2007 NBA Atlantic Division Preview
You’ve got the feeling that Red Auerbach and Dennis Johnson, two former Celtics greats who passed-on last year, are up there somewhere in heaven smiling. Red has his signature cigar lit and Johnson has that mischievous grin stretched across his face. Why? Well, unless you were living under a rock somewhere, you know that the Boston Celtics, a team that won only 24 games last year, pulled off two amazing deals when they secured the services of two dynamite players-- Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.
Many are picking the Celtics to win the division and all are saying the team will be in the playoffs this year. The Celtics, who missed the playoffs only eight times in their first 49 years, have been out of the post-season eight of the last dozen years. Last season was especially tough for the club due to injury.
The New Jersey Nets, a club that finished second in the Atlantic in 2006- 2007 with a record of 41-41, return as the team of old. The emphasis here is on age, with superstars Jason Kidd and Vince Carter still able to put up numbers but more prone to injury and fatigue. Carter has proven that he can still score as he’s average 24.2 PPG in his three seasons with the Nets, while Kidd is still the hustling, take-charge floor general who’s capable of just about anything. The club shot 45.7% last season—quite a mark!
Toronto surprised everyone last season by placing first in the division and forward Chris Bosh was simply great. Look for last year’s first-team All-Rookies Andrea Bargnani and Jorge Garbajose to be even better this year, helping to keep the Raptors in contention.
The last time the Knicks posted a winning record it was in the 2000- 2001 season when they finished with a 48- 34 record. Coach Isiah Thomas brought the team along last year, but it’s probable that the club will miss the post-season for the fourth year straight. All-Star guard Stephen Marbury has seen his point and assist production dwindle in the last three seasons.
Remember those great Philadelphia-Boston battles of the sixties and early seventies? Keep remembering them. The Sixers are in a rebuilding phase after getting rid of superstar and non-team player Allen Iverson.
2007 NBA Atlantic Division Predictions
Projected Order of Finish: Click on team name for individual in-depth team outlook.