In spirit of the NBA season getting closer, I've decided to preview each division. On Day 1, I'll be checking out the Atlantic Division (the teams are in order of which I believe they will be ranked). Let's check it out.
1. Boston Celtics: I hate the Boston Celtics. But as much as I don't want to say it, the Celtics are a very solid basketball team. However, I think age will start to catch up with this team in 2009-2010. By the start of the season, the average age of the "Boston Three Party" will be 33. That's a pretty old age, especially considering the Celtics are going to be relying on the "party" for at least 6 months and 82 games. Don't get me wrong, the Celtics will still be a good team, and win the division crowd. I just think their dominance is over.
2. Toronto Raptors: To make a long story short, this is pretty much a brand new team. Only 3 of the 5 starters from 2008-2009 will be back this year. I think DeMar DeRozan could have been one of the bigger sleepers in June's draft. DeRozan's athleticism is sky high. Since the team has 8 new faces, gelling may be a slight concern. But with training camp, I don't think that will be problem.
3. Philadelphia 76ers: By losing Andre Miller, the 76ers are able to focus all their attention on the still maturing Louis Williams. Williams will be entering his 5th NBA season, and still has a ton of potential. Jrue Holiday, the newly drafted rookie, will complement Williams nicely in the backcourt. I also love the addition of Jason Kapono--with Philadelphia's spread offense, I think Kapono will flourish. But remember, Phillie fans--it all stems back to the all-star Elton Brand and his health. Quick fact: Brand has never played a full 82 game schedule.
4. New York Knicks: LeBron, LeBron, LeBron, right? Well, if the Knicks have any shot of getting LeBron (which I don't think they do), they need to at least make strides of improvement. I love (that's right, love) the additions of Jordan Hill and Toney Douglas. But at the end of the day, you have to question the Knick’s unlikely choice parading a number of power forwards and center positions like Eddy Curry, Al Harrington, Chris Hunter and Darko Milicic. Luciky, the Knicks brought back David Lee though, so I do think the Knicks will be much improved.
5. New Jersey Nets: By parting ways with Vince Carter, the Nets now have extra money floating around for the 2010 off-season. This gives the Nets a chance to pursue guys like Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James. But getting a marquee player is down to a small chance, with the big names getting more inclination in signing a championship caliber team. By dealing away Carter, the Nets are clearly in rebuilding mode. I do, however, like the Courtney Lee and Rafer Alston pick-ups, as well as the Terrance Williams drafting. Not to mention Devin Harris is starting to emerge as one of the better point guards in the league.