Our NBA preview continues with a lookat the Atlantic Division.
Boston Celtics: Last year 66-16, NBA Champs
Starting Five:PG Rajon Rando SG Ray Allen SF Paul Pierce PF Kevin Garnett C Kendrick Perkins Key Reserves: Leon Powe, Patrick O’Bryant, Eddie House, Tony Allen, Glen Davis, and their mascot Brian Scalabrine
Projections: The Celtics are a great team with an unbelievable bench. Powe gives them great energy off the bench. The big three of Allen, Garnett, and Pierce are still there and will carry them through the season. We will see how they react to being the hunted in the much improved Eastern Conference. I also think Allen will struggle this year. I really like Rondo, especially if he can knock some shots from the outside.
Player to watch: Rajon Rondo
New Jersey Nets: Last year 34-48, 10th in the east
Anticipated Starting Five: PG Devon Harris SG Vince Carter SF Bobby Simmons PF Yi Jianlian C Josh Boone Key Reserves Keyon Dooling, Sean Williams, Eduardo Najera
Projections: This team is in a bit of transition. After trading away Kidd and Jefferson they look weaker. I have been a Devon Harris fan but he and Carter cannot carry this team. We will see what this team can do. They do have one positive: they will play the Knicks 4 times.
Player to Watch: Josh Boone
New York Knicks: Last year 23-59 14th in the east
Anticipated Starting Five: PG Chris Duhon SG Jamal Crawford SF Quentin Richardson PF David Lee C Zach Randolph Key Reserves: Eddy Curry, Stephon Marbury, Mardy Collins, Nate Robinson, Danilo Galinari
Projections: The Knicks are bad and Mike D’antoni will not help that much, at least not yet. This team is a joke and has been for a couple of years. It’s too bad also, the garder is an amazing place but it doesn’t matter when that is the product they put on the floor. Maybe they will get Lebron in 2 years.
Player to Watch: Chris Duhon
Philadelphia 76ers: Last year 40-42, 7th in the east.
Starting Five: PG Andre Miller SG Andre Iguodala SF Thaddeus Young PF Elton Brand C Samuel Dalembert Key Reserves: Lou Williams, Kareem Rush, Reggie Evans, Theo Ratliff, Royal Ivey, Donyell Marshall, Mareese Speights
Projections: This has been one of the teams to watch in the Eastern Conference after a great offseason. There is no doubt the sixers will be good but I think it will take sometime. I don’t see them running out of the gate that strong but they will gel sooner or later. I really like them to push for a first round home playoff series. I see big contributions from their bench also.
Player to Watch: Lou Williams
Toronto Raptors: Last year 41-41, 6th in the east
Anticipated Starting Five: PG Jose Calderon SG Anthony Parker SF Jamario Moon PF Chris Bosh C Jermaine Oneal Key Reserves: Andrea Bargnani, Jason Kapono, Kris Humphries Joey Graham
Projections: The Raptors are good. They do have some glaring weaknesses though, depth is the biggest one. Roko Ukic is their backup PG?? Their starting five is good maybe even better that good but with essentially two power forwards, can they play inside at all. They are going to make the playoffs but they still have a lot of questions to answer.
Player to Watch: Jamario Moon
1. Boston Celtics
2. Philadelphia 76ers
3. Toronto Raptors
4. New Jersey Nets
5. New York Knicks
Key newcomers: Elton Brand (Phi), Jermaine Oneal (Tor), Yi Jianlian (NJ), Mike D’Antoni (NY)
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