09-10 Atlantic Division Preview
Sometimes things change. In the case of the Atlantic Division, they stay the same as they have been for the previous two seasons. It’s Boston and everybody else.
Here at HoopsVibe, we love the fact that our readers are educated and knowledgeable about basketball, even so much that they challenge many of the things said by our writers. With the NBA season starting this week and Chris Sells making predictions on the order of finish for each division, we don’t expect that to change now. Leave your own predictions in the comments section and you might just earn the right to win a prize at the end of the season. That prize will be a pat on the back. From yourself.
New York Knicks
Somehow, most of the news out of New York seems to involve next summer while totally ignoring the upcoming season that looms ahead for the Knicks. That should tell you plenty about their situation. They have some talent and they’ve got Mike D’Anotini’s run and gun system. They also have their sights set on signing a couple of big free agents next summer to give their franchise the legitimacy it has lacked for the better part of this decade.
The Sixers went back to their old logo this summer, but don’t be fooled. Moses Malone is not walking through that door. Julius Erving is not walking through that door. Charles Barkley is not walking through that door. And if they do they’ll be old and gray. Actually, Malone and Barkley will probably be bald. And Dr. J might be trying to scoop up a hottie half his age. The Sixers probably wish that a point guard would walk through the door since Andre Miller chose to head to the Northwest. For all the talent that Elton Brand, Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young bring to the table, you have to wonder how a team with one true point guard will fare over the course of 82 games, especially when that PG is a rookie.
The Celtics might have won the last two titles if they could have managed to keep everyone healthy last year. Instead, they hope to have rehabilitated their wounded and added a piece here and there in an attempt to make another shot at it this year. Preseason talk of winning 73 games was viewed as unlikely, but not ridiculous. My only real question about this team is if they can all get along. There are rumors that Rajon Rondo can’t get along with his teammates. Big Baby Davis is already wondering about his playing time, possibly because images of him siting on the bench remind us that he once sobbed inconsolably there. Kendrick Perkins is perpetually surly and Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace might just be the most talkative (to put it mildly) duo in league history. But I’m nitpicking at this point. I’m sure the team will do just fine.
New Jersey Nets
Somehow, most of the news out of New Jersey seems to involve the Nets’ potential move to Brooklyn and their purchase by an alleged druglord from Russia. On the court, the Vince Carter era has ended. The team of youngsters (mostly anyway) is now led by Devin Harris. There will undoubtedly be exciting plays and probably quite a bit of running. Missing from the formula will be wins. But who needs those when you can talk about Jay-Z and drug czars all season?
Raptor fans should hope for a great– or at least respectable– season and enjoy it if it happens. Because if Chris Bosh doesn’t stick around after the season, they may not see another one for a while. The Raptors should make a return to the playoffs, with talent at every position and a philosophy that suits its young players. But we all thought the same thing last year and we were all fooled. So cross your fingers, Raptor fans. Hope for the best, expect the worst and realize that the true outcome lies somewhere in between.
Projected Order of Finish
1. Boston Celtics
2. Toronto Raptors
3. Philadelphia 76ers
4. New York Knicks
5. New Jersey Nets