2009-10 NBA Atlantic Division Preview
This year’s Atlantic Division is about the Boston Celtics coming in first-place and grabbing a playoff spot. The rest of the division is about seeing who comes in second and most likely squeaks into the post-season. Everyone else in the Atlantic sits out the post-season.
The Celtics have beefed up the team a bit by adding Rasheed Wallace to the roster. Still, the post-season depends upon the health of forward Kevin Garnett. If he’s fully recovered from his knee injury, then this club has a chance of going deep into the second-season. One problem for coach Doc Rivers is the aging core of key players. Staying injury free is essential to this team’s success.
The Toronto Raptors have one of the most improved teams in the Eastern Conference. This could be the year that the Raptors make it back to the playoffs. The addition of front man Hedo Turkoglu is huge as is the signing of center Rasho Nesterovic, point guard Jarrett Jack and two guard Marco Belinelli. There’s a lot of depth on this year’s team. However a lack of muscle could hurt Toronto.
Although the Philadelphia 76ers didn’t do a whole lot of dealing in the off-season, they do return with some hope engendered by the hiring of veteran coach Eddie Jordan. Jordan has a fine offensive mind and does well in mentoring young players. There’s speed and passing on this team and solid upfront players who can score. The perimeter game is not Philadelphia’s strong suit.
You’ve got to appreciate the New York Knicks as they continue to work hard towards becoming a playoff contender. This is not the season to expect a post-season appearance by this club but you should witness a lot of innovative play as the Knicks start to find their footing as a team. The Knicks are strong in the area of versatility as they roster a range of players that can play front or backcourt spots. However, the one and two-guard areas are worrisome.
How the mighty have fallen! The once upon a time dominant New Jersey Nets are now rebuilding and will try to do so as quickly as possible. Don’t look for them to put up winning numbers, control the boards or waist time in finding and then taking the right shot. The team’s forwards are “iffy” and that makes for being physically dominated unto the boards. The guards are the strongest members of this team.
The Atlantic is a division that traditionally doesn’t seed many teams in the playoffs; as it has been in the recent past that will be true once again this season. Which team gives it’s fans some hope? The Knicks finally offer their faithful some optimism, while the Raptors look to be turning that hope into a reality. The Sixers, who can go either way, will be a team to watch. They could be the division’s dark horse.
2009-10 NBA Atlantic Division Predictions
Projected Order of Finish: Click on team name for individual in-depth team outlook.