Thriller’s NBA season preview: the Atlantic

Atlantic Division:

Boston Celtics

Projected Starters: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O’Neal
Rotation players: Keyon Dooling, Marquis Daniels, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, Chris Wilcox
Key Additions: Keyon Dooling, Brandon Bass, Chris Wilcox

OUTLOOK:

This is either going to be a year where the Celtics somehow pull it together as a team and get hot going in to the playoffs and be one of the more dangerous teams in this years playoffs, or the Rondo situation combined with their old age will catch up to them and blow up in their face. I expect the latter to be honest as I dont think their pickups will be able to overcome the exhaustion setting in over the season, plus the stars likely sitting out multiple back to back games. Celtics may drop out of the top 4 in the East this year due to the scheduling/old age/Rondo situation.

Philadelphia 76ers

Projected Starters: Jrue Holiday, Jodie Meeks, Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand, Spencer Hawes
Rotation players: Louis Williams, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young, Nikola Vucevic
Key Additions: Nikola Vucevic

OUTLOOK:

The Sixers had a solid team last year and likely improved it a bit with the addition of Vucevic(assuming he adapts to the NBA game and doesnt become another stiff) and the likely improvement of Holiday. They, like Atlanta, only have a 1st round and out ceiling though with the team currently constructed. They need to figure out what they have in Turner this season, as well as what they’re going to do with Iguodala. They’re stuck in mediocrity, but they do have a good young core in place. Expect 1 and done.

New York Knicks

Projected Starters: Toney Douglas, Landry Fields, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler
Rotation players: Mike Bibby, Iman Shumpert, Bill Walker
Key Additions: Mike Bibby, Iman Shumpert, Tyson Chandler

OUTLOOK:

The Knicks have a team ready made for a defensive coach currently, but they have Mike D’Antoni. It’s going to be really interesting to see if D’Antoni changes his style at all with a very good looking defensive starting 5(but not likely). The Knicks obviously need to shore up their bench in the next 2 days as they literally have no big people off the bench(unless you count no name rookies) nor reliable guards/forwards. If they do get a couple of bench guys, I can see the team winning a round this year in the playoffs if D’Antoni can get his head around having his players play some defence. They have the best frontcourt in the NBA and a solid defensive backcourt who can rain 3s. They’re pretty close to contending with the right tweaks. I expect them to win a round this year and get ousted in the 2nd round by CHI or MIA.

Toronto Raptors

Projected Starters: Jose Calderon, Demar Derozan, James Johnson, Andrea Bargnani, Amir Johnson
Rotation players: Jerryd Bayless, Leandro Barbosa, Gary Forbes, Ed Davis, Aaron Gray
Key Additions: Gary Forbes, Aaron Gray

OUTLOOK:

BC did a great job this offseason getting as many scrubs to fill out the roster as possible, going for a top pick in a stacked 2012 NBA draft. The main goal of the Raptors this year will be to see how good Derozan really is, and continue to develop Ed Davis.

New jersey Nets

Projected Starters: Deron Williams, Anthony Morrow, Damien James, Johan Petro, Mehmet Okur (Brook Lopez)
Rotation players: Jordan Farmar, Sheldon Williams
Key Additions: No one yet(they just amnestied Travis Outlaw FYI)

OUTLOOK:

(As of earlier this week) The Nets are currently a very incomplete team with 2 days left in free agency . As currently constructed, obviously they wont make the playoffs, but I’d expect them to re-sign Humphries (check) and then go after a SF and some bench pieces then the playoffs will be within reach but barely.

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