Culture of Hoops

2012-13 NBA Previews: Atlantic Division

Baller Mind Frame will be doing a series of 2012-13 NBA Previews because, really, what sort of respectable blog focused on the A wouldn’t? Mike Lipinski and DV will share their thoughts, as well as, those from the amazing NBA blogosphere!

Since its inception, DV has been a part of the previews movement led by the awesome Jeff Clark from CelticsBlog. You can find the opinions of other NBA bloggers at the end of BMF’s. Get your read on!

Read all of our Division Previews: AtlanticCentralSoutheast

Mike: 1. Philadelphia 76ers, 2. Boston Celtics, 3. New York Knicks, 4. Brooklyn Nets, 5. Toronto Raptors

DV: 1. Boston Celtics, 2. Brooklyn Nets, 3. Philadelphia 76ers, 4. New York Knicks, 5. Toronto Raptors


Mike: Over the past several years the Boston Celtics have owned this division. However, this year is different. Every team, aside from Toronto of course, has the opportunity to win the Atlantic.

The Philadelphia 76ers have improved with the acquisition of Andrew Bynum. If they can build on last year’s success they have a legit shot at the division crown.

A healthy Brook Lopez paired with Deron Williams and Joe Johnson could propel the Brooklyn Nets into the top spot.

However, it all comes down to New York. If Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony can co-exist, play consistent defense, and Marcus Camby and Jason Kidd find the fountain of youth this will be the Knicks division to lose.

DV: I guess I’m just a sucker for that Celtics aura of greatness. Yeah, The current Big Three includes two old guys, but Rajon Rondo is a game-changer and the additions of Jason Terry and Courtney Lee, as well as a rookie I like in Jared Sullinger, the Celtics are going to be just fine.

The key for the Nets will be to jell as a team as well as stay healthy. The starting five is a great mix of talent and complement each other well. Brook Lopez is as good a low-post center as any, Kris Humphries will get his double-digit fill of boards, Gerald Wallace is the glue guy, and the backcourt of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, two All-Stars, is arguably the best in the A, age considered.

I think this year will prove that Andrew Bynum is indeed fragile. Sure he’s amazing when healthy as he was last season, but I don’t believe in his ability to stay durable. Look at his history. Because of that, I have the Sixers not doing as well.

The Knicks need to blow up this project of Melo and STAT co-existing. I don’t know how, but it’s not working. Tell me what their record is when they play together. It’s easily under .500. They just don’t fit together. Raymond Felton won’t succeed as he did previously because the ball won’t move as quickly, or at all when Melo has the ball.

I like the Toronto Raptors and want to see Jonas Valanciunas can do on the court. However, it’s a really young team and in obvious build-up mode. There’s some nice talent there, but not enough to stay out of the cellar.

Team on the Rise:

Mike: Philadelphia 76ers

Young and talented this team will be good for years. Bynum clogging the middle, Jason Richardson on the outside, and Nick Young off the bench this team is deep.

DV: Brooklyn Nets

Let’s be real. The team absolutely stunk last season and for that very reason, the Nets have to take this spot. New building. New uniforms. A ton of new personnel. Most of all, a new attitude, and it all spells a team rising up.

Team on the Decline:

Mike: Boston Celtics

They had a great run but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Ray Allen is gone, Paul Pierce is getting older, and Kevin Garnett is on his way out. Rondo is a stud but when your best player can’t hit up a jump shot there is something wrong.

DV: New York Knicks

Let’s face it, this team has been in decline since trading away a bunch of solid players that fit well together for essentially one player, Carmelo Anthony. Without a quick burst of Linsanity, where would the team have been last season? Of course, they waved goodbye to Jeremy Lin and settled on getting old with Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, and soon, Rasheed Wallace. Bring out the wheelchairs.

Division MVP

Mike: Andrew Bynum

When healthy he is a force in the paint. His number’s were impressive last year in a center strong Western Conference. Behemoths Marc Gasol, Dwight Howard, and Kevin Love remain in the West. Bynum will feast on the East’s centers.

DV: Deron Williams

He’s already considered a top ten player in the league and for the first time since joining the Nets, D-Will will finally have some good talent around him. If he can lead the Brooklyn franchise to a top-half seed in the playoffs, Williams may not only be the division MVP, he’d get solid consideration for league MVP.

Other Players to Watch

Mike: Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams, Amar’e Stoudemire, Joe Johnson, Rajon Rondo, and DeMar DeRozan

DV: Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, Andrew Bynum, Jrue Holiday, Amar’e Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, Jonas Valanciunas, Kyle Lowry

Storylines to Watch

Mike: Will Melo and Amar’e finally play well together? How does Andrew Bynum impact the 76ers? Do the Celtics have one last run in them?

DV: The chemistry issue between STAT and Melo is obviously the biggest one to keep an eye on. I think Bynum will be fine when he plays, but the storyline to watch in Philly is how will Evan Turner evolve now that Andre Iguodala is gone? Turner has a lot of talent and is probably the best rebounding two-guard too, so can he justify his second overall selection? Will Jonas Valanciunas be worth the wait for the Raps? Will there be a point guard controversy in the T-Dot between Lowry and Jose Calderon? That is, until Calderon is traded. How will Rondo do as he transitions to being “the guy” in Boston? Can they go on another title run? Will Lopez establish himself as one of the better centers in the league by averaging 20 points a game again?

NBA Blogosphere Atlantic Division Previews

Boston Celtics: CelticsBlog | Celtics Green | CLNS Radio

Brooklyn Nets: Nets Daily | Baller Mind Frame | Atlantic Twine

New York Knicks: Posting and Toasting

Philadelphia 76ers: Liberty Ballers

Toronto Raptors: Raptors HQ

Read all of our Division Previews: AtlanticCentralSoutheast

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