Arsenalist: Atlantic Division Predictions
Old 09-21-2008, 01:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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What do you think guys? Do you see the Raps coming in 3rd in the Atlantic Division this season?

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Boston: The Celtics trinity are a year older but they’re still only 31, 32 and 33, one could even argue that they’re in their prime. They lost James Posey who was instrumental in their title run but as we’ll see this season that when you have three Hall of Famers on the roster, you tend to make up for things like that. The Big 3 might be a year slower but Rajan Rondo, Kendrick Perkins, Leon Powe and Baby Davis all gained experience last year that should help the Celtics in the regular season. Short of the Celtics putting it in cruise control and waiting for the playoffs, the Atlantic division is theirs. I highly doubt Boston will “take it easy” during the season because they realized last post-season how important home-court advantage in the playoffs can be. They’re not going to challenge for 70 wins but they’ll win the Atlantic.

Philadelphia: The second spot in the division has to go to either the Raptors or Sixers and I’m leaning towards Philly for two reasons: 1) They play better defense and 2) They play harder. They also happen to have more talent and athleticism across the board with Dalembert, Iggy, Brand and Miller headlining the roster and the team has their coach’s attention, something that can’t be said for the Raptors. Philly has a tight unit that can run, slash, block shots, rebound and starting this year, play in the post. There’s also something to be said for having a PG who can penetrate at will and pass it off to two double-team threats in Iggy and Brand, it’s combination like these that make for fourth quarter scores. Philly edges the Raptors to take second place.

Toronto: The team with the most “ifs” in the division. The hope is to finish with home-court in the conference but that would likely mean finishing above Philadelphia which is hard to see happening unless many things go right. Not saying it can’t happen, just that the odds are against us. Areas of concern last year were: perimeter defense, rebounding, fourth quarter scoring/lack of SF production. Of those three major needs we seem to have addressed one - i.e: rebounding. The Raptors are hoping that the players who played mediocre or bad last year simply play better and produce more. They’re hoping that Bargnani’s miserable season (BTW, great piece on Andrea Bargnani at Hoops Addict) was an anomaly and he can get back to terrorizing centers by taking them off the dribble. They’re hoping that the “addition by subtraction” at the PG spot works out in their favor and that Jermaine O’Neal returns to All-Star form and out-play the Dalembert-Brand combo in Philadelphia. Sam Mitchell needs to gel the team like Mo Cheeks did last year and I simply don’t have the confidence in him. I’d like to think we could beat Philly by a game or two but the reality here is too much to ignore.

New Jersey: Vince Carter, Bobby Simmons, Yi, Devin Harris, Brook Lopez and CDR sound like a good young exciting team but there’s very little of substance here. The lazy Carter’s 15 million dollar contract sticks out like a sore thumb on a team that’s trying to rebuild from the ground up and get some momentum for their eventual move to Brooklyn. The priority here isn’t winning, its developing some young talent and hoping somebody takes Carter off their hands. At least they know exactly the direction they’re going in. The Nets will be fun to watch and might even surprise some people but at the end of the they’re a couple notches below the Raptors, Sixers and the Celtics.

New York: If the Knicks go with the lineup of Gallinari, Crawford, Jeffries, Duhon and Malik Rose they’ll manage to win a few games. This team plays hard as often as AC Green gets laid so its always going to be an uphill battle for them. Mike D’Antoni’s a run ‘n gun coach without a run ‘n gun team. It’s not going to surprise me if the Knicks falter and fail but if all things go right and Marbury returns to mediocrity along with Eddy Curry showing a glimpse of his Bulls days, they might challenge the Nets for the 4th spot.
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Old 09-21-2008, 01:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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This is exactly what i believe will happen.I do believe that Philly is a little better then the Raptors.But alot of it depends on what BC does before the trade deadline,if anything.Because the 76ers and Raps are going to be close but unless BC can add another scorer we won't beat out Philly for 2nd place.
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Old 09-21-2008, 01:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I think we can beat Philly beat maybe by only a win or 2 or it could be the other way around
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Old 09-21-2008, 01:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I too think Philly may be the regular season team, but I think we'll be a better post season team because if Philly plays any team with a good defence theyll be done in 5-6 games due to their lack of outside shooting which should be exposed if they dont make a trade. You can just play zone against their starting 5 because not one of them can consistantly make a shot outside of 18 feet. When Iguodala is your best 3 pt shooter in the starting lineup you know you have some problems. They should be very good defensively though.
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Old 09-21-2008, 02:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm going to go out on a limb and say the Knicks will be a better team than a lot of us think so. I think they'll be that surprise team that will maybe be the last or one of the last few teams to be eliminated this season.
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Old 09-21-2008, 02:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Since when has a team run by Brian Colangelo in Toronto not entered a season with a lot of "ifs"?
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Old 09-22-2008, 12:21 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I'd take a team full of "ifs" over a team that is certain not to do anything, wouldn't you? Outside of Boston, NO and Utah, I can't think of any good team where there aren't a lot of ifs ...

What if Bynum knee will not hold? What if Kidd is a shadow this season? What if Nash's back finally gives up and Shaq can't make it through the season? What if TMac and Yao can't stay health and Artest blows up the team? What if Del Curry can't coach? What if Turkoglu can't repeat his career season and nelson doesn't improve? What if Philadelphia's lack of shooters will prove too hard to overcome? Heck, what if Posey was more important than we thought he was?

Fact is, in our 15 years history, we have never been better. We already had equaled the franchise record for wins, this season we have a decent shot at beating it. But I guess that's not good enough, I mean it's not like we're a title contender as everybody predicted two years ago, after coming of a 29 wins season ... right?
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Old 09-22-2008, 12:27 AM   #8 (permalink)
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The only real "ifs" I see are not getting killed in transition again, and being able to win games with their defense, while being fully focused to do so. If both of those conditions are met, then they can compete with Philly and Boston and it all comes down to which team handles the marathon of a season best.
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Old 09-22-2008, 12:38 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by thriller92 View Post
I too think Philly may be the regular season team, but I think we'll be a better post season team because if Philly plays any team with a good defence theyll be done in 5-6 games due to their lack of outside shooting which should be exposed if they dont make a trade. You can just play zone against their starting 5 because not one of them can consistantly make a shot outside of 18 feet. When Iguodala is your best 3 pt shooter in the starting lineup you know you have some problems. They should be very good defensively though.
I understand they're trying to play with igoudala at the 2 and young at the 3, which would be interesting to watch, but they will have very poor 3pt shooting in their starting 5. It might be too poor for even the regular season. Otherwise, they might try to use williams in the starting 5 to play SG on offense, and maybe try to put miller on the opposing SG and have williams defend the point. Might work against teams with a smaller backcourt, and williams could be a good or at least decent 3pt shooter this year.
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Old 09-22-2008, 12:40 AM   #10 (permalink)
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The only real "ifs" I see are not getting killed in transition again, and being able to win games with their defense, while being fully focused to do so. If both of those conditions are met, then they can compete with Philly and Boston and it all comes down to which team handles the marathon of a season best.
maybe you're forgetting about JO's health, Bargnani's improvement, Jose 's ability to last a full season as a starter?
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Old 09-22-2008, 12:12 PM   #11 (permalink)
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maybe you're forgetting about JO's health, Bargnani's improvement, Jose 's ability to last a full season as a starter?
Those aren't real ifs to me. Those are just a collection of individual hopes and aspirations. If JO goes into the season worrying about his health instead of his contributions to the team as a veteran leader, if Andrea worries more about his individual improvement than all the ways he can contribute to wins, and Jose worries more about lasting the full season as a starter than what he needs to consider for each game as it comes along, then I have very little interest in what is about to transpire.
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Old 09-22-2008, 12:32 PM   #12 (permalink)
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If Bargs can improve, if JO and CB4 can be healthy for the full season, if the bench can provide a lift when starters aren't on, and if Kapono can play like he did in the playoffs against Orlando. Are those good ones?
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Old 09-22-2008, 01:24 PM   #13 (permalink)
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A whole lot CAN happen for the Raptors or any other team. I don't see the point in getting all lost in thought over all of that. The real things that happen in actual games do the trick for me. Now if anyone asks me what HAS to happen for the team to be succesful, it's all about ensuring that they don't get killed in transition again, and that they are able to approach games from a much higher level of defensive ability overall. If they do that, then a lot of other stuff takes care of itself.
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Old 09-22-2008, 01:34 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I find it somewhat amusing that Mo Cheeks, who hasn't had a winning season as a coach in 5 or 6 season and has been soundly criticized since his days in Portland for his lack of coaching aptitude, lack of tactical knowledge for the game and his inability to discipline players is referenced as the anti-Sam.
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Old 09-22-2008, 01:48 PM   #15 (permalink)
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by who?
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Old 09-22-2008, 01:54 PM   #16 (permalink)
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They also happen to have more talent and athleticism across the board with Dalembert, Iggy, Brand and Miller headlining the roster and the team has their coach’s attention, something that can’t be said for the Raptors.

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Sam Mitchell needs to gel the team like Mo Cheeks did last year and I simply don’t have the confidence in him.
By saying things like this.
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