Atlantic Division Preview
The NBA season is around the corner and this year will prove to be the deepest the league has ever been talent wise. Each upcoming article will give you the tools you need to foresee what each team will look like and what their respective records will be for the 2017-2018 season.
Brooklyn Nets: For a team with middling talent and no future draft capital. Brooklyn has turned Brook Lopez’s expiring contract and Andrew Nicholson into D’ Angelo Russell, Timofey Mozgov’s contract and Allen Crabbe. Russell will prove to be a great fit in Head Coach Kenny Atkinson’s up-tempo offense with enough talent to distribute the ball to in newly acquired Crabbe, Chris Levert, Jeremy Lin and whatever is left of DeMarre Carroll. Expect Russell to have a very good statistical season, Levert to keep improving and Crabbe will get the starter minutes he deserves. Brooklyn’s record will be bad but they are off to a good start rebuilding from nothing. Brooklyn’s record will be 19-63 with a fun offense and the cellar of the division.
New York Knicks: After a lot turmoil this offseason, the Knicks are somehow better off parting ways with Phil Jackson and close to trading Carmelo Anthony. New York should receive non-guaranteed contracts, a decent young asset, attached with a future first round pick in return for Anthony. This will let new General Manager Scott Perry restart with a young core that needs development built around a future superstar in Kristaps Porzingis. If the Knicks keep on this path they will improve post Carmelo and will move forward as a franchise. Not re-signing Derrick Rose was the right move paving the way for Frank Ntilikina to develop into the athletic freak 18-year old he is. This won’t be a good year record wise just like Brooklyn as the Knicks will finish with a 24-58 record and no playoffs.
Philadelphia 76ers: This is the year “Trust the Process” will translate into playoffs. Trading up for Markelle Fultz on draft night will tell fans that they are not in it to lose games anymore. The combination of Fultz and Ben Simmons is a perfect mix with each player not needing the ball in their hands to be effective. Simmons’s size provides his passing ability to be on display as well as his ability to get to the rim. This will open up the offense for Fultz to roam around the perimeter and use his spin move to get open for a floater in the lane or hit wide open three pointers in catch and shoot situations. Philly’s projected record is hard to tell and will hinge largely if Joel Embiid can play more than 50 games. With good veteran signings and depth to make a playoff run. Expect this team to get in as a 6 seed with a 42-40 record and be a tough out in the first round.
Toronto Raptors: The Drakes had a busy off-season and did an excellent job with their roster. After getting embarrassed by Cleveland, Toronto has brought the band back together and somehow Jedi mind tricked Brooklyn into taking DeMarre Carroll’s contract. Dumping Corey Joseph in return for sharpshooter CJ Miles on a cheaper contract was another great move by General Manager Masai Ujiri. Who has once again put together a winner and is now under the luxury tax. Retaining Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka on three-year deals was key for the Raptors, this will keep them relevant in the East and who knows what can happen. A star player could be attainable on the open market via trade or free agency. With a winning culture Toronto could provide an attractive place for a disgruntled star. The Raptors have young players to go with their veteran leaders that will contribute now in Norman Powell and Delon Wright. Each player has shown promise and will go well with Miles coming off the bench. The Raptors will have a record of 48-34 the fifth seed in the East and a second-round playoff exit.
Boston Celtics: What an off-season for the Celtics, sniping Gordon Hayward in free agency away from his former team and won the bidding war vs Miami was one of the biggest things to happen since the Finals. Hayward is the perfect fit with Isiah Thomas, possessing size, good passing ability, excellent three-point shooter and unselfishness that is hard to find in today’s NBA. Boston had to trade Avery Bradley’s expiring contract for cap purposes receiving Marcus Morris who is a viable option at power-forward is a good haul. Boston still lacks size with Horford and Morris as their only big men. This will affect them majorly in the playoffs, when it comes to the regular season expect to see this team cruise to a 54-26 record the division title and top seed in the East for a second straight year.