Monday, September 21, 2009

Division by division preview: Atlantic Division

Finally--the NBA season is approaching us. With now just 37 days until the Raptors tip off the 2009-2010 season, I'm getting very excited. I can't wait to see what's in store for the Raptors, but in general the NBA itself.

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.

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