee/Jordan Hill
C: Eddy Curry/Darko Milicic

Strengths:

Athleticism: The Knicks have a young and athletic team. With Chandler, Harrington, David Lee, and Jordan Hill, the Knicks have a lot of length and speed at the wing and inside. Nate Robinson is among the league’s best athletes. Darko Milicic is also very athletic; his ability to get up and down the floor should give him his best opportunity he has had yet in the NBA.
Open-court Offense: Every team Mike D’Antoni coaches will have a successful free-flowing open-court offense.

Weaknesses:

Team Defense: The Knicks do not have any defensive minded players outside of Darko Milicic and Chris Duhon, both of whom could very likely end up as bench players. While D’Antoni’s system is not defensively oriented, the Knicks do not have a go-to scorer in late game situations to turn to when the defense gets tougher. They wont be able to make late game stops, and will also have trouble scoring themselves once it becomes a half-court game in the final 6 minutes.

Perimeter Playmaking: Nate Robinson has an innate ability to attack the basket, but he is not a playmaker. Chris Duhon is a respectable floor general, but he does not have the ability to consistently break defenses and down and get guys open shots. Wilson Chandler is an athletic freak, but is not the best passer and Larry Hughes is just way past his prime.

Big 3: Al Harrington/David Lee/Nate Robinson:

All 3 flourished under D’Antoni last season. Al Harrington was a big boost offensively for the Knicks, as his versatility created match up problems for opposing defenses and allowed D’Antoni to mix up his front court during games. Lee is probably the Knicks most valuable asset, and fits well in a run and gun system at center, however, with the addition of Darko and with Eddy Curry back in the mix, he may struggle playing against other 4s. Nate Rob, the fan favourite is the Knicks most reliable one-on-one half-court option, but still lacks the consistency and playmaking capability of a point guard.

X-Factor: Wilson Chandler

Chandler was a pleasant surprise for New York last season. If he can continue his development and take it to the next level, the Knicks might have found themselves a good second scorer to pair beside Wade, LeBron, or whatever other big-name prospect they have on their list for 2010.

Best Case: 8th seed and quick 1st round exit.

If the young Knicks can continue to improve and buy into Coach D’Antoni’s system, do not be surprised if they sneak into the playoffs with the 8 seed. They have developing players in Robinson, Chandler, Lee, and Galinari, each of whom has the ability to have a serious break-out season and semi-resurrect the Knicks.

Worst Case: Shed salary and talent to bank on 2010. Finish near the bottom.

It will be interesting to see how Donnie Walsh handles a slow start in New York. Does he want to completely tank the season and bank on getting a top 3 pick? Or will he try to make the Knicks at least competitive so that they can appear one or two big-name free agents away from being a contender?

5. NEW JERSEY NETS:

Although the 2009-2010 season does not appear overly bright for the young Nets, they have a good long-term outlook. Through this season, only Devin Harris, Brook Lopez, Courtney Lee, Terrence Williams, Keyon Dooling, and Eduardo Najera remain under contract, which gives them a lot of flexibility to add a strong wing player and power forward next season.

With Harris and Lopez locked up, the Nets have solidified the two most important positions for an NBA squad. They also have good young potential on the wings in Courtney Lee and Terrence Williams. The team’s biggest question mark, Yi Jianlian, has yet to play consistent basketball, but Josh Boone and Sean Williams have proved to be serviceable, hard-working, athletic big men that can take care of the glass and contribute in the open floor. It appears as though the Nets have some nice young pieces, but in the mean time, they will suffer greatly.

They are incredibly shallow at the wing position, and outside of Brook Lopez possess no big man with any sort of inside scoring capability. While Devin Harris is among the league’s most fruitful young stars, he is not a Dwayne Wade or Kobe Bryant that can single handedly carry his team to 40+ wins. So expect a slow season for the Nets, but some glimpses of hope for next season.

Arrivals: Courtney Lee, Rafer Alston, Terrence Williams, Tony Battie

Departures: Vince Carter

Depth Chart:

PG: Devin Harris/Rafer Alston/Keyon Dooling
SG: Courtney Lee/CDR/Trenton Hassell
SF: Bobby Simmons/Terrence Williams/Jarvis Hayes
PF: Yi Jianlian/Sean Williams/Eduardo Najera
C: Brook Lopez/Josh Boone/Tony Battie

Strengths:

Athleticism: With such a young roster, it is hard not be athletic. Devin Harris, Courtney Lee, Terrence Williams, Yi, and Lopez are all above average NBA athletes at their position, which should keep the Nets in a lot of games until the 4th quarter when it becomes mind over matter.
Youth: While it might not translate in the win column, New Jersey has a lot of prospects that they can test and develop with the hope of them becoming rotation players on a more successful team down the road.

Weaknesses:

Wing Players: No disrespect to Courtney Lee, Terrence Williams, Bobby Simmons, CDR, or Trenton Hassel, but this is the worst wing situation in the NBA. None of these guys are consistent outside shooters, nor are any of them capable of breaking defenses down in the 4th quarter. While there is some future talent in this cast, if Courtney Lee is your best wing player, your team is in trouble.
Depth: Outside of the point guard spot, the Nets do not have much production off the bench. Not one of their bench players (outside of Alston) has averaged over 10 points a game in their career (unless you think that Bobby Simmons is coming off the bench and you count the two successful years he had before his debilitating knee injury)

Big 3: Devin Harris/Courtney Lee/Brook Lopez

Harris and Lopez are great pieces for a young re-building team to start with. Point Guard and Center are the hardest and most important positions to fill on an NBA roster. A couple years down the road, they could be a dynamic duo. Courtney Lee is a talented young player, eager to prove Orlando wrong after the Vince Carter trade. But once again, if Courtney Lee is in your team’s Big 3, your in trouble.

X-Factor:Yi Jianlian

He has shown glimpses, but remains a work in progress. If Yi can make the similar jump that Toronto’s Andrea Bargnani made last season, then the Nets will have another reliable scoring option outside of Lopez and Harris in their half-court sets.

Best Case: Flirt with the 8th seed but fall short due to lack of experience and depth.

If Devin Harris continues his ascendancy towards the NBA’s elite, Brook Lopez develops into a near all-star caliber center, and Yi Jianlian finally emerges as a consistent scoring option, the Nets will have a successful year considering their team on paper.

Worst Case: Struggle out of the gate, finish 13-15.

With all that youth and so many new faces, do not be surprised if New Jersey struggles early. Would that be such a bad thing? Considering their long-term outlook, a high lottery pick and 20+ million in cap space would give the Nets a lot to work with moving forward. Considering they have their PG and C locked up, they would look like a very attractive destination for a big-name wing player.

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6 Responses to “NBA Preview: Atlantic Division”

  1. wouldn't you like to know

    21. Sep, 2009

    Drozen is a two-guard. drafted as a two guard played two guard. Colangelo and Coach Canuck have both intimated that he will be STARTING at the two guard position. Curious as to how he ended up backing up the SF?

    Reply to this comment
  2. luke

    21. Sep, 2009

    epic article, this guy has upper level management written all over him

    Reply to this comment
  3. Tarun Joseph

    21. Sep, 2009

    What an excellent article. Prehaps the best Atlantic Div Preview i’ve seen all year so far.

    Although when has Thaddeus Young ever played SG (See Atlantic Div 3rd team)

    Still excellent stuff

    Reply to this comment
  4. Diceman

    18. Sep, 2009

    Jarrett Jack will be the off season move of the division. He is going to play more than anyone thinks and will provide the toughness that calderon, turkoglu and Bargnani all lack. Not sure Raps finish two in the division and Philly is real tough.

    I also think Lou Williams will be the biggest surprise in the league this season.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Nolan

    18. Sep, 2009

    You know your a Uconn guy when your calling Josh Boone serviceable.

    Reply to this comment

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