Season Preview: Atlantic Division

Posted on September 11, 2013 by Jacob Raim

Jacob Raim & Jeremy Hyman | editors preview the Atlantic Division

Who They Brought In: Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans, Phil Pressey, Kelly Olynyk, Vitor Faverani
Who Left: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry, DJ White, Kris Joseph, Terrence Williams
The Celtics elected to hit the reset button this offseason as they dealt veterans Pierce, Garnett, and Terry to the Nets and saw head coach Doc Rivers leave for LA.  The Celtics grabbed three first round draft picks in the deal with the Nets along with some rotational pieces in Wallace, Humphries, Bogans, and Brooks.  Wallace is coming off a season in which he struggled through injuries but over his career has been a very productive wing player on both ends of the court.  Humphries had a big year for Brooklyn in 2011, averaging almost a double-double, but fell out of the rotation last year.  Brooks has the potential to be a big scorer in the league after averaging 12.6 ppg as a rookie but struggled to stay in the rotation last year in Brooklyn.  The most intriguing piece the Celtics added was in the draft.  Kelly Olynyk has the potential to be a special stretch four after shining at Summer League as a very skilled big man.  The Celtics rebuild will be done with former Butler head coach, Brad Stevens.  Stevens saw incredible success at Butler, taking them to the NCAA championship game two years in a row and is widely considered to be one of the brightest young minds in basketball. 
Expected Starting 5: Rajon Rondo (when healthy), Avery Bradley, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, Kris Humphries

Who They Brought In: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Andrei Kirilenko, Jason Terry, Shaun Livingston, Alan Anderson, Mason Plumlee

Who Left: Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans, C.J. Watson

The Nets continued to make headlines this off-season as they pulled off a blockbuster deal with the Boston Celtics; sending Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, and three first round picks to Boston in exchange for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry, and DJ White.  The move instantly upgrades the Nets into a legitimate contender as they went from a very good team last season to potentially a championship caliber team.  On top of that, they brought in first-year head coach Jason Kidd, who goes from a point guard on the Knicks to head coach of the Nets in the matter of months.  The biggest question mark will be how it all comes together.  With Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez already in place, Pierce and Garnett now go to Brooklyn as secondary options in the offense.  The thought is that even at their age, they will be able to solidify a Nets team that had its moments of inconsistency last year.  They lost a lot of their role players from a year ago, but by keeping their core in place and adding a few future hall-of-famers to the roster, the Nets should be one of the top teams in the NBA this upcoming season. 

Expected Starting 5: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Brook Lopez

Who They Brought In: Andrea Bargnani, Metta World Peace, Tim Hardaway Jr., C.J. Leslie
Who Left: Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, Steve Novak, Chris Copeland, Quentin Richardson, James White

The Knicks head into 2013-14 with a similar looking core group of players that saw them reach the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals last season.  There's no question that the Knicks roster is littered with talent - headlined by the Eastern Conference's leading scorer Carmelo Anthony - but the question remains can this group make a deep run in the post-season?  So far they have been unable to do so.  They re-signed J.R. Smith, but he will likely miss the beginning of the season as he rehabs from patellar tendon surgery on his knee.  Amar'e Stoudemire will be back and should enter camp as healthy as he can be, though knee problems have cut into his previous two seasons.  Andrea Bargnani will be an interesting fit in New York after he really struggled last season in Toronto.  He has plenty of talent and is not far removed from being a 20 point scorer, but his confidence seemed to leave him last year so we'll see what a new scene will do for the former #1 pick.  Tim Hardaway Jr. was a popular draft pick and he could be a guy who gives the Knicks some punch off the bench.  And adding Metta World Peace should add some toughness and depth to this Knicks team, though his best days are behind him.  Nobody is predicting the Knicks to finish outside the top 5 in the East, but how far they go in the playoffs will be the only way they are judged by seasons end. 

Expected Starting 5: Raymond Felton, Pablo Prigioni, Iman Shumpert, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler

Who They Brought In: Royce White, James Anderson, Tim Olbrecht, Nerlens Noel, Michael Carter-Williams
Who Left: Jrue Holiday, Andrew Bynum, Nick Young
The Sixers were another team who hit the reset button this offseason, dealing all-star point guard Jrue Holiday for #6 overall pick Nerlens Noel and the Pelicans first round pick next year.  It potentially gives the Sixers two lottery picks in what is considered a loaded draft class next offseason.  The Sixers also let Andrew Bynum walk after he never played a game for the team.  The trade for Noel gives the Pelicans arguably the most talented player in the draft and a player who should be an elite rim protector for them for years to come.  He is coming off a serious injury and it remains to be seen how much time he will miss.  Philly used their own first round pick on Syracuse's Michael Carter-Williams who should start at the point from day one.  Carter-Williams was an excellent floor general at Syracuse but needs to improve his shooting at the next level.  Doug Collins resigned after the season and the new head coach is Brett Brown, another Gregg Popovich disciple to get a head coaching job this summer.
Expected Starting 5: Michael Carter- Williams, Evan Turner. Thaddeus Young, Arnett Moultrie, Spencer Hawes

Who They Brought In: Tyler Hansbrough, D.J. Augustin, Steve Novak, Dwight Buycks, Quentin Richardson
Who Left: Andrea Bargnani, Linas Kleiza, Alan Anderson, John Lucas III
The Raptors were one of the few teams in the Eastern Conference to make very few significant changes to their roster.  The biggest offseason change occurred in the front office where Bryan Colangelo is out and his former protege, Masai Ujiri, steps in to lead the organization.  They traded away Bargnani and acquired ace shooter (who Wizards' fans know all too well) Steve Novak from the Knicks.  Novak shot 42% from long distance last year, good for 11th in the NBA.  Tyler Hansbrough will be a solid depth piece in the front court and Buycks and Augustin will compete to be the backup PG behind Kyle Lowry.  Buycks is an unknown at the NBA level, but an interesting guy having led the Summer League in both points and assists, which netted him a contract with the Raptors. 
Expected Starting 5: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Amir Johnson, Jonas Valanciunas

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