Atlantic Division (Part 2)
The NBA season has arrived, with games due to tip off Oct 22nd, on Tuesday. Bovada has released odds of divisional crowns for the 30 NBA teams, and we are going to handicap that aspect as well as take a quick glance at each team as it enters the 2019-20 season. There are no over/under for season wins currently available for betting on Bovada, but we are going to predict season win totals for each team in the brief synopses of each of the six divisions in the NBA, beginning with the Atlantic Division and stretching through the remaining five as we near NBA tipoff 2019.
New York (+15000)
The New York Knicks are the worst team in the division, but it is still a club worth watching for some of its individual talents. Heading those is center Mitchell Robinson. He passed largely under the radar during an excellent rookie season, and if he is one-dimensional, he is as good at that one dimension as possible: Robinson is a major shot blocker. He also dunks with impunity. Robinson will bring excitement to New York even as the losses pile up, which can also be said about several other players on this roster. Dennis Smith Jr. is still something of an enigma in terms of whether he is a 2 or a 1, but he and Elfrid Payton should provide brilliant and inconsistent play in the backcourt.
Duke product RJ Barrett is a contender for Rookie of the Year with his immediately translated scoring abilities. Julius Randle might thrive as the most established offensive threat on the team. Altogether, it is a strange mish-mash of talents, and the signing of Marcus Morris seems to make little sense if the Knicks really believe in developing Kevin Knox. Then again, the Knicks seldom do make a ton of sense in their roster jostling, and Randle is backed up by a guy who defends even worse than he does in Bobby Portis. The defense will keep New York from staying in a lot of games, even with Robinson likely swatting in excess of three shots per game.
Brooklyn is at least a year away, and it signified that by committing a lot of money to injured megastar Kevin Durant. The Nets also signed Kyrie Irving, which really places Brooklyn in a spot to be a 2020-21 contender. But what of this season? The Nets will try to develop the talents and chemistry on its roster to prepare for Durant next season. That means a likely demotion for Caris LeVert, given that he plays Durant’s natural position currently. He could even be moved before then. But for the time given, LeVert is important as the second-best scorer after Irving.
Spencer Dinwiddie now becomes a sixth-man, and arguably one of the league’s best, at that. The Nets also have some shooting and scoring coming off the bench with Dzanan Musa and Rudions Kurucs both being fearless gunners. DeAndre Jordan adds defense, depth, and stability, but also hinders the development of starting center Jarrett Allen to some degree (if that was ever really a priority for Brooklyn). The Nets will be a gutsy group and Irving gives them some star power, so really the team should improve, but it absolutely remains a full year away from reaching its ultimate potential when Durant comes back to add whatever he has left, and presumably, it will be plenty.