Just a week before the NBA is back in business, so it's time to preview one of the most well-rounded divisions in the L, the Atlantic. There were a lot of offseason moves here, so let's dive right into it.
We begin with the hometown 76ers, who are looking to improve on their surprise run to game 7 of the conference semifinals. Even if DRose and his untimely knee injury helped get them there, they played great basketball and still nearly got past the Celtics to the ECF. With a lot of good basketball to build on, they snuck in and managed to land Andrew Bynum, the best center outside of Dwight Howard, who conveniently switched conferences (If you're about to say something about Brook Lopez, shut up. Just shut up). So the Sixers have the best center in a conference really lacking in big men. That's a huge start. Hopefully his paper maiche knees hold up long enough for him to average 22 and 13. Swaggy P is also in town, so the off-court antics are covered. If Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday make good on the big development we're supposed to see from them, expect the Sixers to fight for the top of the Atlantic Division.
Next stop, Beantown. What more can be said about Boston? The huge storyline for them is Shuttlesworth jumping ship to Miami. Between an apparent beef with Rondo, and the fact that they've tried to trade him for 2 years now, that wasn't that surprising. It's officially Rondo's team, with KG and Pierce serving as the compliments. Bringing in Jason Terry, getting Jeff Green back, Brandon Bass coming into his own, and Avery Bradley back at some point, the C's are a very solid team, and you can't count them out with Doc at the helm. They will most likely be the biggest challengers to Miami for the Eastern crown. Whether they stick to their routine of late of coasting into the playoffs and turning it on is still to be determined. But expect Rondo to play out of his mind, KG to just be completely out of his mind, and Pierce to keep doin his thing.
Further down the Eastern seaboard, we find the now-crowded city of New York. Kudos for the NBA for scheduling them to play their first game head-to-head in the house that HOVA built. The Knicks are the oldest team in NBA history. That is pretty wild. Offseason transactions include bringing back Rasheed Wallace, for whom there is not enough time in the day to talk about, Kurt Thomas, Raymond fatty Felton, and Jason Kidd's drunk ass. That is an unbelievable haul. Melo must be hyped. Oh, and Amare is already out with knee troubles? Looks like another great opportunity for Carmelo to exit the first round of the playoffs with the ball parked firmly in his hands on the wing.
But what of the fancy new Brooklyn Nets? They managed to avoid the complete offseason disaster that would have been losing Deron Williams, and actually managed to go grab Iso Joe Johnson from the ATL. The Gerald Wallace trade was fucking stupid, but that's long done now. Between Williams, Johnson, MarShon Brooks, Kardashian, CJ Watson and Brook Lopez, they have a half-decent team. Not one that's going to remotely challenge for a championship, but one that should be entertaining enough for all the BK hipsters. Expect a hard-fought first-round exit. Anything less and Prokhorov will have them thrown in the gulags. And I don't want to dwell on the subject, but how the fuck is Brook Lopez getting so highly rated? I know Shaq is just trying to be a douche saying he's better than Dwight, which I can respect, but is the league that devoid of centers that this guy is on a max deal?! Brook Lopez! Unbelievable.
Last but not least, the Raptors. Some solid players in the mix with Calderon, DeRozan, Valaciunas, and Lowry, but I don't see them improving too much on last years 0.35 winning percentage, especially with the big steps the rest of the division has made. They won't be Charlotte bad for sure, but definitely in the bottom 5 of the Eastern Conference.