NBA Preview Part 1: Atlantic Division


Atlantic Division

Boston Celtics
Key Additions: Amir Johnson, David Lee, Jonas Jerebko, Tony Rozier, R.J. Hunter, Jordan Mickey, Perry Jones
Key Subtractions: Brandon Bass, Gerald Wallace
Outlook: Nobody expected the Boston Celtics to win 40 games last season, let alone make the playoffs as the 7th seed. Brad Stevens deserves the majority of the credit for getting the best out of  his young core. Adding all-star caliber talent David Lee gives the Celtics a post presence along with Jared Sullinger, and he provides NBA Champion experience to a highly, young, inexperienced team. This team is far from the Boston Celtics teams from the late 2000’s. Only time will tell if this group will take a step forward in the right direction. They are certainly hungry enough to do so.

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Brooklyn Nets
Key Additions: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Chris McCullough, Steve Blake, Thomas Robinson
Key Subtractions: Deron Williams, Mason Plumlee, Mirza Teletovic
Outlook: The Brooklyn Nets have started the rebuilding process a year ago when Paul Pierce departed for Washington. They traded Kevin Garnett back to Minnesota at the trade deadline. The Nets bought out Deron Williams this summer and eventually signed with Dallas. Then they resigned Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young while keeping Joe Johnson. Brooklyn’s identity is as unknown as their roster. The roster is talented enough to make a playoff run, but it will all depend on their chemistry. Personally, I believe they should continue the rebuilding process. I don’t expect much from them this year, but they are still the best team from New York.

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New York Knicks
Key Additions: Robin Lopez, Kristaps Porzingas, Aaron Afflalo, Derrick Williams, Jerian Grant, Kevin Seraphin, Kyle O’Quinn
Key Subtractions: Tim Hardaway Jr., Cole Aldrich, Jason Smith, Shane Larkin, Quincy Acy
Outlook: And then you have the New York Knicks (shaking my head). As questionable as picking Kristaps Porzingas as their lottery pick back in June, I believe Phil Jackson has a plan. It remains to be seen if Carmelo Anthony is a part of that plan. The Knicks struck out in the past summer’s free agency while continuing to pay Anthony a huge chunk of their payroll. He claims he wants to win a title in New York but by the time the Knicks will become a legitimate contender again, Melo will be beyond his prime. The most you can expect out of the Knicks this upcoming season is for Carmelo Anthony to put fans in the seats and maybe a 50 point game down the line.

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Philadelphia 76’ers
Key Additions: Jahlil Okafor, Nik Stauskas, Carl Landry, Scottie Wilbekin, Gerald Wallace
Key Subtractions: Thomas Robinson, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Henry Sims, Ish Smith, Jason Richardson
Outlook: After the uncertainty of the future of Joel Embiid, the Philadelphia 76’ers have drafted a big man for their 3rd consecutive time in the lottery. Jahlil Okafor will make an impact out the gate. I believe he is the most NBA-ready player in the 2015 draft class. With that being said, the 76’ers are FAR from contending for the postseason. This season more than likely will be a wash but at least they unlimited draft picks in the new couple of drafts (okay maybe not unlimited draft picks but they do have quite a few).

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Toronto Raptors
Key Additions: DeMarre Carroll, Cory Joseph, Luis Scola, Bismack Biyombo, Delon Wright, Norman Powell
Key Subtractions: Amir Johnson, Greivis Vasquez, Tyler Hansbrough, Chuck Hayes
Outlook: After winning “back to back” division titles, the Toronto Raptors are poised to win a 3rd straight time. Even though Toronto swung and miss at pursuing LaMarcus Aldridge (that caught a lot of people off guard), they were able to add depth at every position. There are still uncertainties of who will be their consistent go-to player when the team needs to score in crunch time, and if they can advance past the first round of the playoffs. I wouldn’t put them in the top-tier class of the Eastern Conference, but they should definitely be around late April.

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