The Atlantic Division of the NBA's Atlantic Division has two of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference and three of eight playoff teams. It also has the New Jersey Nets and Toronto Raptors who, barring any trades for Dwight Howard, will be horrible.
Here's our predictions and previews for the Atlantic Division.
New York Knicks:
The Knicks, like the Clippers, are back. Unlike the Clippers, however, the Knicks actually have a past to come back to. They've managed to finally shed all the bad moves from Isiah Thomas and have assembled their own Big Three with Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler. Those parts fit nicely together and the Knicks were able to replace one veteran point guard, Chauncey Billups, with two veteran point guards, Mike Bibby and Baron Davis.
New York still has depth issues but like Miami last year, will rely on star power to overcome.
Prediction: 42-24, 1st place Atlantic Division
Boston still has their top four players (Garnet, Pierce, Allen and Rondo) but they are getting older and don't have great depth. They lost Jeff Green for the season to a heart condition and will have to hope that Chris Wilcox, Brandon Bass and Jermaine O'Neal can hold things down in the front court. The biggest hole, however, is the lack of scoring off the bench.
Prediction: 35-32, 2nd place, Atlantic Division
Look for the 76ers to continue to improve with another year under coach Doug Collins and natural growth from young players Evan Turner, Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young. Vets Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala are still around and Philly has a pair of X factors in Lou Williams and Marreese Speights. The Sixers are far from a complete team but they are bringing back the same group that made the playoffs last season and they should be even better this year.
Prediction: 34-33, 3rd place, Atlantic Division
New Jersey Nets:
New Jersey is in a temporary state of limbo as they try desperately to pull off a trade for Dwight Howard. Barring such a deal, the Deron Williams and Brook Lopez show will be in full effect with a smidgen of Anthony Morrow, Jordan Farmar and some other dudes (three of who also are named Williams).
The Nets, as they currently stand, will lose a lot of games and that won't make D-Will happy doing into his free agency summer.
Prediction: 22-44, 4th place, Atlantic Division
The poor Raptors are no closer to being a better team. They are hoping last year's rookie, Ed Davis will improve and DeMar DeRozan seems to show some progress each year, but this group is still very flawed and one of the worst rosters in the NBA.
Prediction: 14-52, 5th place, Atlantic Division
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