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Thread: The Atlantic division is the toughest in the league

  1. #1
    Raptors Republic Superstar Chr1s1anL's Avatar
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    Default The Atlantic division is the toughest in the league

    My name is Christian Lumbeto and I approve this message
    http://www.hoopsworld.com/nba-pm-the...hest-division/

    For much of the past decade, the NBA’s toughest division has been the Southwest. Made up of the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Hornets, the Southwest has seen all five of their teams compete for playoff spots more years than not, and teams in the division have won four championships since the turn of the century. During that time, each team but one had an iconic franchise player behind the scenes, with Tim Duncan in San Antonio, Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas, Yao Ming in Houston, and Chris Paul in New Orleans.

    Times marches on, however, and with injuries claiming Yao, age catching up to Duncan, Nowitzki witnessing the dismemberment of his championship team, and Chris Paul now in LA with the Clippers, the Southwest is no longer the most challenging division in the NBA.

    The 2012-13 NBA champion is likely going to be a team from the Pacific (the Los Angeles Lakers), the Northwest (the Oklahoma City Thunder), the Central (the Chicago Bulls) or the Southeast (Miami HEAT), but none of those divisions is going to be the toughest to compete against next season, either.

    No, the toughest division, in the NBA in 2012-13 is most likely going to be the Atlantic, where all five teams can realistically expect to be in the playoff picture.

    Six months ago it looked like the Boston Celtics might be on their way out, with team president Danny Ainge considering blowing up the team at the trade deadline. When the intact Celtics made it to the Eastern Conference Finals, it became clear that the team’s core group of veterans still had plenty of fight left in them. All but Ray Allen will be back next season, with a much-improved backcourt rotation featuring Jason Terry and Courtney Lee. The Celtics will be deeper and even younger, making them the odds-on favorite to win the toughest division in the NBA.

    The New York Knicks have plenty of star power on their roster, with names like Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and now Jason Kidd leaping off of the game night program, but they still have a lot to prove, especially on the defensive end. Kidd will help that, and reuniting him with fellow Mavericks championship ring bearer Tyson Chandler was a smart move by management, but Kidd doesn’t have much left in the tank and the Knicks need more than two guys committed to playing great defense.

    The most expensive team in the NBA next season will be the Brooklyn Nets; there is no question about that. Either “luxury tax” doesn’t translate into Russian or the team’s new owner simply doesn’t care about the cost of winning. Even with all of the money tied up in Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace, do those four stars make the Nets the team to beat in the East? Truthfully, they may not even have home court advantage in the first round. But they will be a playoff team, and they will also be one of the more interesting teams to watch in 2012-13.

    A couple of weeks ago, the Philadelphia 76ers looked like they might be headed for the lottery. The plan, as they were saying at the time, was to start Kwame Brown and Spencer Hawes in the front court, and that sounded like a recipe for ping pong balls, for sure. Since then, however, the team has acquired Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson and looks more like a team that could challenge for home court advantage. Some things still have to go right, of course, such as Evan Turner taking a significant step forward next season, but at the very least the Sixers are going to be back in the playoffs behind Andrew Bynum’s projected dominance.

    The only team that appears to be on the bubble in the Atlantic is the Toronto Raptors, though by the looks of their roster they should be very much in the mix for the East’s final playoff spot. Kyle Lowry was a brilliant (and highway robbery cheap) addition at point guard, Jonas Valanciunas is expected to have a tremendously positive impact on the team, and a healthy Andrea Bargnani will also be huge for the Raptors. Add to the mix a promising rookie in Terrence Ross, and the NBA’s lone Canadian team looks to be a playoff threat for the foreseeable future.

    Again, the likely NBA champions won’t hail from the Atlantic Division, though one could always step up and surprise us. That said, there is no tougher division in the Atlantic, the only NBA division that could potentially see all five team qualify for postseason play.
    @Chr1st1anL

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    More or less said it all...

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    Super Moderator ReubenJRD's Avatar
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    I totally agree with that overall analysis on the team standings. Although, I believe our ceiling can reach for the 7th spot in my opinion.

    If I may add, other individual players with good summers or whatever, could impact the team more than said.

    - Landry Fields could be a gel guy, that does everything for this team. The extras that don't always show up on the stat sheet. Extras that could impact games for the team.

    - Linas Kleiza, and the very impressive performance he put on in the Olympics, especially against the eventual gold medal winners, Team USA.

    - Demar Derozan, the very active summer with the USA select team - rumour was, he was the top scorer. Although, Jay Triano was the coach of the select team. - and individual workouts in Vegas, Italy, LA, not to mention another dominant summer league performance in the recreational leagues.

    I'm really excited about the development of next year, October 31st has to come now!

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Craiger's Avatar
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    Divisions in the NBA aren't particularily important. Winning your division guarantees you home court and is a tie breaker. You play everyone in your division 4 times, but you play most of the conference 4 times aswell (a few opponents in your conference 3 times, and the opposite conference twice)

    Divisions are much more important in the other major north american sports. Its a rather mild factor in the NBA.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Mediumcore's Avatar
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    Nice find Christian. You always come up with interesting reads.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    Quote Craiger wrote: View Post
    Divisions in the NBA aren't particularily important. Winning your division guarantees you home court and is a tie breaker. You play everyone in your division 4 times, but you play most of the conference 4 times aswell (a few opponents in your conference 3 times, and the opposite conference twice)

    Divisions are much more important in the other major north american sports. Its a rather mild factor in the NBA.
    +1
    "I don't lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation." - Fox Mulder

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    Raptors Republic Starter TheR3dMenace's Avatar
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    A lot has to go right with this certain group of players for the raps to even get a whiff of the 8th seed. I want to be optimistic. I want to see Bargnani take over on the offensive end while being attentive on D and the boards. A quantum leap by Demar on both ends. I want to see Lowry, Fields Valanciunas, Ross be impact players. But my gut tells me this line-up looks destined for the lottery, and without a pick.

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    Super Moderator ReubenJRD's Avatar
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    Quote TheR3dMenace wrote: View Post
    A lot has to go right with this certain group of players for the raps to even get a whiff of the 8th seed. I want to be optimistic. I want to see Bargnani take over on the offensive end while being attentive on D and the boards. A quantum leap by Demar on both ends. I want to see Lowry, Fields Valanciunas, Ross be impact players. But my gut tells me this line-up looks destined for the lottery, and without a pick.
    So you see a more improved, and better talented team being once again in the same position as the past season? If anything, in my opinion of course, if everything fails terribly, I see us missing the playoffs by 4-5 games or so. The individual character of our new guys fits perfectly in what Casey wants from his players.

    Hard working, defensive minded, unselfish, and team first.

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    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer Matt52's Avatar
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    Quote TheR3dMenace wrote: View Post
    A lot has to go right with this certain group of players for the raps to even get a whiff of the 8th seed. I want to be optimistic. I want to see Bargnani take over on the offensive end while being attentive on D and the boards. A quantum leap by Demar on both ends. I want to see Lowry, Fields Valanciunas, Ross be impact players. But my gut tells me this line-up looks destined for the lottery, and without a pick.
    I tend to agree on a lot having to go right.

    what gives me hope is the fist being stronger than any individual finger.... and Casey is the hand bringing it all together.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Axel's Avatar
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    Quote Matt52 wrote: View Post
    the fist being stronger than any individual finger.... and Casey is the hand bringing it all together.
    Casey is the real reason for optimism in my books. Having highly touted rookies entering you line-up is good, but nearly every team feels that they have that. Bringing in Lowry is clearly a big move but everything that the team improves on this year, and moving forward, starts and ends with Coach Casey being the right man for the job. I believe he is and thus am optimistic about the season.
    Whatever you do, do it the best you can

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    Quote Axel wrote: View Post
    Casey is the real reason for optimism in my books. Having highly touted rookies entering you line-up is good, but nearly every team feels that they have that. Bringing in Lowry is clearly a big move but everything that the team improves on this year, and moving forward, starts and ends with Coach Casey being the right man for the job. I believe he is and thus am optimistic about the season.
    +1

    This isn't the most talented team we've ever had...not even close. But I think the reason why we can all realistically think playoffs is because we all saw what Casey could do with arguably one of the least talented and most uninteresting teams we have ever had...and he had to deal with injuries to our best player.

    I'll say this again: our 3-2 western road trip with the back-to-back wins in Utah and Pheonix at the beginning of the year last year was the most impressive thing I've seen the Raptors accomplish since our division winning season...and there was no reason to think heading into the year that we would have a chance

    i think we can all be really excited to see what he can do with a talent level that is at least average

    I guess what I'm saying is...DC for Pres
    Last edited by BallaBalla; Fri Aug 31st, 2012 at 02:09 PM.

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