Monday, October 27, 2008

NBA Preview; Atlantic Division

Boston Celtics
Coach: Doc Rivers
Projected Finish: 60-22
Projected Starters
C – Kendrick Perkins (6.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.5bpg)
PF – Kevin Garnett (18.8 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 1.2bpg)
SF – Paul Pierce (19.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 4.5 apg)
SG – Ray Allen (17.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.1 apg)
PG – Rajon Rondo (10.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 5.1 apg)
Key Reserves
G-Eddie House (7.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.9 apg)
F-Leon Powe (7.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 0.3 bpg)
The reigning NBA Champs are still the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. They will miss the defense and clutch shooting of James Posey, who signed a free agent contract with the New Orleans Hornets. Boston is helping that rookie swing man Bill Walker can help fill the void that Posey's absence has created.

Philadelphia 76ers
Coach: Mo Cheeks
Projected Finish: 52-30
Projected Starters
C –Samuel Dalembert (10.5 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 2.3 bpg)
PF – Elton Brand (17.6 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.9 bpg)
SF –Thaddeus Young (8.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 0.8 apg)
SG –Andre Iguodala (19.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 4.8 apg)
PG – Andre Miller (17.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 6.9 apg)
Key Reserves
G- Louis Williams ( 11.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 3.2 apg)
C- Theo Ratliff ( 4.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.4 bpg)
The acquisition of forward Elton Brand, has made the Sixers the hot pick in the East for the upcoming season. Questions on center Samuel Dalembert's health remain an issue, as he has a shoulder strain which has bothered him all preseason. Theo Ratliff is incredibly happy to be back in Philadelphia, but what does he have left in the tank? The Sixers challenged the Detroit Pistons big time in the first round of the Eastern Conference Finals. The addition of Brand now puts them in elite staus in the Eastern Conference.

Toronto Raptors
Coach: Sam Mitchell
Projected Finish: 48-34
Projected Starters
C – Jermaine O'Neal (13.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 2.1 bpg)
PF – Chris Bosh (22.3 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 1.0 bpg)
SF – Jamario Moon (8.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.2 apg)
SG – Anthony Parker (12.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.2 apg)
PG – Jose Calderon (11.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 8.3 apg)
Key Reserves
C/F- Andrea Bargnani (10.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg. 0.5 bpg)
F- Kris Humphries (5.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 0.4 bpg)
The Raptors decided that Jose Calderon, would be their team's starting point guard, so T.J. Ford proved to be expendable. In a trade that should help both teams Toronto traded Ford to the Indiana Pacers for disgruntled big man Jermaine O'Neal. O'Neal should be part of a very strong front court alongside Chris Bosh. Calderon, and Anthony Parker, make up for one of the better back courts in the Association. With Bargnani coming off the bench Sam Mitchell has instant offense coming off the bench.

New Jersey Nets
Coach: Lawrence Frank
Projected Finish: 30-52
Projected Starters
C – Josh Boone (8.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 0.9 bpg)
PF – Yi Jianlian (8.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 0.9 bpg)
SF – Bobby Simmons (7.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.1 apg)
SG – Vince Carter (21.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 5.1 apg)
PG – Derin Harris (10.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 3.7 apg)
Key Reserves
G- Keyon Dooling (8.1 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 1.8 apg)
F/C- Stromile Swift (6.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.0 bpg)
The New Jersey Nets remind me of one of my favorite bits from the Late Great George Carlin. He talked about discovering something in your refrigerator that you could not identify. Is it meat or is it cake? It's meat-cake! The Nets are not a contending team, nor really a rebuilding team, they are meat-cake. It will be a long cold winter at the Izod Center.

New York Knicks
Coach: Mike D'Antoni
Projected Finish: 27-55
Projected Starters
C – Zach Randolph (17.6 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 0.2 bpg)
PF – David Lee (10.8 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 0.4 bpg)
SF – Quentin Richardson (8.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.8 apg)
SG – Chris Duhon (5.8 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 4.0 apg)
PG – Jamal Crawford (20.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 5.0 apg)
Key Reserves
G- Nate Robinson (12.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.9 apg)
G- Stephon Marbury (13.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 4.7 apg)
The good news is the New York Knicks may have already bottomed out. The bad news is it may take eons for this team to reach sea level. The "Zeke Era" is over in Gotham but it is going to take Team President Donnie Walsh, and new head coach Mike D'Antoni, lots of time and lots of effort to make the Knicks respectable again. Starting lineup is still in flux, Marbury could end up being the starter at point. If you look at the Knicks as individual players, there is talent on the roster. But when it is combined they become one of the most dysfunctional families in the Association.

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