Culture of Hoops

2013-14 NBA Season Preview: Atlantic Division

Atlantic: Celtics | Nets | Knicks | 76ers | Raptors | Division Preview 1 and 2
Central: Bulls | Cavaliers | Pistons | Pacers | Bucks | Division Preview
Southeast: Hawks | Bobcats | Heat | Magic | Wizards | Division Preview
Pacific: Warriors | Clippers | Lakers | Suns | Kings | Division Preview
Northwest: Nuggets | Timberwolves | Thunder | Trail Blazers | Jazz | Division Preview
Southwest: Mavericks | Rockets | Grizzlies | Pelicans | Spurs | Division Preview
Top 10 by Position: PG | SG | SF | PF | C
Top 10 Lists: Sixth Men | Sophomores | X-Factors | Intensity | Under 25 | Comeback | GMs | Europeans | Overrated | Contenders | Wild Predictions
Fantasy Basketball | NBA Fandom Games | League Preview | Ultimate Season Predictions
Media Day: Lakers | Clippers | Kings | Knicks | Bucks | Suns | Pacers



Evan Turissini: Carmelo Anthony. Whereas Deron Williams now has a supporting cast that could carry him to the playoffs if he lost both legs and played on a pair of stumps for the entire season, Melo needs to put his team on his shoulders, especially with J.R. Smith’s injury.

Mister King: Carmelo Anthony. He’s the man in New York City. There are some big names in town and a few players that could give him a run, Deron Williams for instance, but Melo is in a system that needs him playing epic basketball. He delivers and this season he knows his championship window is closing. He wants that ring and I feel he’s finally ready to round his game out in order to win it.

Dennis Velasco (DV): Carmelo Anthony. I actually dislike the guy for many reasons, which I won’t get into, but you have to give props where they are due. Since the Brooklyn Nets will be packed with talent, the player I’d want to give this to, Deron Williams, will have his value diluted. Melo is unquestionably the top dog of his team and as he goes, the team goes.


Turissini: God, if only Landry Fields hadn’t already fallen off, my life would be so much easier. I’ll take Paul Pierce for 400, Alex. Sure, he’ll do fine in a supporting role, much like Ray Ray did on the Heat, but he will no longer be the force he was on the Celtics.

King: Paul Pierce. I love the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free. I could go with Kevin Garnett, but he’s found his niche as a system rebounder and his mid-range jump shot is still on. Luckily for Paul Pierce he won’t have to be the focal point of the Brooklyn Nets offense, but he’s lost a step and it will show when he’s trying to keep up with these youngsters.

DV: Unfortunately, but in a sense, fortunately as well – Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Can the duo still ball? I believe so. However, joining a group of three NBA All-Star caliber type of players in Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez, it’s almost a given that numbers will go down. It’s a good thing though when you consider that they will need to play less (talent on the Nets bench as well in Jason Terry, Andrei Kirilenko, Andray Blatche to name a few) and save their strength for playoffs. While Pierce and Garnett will play less minutes and subsequently produce less, it’s about the postseason results, not the regular season.


Turissini: Evan Turissini the Celtics fan says, “Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, and Jeff Green, please.” But in reality, I like Iman Shumpert. There’s a power vacuum on the Knicks for people to help out Carmelo, and I know just the (I)man to fill it. Oh ho ho!

King: Jeff Green. With the old regime out of Beantown and a new era ushered in, Jeff Green has become an elder statesman on the Boston Celtics. It will still be Rajon Rondo’s car to drive, but Green will be looked for scoring and overall star quality. He has the skill and now he has the space and opportunity. Green means Go.

DV: It has to be Jeff Green. Since the departure of Pierce and Garnett, it’s all about Rajon Rondo for the Celtics, but wait… he may not play for a while. Therefore, this will be Green’s opportunity to take the reins of the franchise and see how far he can take them. Although, I’m fairly sure that Danny Ainge doesn’t want it to go too far. They need to pick high in the lottery, if not actually win it all at the NBA Draft Lottery and secure the first pick AKA Andrew Wiggins.


Turissini: N-E-T-S NETS NETS NETS. With the Giants losing to the Cowboys, and the Yankees having the snot beaten out of them by the Sox, Rays, and Orioles, it’s up to Brooklyn to bring the winning tradition back to the Big Apple this season. Ironically, they will do it with Boston’s muscle. Look, this team was fourth in the East last season, and basically just merged with team that came in seventh place. It may not be enough to catch the Heat, but it is enough to beat down the Knicks.

King: New York Knicks. I’m no fair weather fan, but the Knicks are the defending Atlantic Division champs and until somebody takes that spot, they deserve the right to be called the best team. Yeah, the Brooklyn Nets have stacked up and brought in some heavy hitters, but I think the Knicks offseason moves went a little under-rated and that’s a good thing for the Bockers. Iman Shumpert will be coming into his own and with a healthy Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton (with healthy thumbs), the Knicks will be ready to defend the title. Oh yeah, the Beno Udrih acquisition is a win.

DV: The Brooklyn Nets because of their ridiculous depth. Yes, there will be chemistry issues to start the season, but it seems like all of the players are willing to do what needs to be done in order to win. It helps tremendously when one of those players is KG because he’s one of the best leaders the NBA has ever seen and everyone will fall in line and follow his lead. The only worry for the Nets, other than injury but that can be said for all teams, is how quickly Jason Kidd adapts to coaching in a suit on the bench as opposed to in an uniform on the court.


Turissini: For some reason, I have an image of the Sixers front office doing keg stands over a lottery ball machine in a back room of the Wells Fargo Center, chanting “TANK! TANK! TANK! TANK!” This team traded an all-star point guard for a guy that the Phoenix Suns looked at and said, “Ehhh, we’ll take our chances with Alex Len.” They are gunning for Wiggins, and they’ve got a great chance at him.

King: Philadelphia 76ers. Where is Allen Iverson when you need him? Even adding the Answer to the mix still leaves too many questions to see any potential of this team making any noise this year. Their best player is arguably Thaddeus Young. Evan Turner looks like he’s hit his ceiling (which wasn’t looking that high to begin with) and the top draft pick they traded their NBA All-Star point guard for will be in street clothes for who knows how long. Somewhere Andre Iguodala is smiling because he’s not there anymore. Lottery time!

DV: The Philadelphia 76ers traded away a young NBA All-Star in Jrue Holiday, essentially for a young injured center, Nerlens Noel. Sure, the draft pick is nice too, but how do you trade an established player for the unknown like that? Haven’t the Sixers suffered enough with an injured center? Do they even remember Andrew Bynum? If not, who can blame them? He never sniffed the court for the franchise. But, I guess if you’re going to rebuild, you go for broke.


Turissini: Nets and Knicks will battle for the top, the Sixers and Raptors will battle for the bottom, and the Celtics will be stupid middle child for a while, doing absolutely nothing special. Sigh.

King: It’s going to be a bumpy ride. There is a lot of inner story lines going on with all the movement within the division. It will have two of the better teams in the Eastern Conference in the Knicks and Brooklyn Nets.  The rivalry was already heated but now it’s boiling over. The Boston Celtics are counted out by many but Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green may have something to say about that. The Toronto Raptors will have a full season with their star Rudy Gay and a young, explosive roster with Demar Derozen, Terrence Ross, and Jonas Valančiūnas. I see it being very competitive for the division crown, and The Atlantic could slip three, or maybe four teams into the playoffs, just not the Philadelphia 76ers.

DV: The fight for the division may as well be called The Battle of New York as the Knicks and Nets are clearly the better teams in the division due to offseason activity. Feel bad for the Sixers and Raptors. Don’t feel bad for the Celtics, however because they’ve got the most titles in the history of the NBA. Plus, they seem smart enough to turn things around quickly in the next couple of seasons. Man, do I hate them!

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