NBA season preview: Atlantic Division
The NBA basketball season is quickly approaching, so the balance in many of the divisions has shifted. The Atlantic division doesn’t seem to be one of those conferences, however.
In a weak Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors are the only teams out of the Atlantic that were playoff bound. There are teams on the rise, and teams also falling, but the Atlantic division is on the rise as a whole.
Here are my predictions for the five Atlantic division teams going into 2017-18 NBA season.
2016-2017 record: 53-29
2017-2018 prediction 55-27
Well the rich just keep getting richer. The Boston Celtics added two All-Star guards this summer but they also lost their leader and defensive star. Isaiah Thomas was the heart and soul of the Boston Celtics and now he plays for a conference rival.
They also lost Avery Bradley who was a star in the playoffs when Isaiah Thomas went down. He also was the Celtics’ most consistent player throughout the entire season.
What they got in return far outweighs their loses. Even though the Celtics lost nearly their entire roster from last year, keeping just Rozier, Brown, Smart and Horford, they managed to get better this summer. With the big additions of Gordon Hayward, Kyrie Irving, Marcus Morris, Aron Baynes and Jayson Tatum the Boston Celtics are going to be building firmly on where they were just a year ago.
The Celtics may not be the best team in the East, but they at least will have a shot at it.
2016-2017 record: 20-62
2017-2018 prediction: 29-53
Well there’s no way around it. The Nets were the worst team in basketball last season. They have gotten better this summer by adding D’Angelo Russell, Timofey Mosgov and DeMarre Carroll but it’s hard to see them as anything better than a 30-win team heading into this season.
The bright side is that there are teams out there who are worse than them on paper as of now, but no one knows what happens come October when the season starts.
They have a long way to go in Brooklyn and with the Celtics having all of the Nets’ first round draft picks from the last couple years, there have been some tough times in Brooklyn.
New York Knicks:
2016-2017 record: 31-51
2017-2018 prediction: 34-48
The Knicks have had a strange offseason. Their two best players were both mentioned in trade talks and then Phil Jackson was let go.
Obviously it’s hard to see the Knicks getting a ton better with the loss of Derrick Rose, but it’s another year for Porzingis to grow and for Melo to continue to be the scorer he always has been.
The Knicks did make some interesting moves this offseason. Frank Ntilkina is not someone you can judge at all because he hasn’t played against NBA guys but Phil Jackson passed on Dennis Smith Jr. and he had an incredible summer.
The contracts to Ron Baker and Tim Hardaway Jr. seemed a little heavy for the production that they put forward, but the Knicks will win games.
All in all I think the Knicks win a few of the close games they didn’t last season, and set themselves up well for the future.
2016-2017 record: 28-54
2017-2018 prediction: 37-44
The 76ers are a young and talented team on paper who can only get better as time wears on because the core group of stars have never played together.
Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons are both viable candidates for Rookie of the Year and Joel Embiid and Dario Saric played great basketball over a short timespan last season. The key here is injuries, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure that out.
Saric, Embiid and Simmons were all hurt at length last season but if all four of these key guys, combined with a shooter like J.J. Redick can all stay healthy, this should be a playoff team.
2016-2017 record: 51-31
2017-2018 prediction: 46-36
It’s tough to think the Raptors got much better this offseason. They kept their backcourt duo in check but lost Patrick Patterson who did a lot of dirty work for the team. They didn’t gain any star players, as they are just looking to develop more.
Even though the East is weak and the Atlantic is certainly weak, the Raptors are still less superior to quite a few Western Conference teams and at least three Eastern Conference teams.
It will certainly be an interesting season for the North, but I think it’s hard to find them winning as many games as last season.
Featured Image Courtesy of NBA.com.
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