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Sunday, August 12, 2012

2012 ATLANTIC DIVISION PREVIEW


Each team in the division made some major moves during this off season and each team should be improved from a year ago.  Below, I take a look at the current state of each team heading into the 2012-13 season.

BOSTON CELTICS

BREAKDOWN

The Celtics have quietly injected youth into their aging team.  Ray Allen is out but Courtney Lee is in.  They used youngsters JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore & Sean Williams to acquire Lee from Houston and successfully replaced them with Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo & Kris Joseph.  Jeff Green returns after a one year layoff and Jason Terry brings more championship experience from Dallas.  Boston boasts a formidable starting five while having a nice mix of veterans and exciting young players off the bench.  The Celtics appear to have saved themselves the prospect of rebuilding yet still have the firepower to contend next season while also bringing in some high ceiling talent to develop.

CURRENT ROSTER
  • Brandon Bass (27) - PF
  • Avery Bradley (21) - G
  • Dionte Christmas (25) - SG
  • Jason Collins (33) - C
  • Keyon Dooling (32) - PG
  • Kevin Garnett (36) - F/C
  • Jeff Green (25) - PF
  • Kris Joseph (23) - SF
  • Courtney Lee (26) - SG
  • Fab Melo (22) - C
  • Paul Pierce (34) - G/F
  • Rajon Rondo (26) - PG
  • Jamar Smith (25) - SG
  • Jared Sullinger (20) - F/C
  • Jason Terry (34) - SG
  • Chris Wilcox (29) - F/C
PROJECTED DEPTH CHART
  • C - Garnett, Wilcox, Melo, Collins
  • PF - Bass, Green, Sullinger
  • SF - Pierce, Joseph
  • SG - Lee, Terry, Smith, Christmas
  • PG - Rondo, Bradley, Dooling
PLAYERS ARRIVING
  • Dionte Christmas - Rethymno (Greece)
  • Jason Collins - ATL
  • Jeff Green - DNP/Injured
  • Kris Joseph - Syracuse
  • Courtney Lee - HOU
  • Fab Melo - Syracuse
  • Jamar Smith - Prostejov (Czech Republic)
  • Jared Sullinger - Ohio State
  • Jason Terry - DAL
  • Chris Wilcox - BOS (waived in March)
PLAYERS LEAVING
  • Ray Allen - MIA
  • Marquis Daniels - FA
  • Ryan Hollins - LAC
  • JaJuan Johnson - HOU
  • E'Twaun Moore - FA
  • Sasha Pavlovic - POR
  • Mickael Pietrus - FA
  • Greg Stiemsma - MIN
  • Sean Williams - HOU
FUTURE DRAFT PICKS ACQUIRED
  • 2013 2nd rd pick from MIN
  • 2013 2nd rd pick from OKC (only if pick is between 31-46)
  • 2014 2nd rd pick from BRK
  • 2015 2nd rd pick from SAC (top 55 protected)
  • 2017 2nd rd pick from SAC (top 55 protected)
FUTURE DRAFT PICKS OWED
  • 2013 2nd rd pick to HOU
RIGHTS HELD
  • None
BROOKLYN NETS

BREAKDOWN

Well, Dwight Howard won't be in Brooklyn but the Nets were smart enough to realize it early and make some drastic changes to their roster.  The trades for Deron Williams & Gerald Wallace were vindicated when both re-signed and bringing back Brook Lopez & Kris Humphries was another huge positive.  They also picked up Joe Johnson and his monstrous contract from Atlanta but did so by giving up no one of real consequence.  It might not be sexy but every one of the Nets starting five could have potentially been playing somewhere else next year.  MarShon Brooks now becomes a sixth man candidate and the bench in general will be greatly improved.  Veterans Reggie Evans & C.J. Watson will provide good production while Euro-tested Mirza Teletovic will surprise Nets fans with his agressive style and scoring ability.  Brooklyn still needs to find a solid backup center to fill out their bench and give them insurance in case Lopez can't stay healthy.  Gerald Green is the one player that Brooklyn might miss coming off the bench next year as he heads to Indiana.  Looking forward Brooklyn has been able to field a contending team in the East while holding on to all those future first round picks which they'll need to add talent moving forward due to the huge money tied up in their starters.  Bojan Bogdanovic sits on the horizon as well although it may still be two years before he dons a Brooklyn jersey.

CURRENT ROSTER
  • Keith Bogans (32) - SG
  • MarShon Brooks (23) - SG
  • Reggie Evans (32) - PF
  • Kris Humphries (27) - PF
  • Joe Johnson (31) - SG
  • Brook Lopez (24) - C
  • Tornike Shengilia (20) - F
  • Jerry Stackhouse (37) - G/F
  • Tyshawn Taylor (22) - PG
  • Mirza Teletovic (26) - F
  • Gerald Wallace (29) - SF
  • C.J. Watson (28) - G
  • Deron Williams (28) - PG
PROJECTED DEPTH CHART
  • C - Lopez
  • PF - Humphries, Evans, Teletovic
  • SF - Wallace, Shengelia, Stackhouse
  • SG - Johnson, Brooks, Bogans
  • PG - Williams, Watson, Taylor
PLAYERS ARRIVING
  • Reggie Evans - LAC
  • Joe Johnson - ATL
  • Tornike Shengelia - Spirou (Belgium)
  • Jerry Stackhouse - ATL
  • Tyshawn Taylor - Kansas
  • Mirza Teletovic - Caja Laboral (Spain)
  • C.J. Watson - CHI
PLAYERS LEAVING
  • Jordan Farmar - Anadolu Efes (Turkey)
  • Sundiata Gaines - FA
  • Gerald Green - IND
  • Damion James - FA
  • Armon Johnson - FA
  • Anthony Morrow - ATL
  • Johan Petro - ATL
  • DeShawn Stevenson - ATL
  • Shelden Williams - FA
FUTURE DRAFT PICKS ACQUIRED
  • None
FUTURE DRAFT PICKS OWED
  • 2013 2nd rd pick to MIN
  • 2014 2nd rd pick to BOS
  • 2015 2nd rd pick to UTH
  • 2016 2nd rd pick to LAC (LAC has right to swap picks if their own is b/w 31-55)
  • 2017 2nd rd pick to ATL

RIGHTS HELD
  • Bojan Bogdanovic (23) - G/F - Fenerbahce (Turkey)
  • Christian Drejer (29) - F - last played in 2010
  • Ilkan Karaman (22) - F - Galatasaray (Turkey)
NEW YORK KNICKS

BREAKDOWN

The big story of the off season was the Knicks letting Jeremy Lin go to the Houston Rockets.  It's certainly debatable on whether or not it was the right move but New York is moving on.  Along with Lin, point guards Mike Bibby and Baron Davis are also out.  Raymond Felton returns from Portland, Jason Kidd arrives from Dallas and Argentine olympian Pablo Prigioni arrives from Spain.  Marcus Camby & Kurt Thomas are also former Knicks who will help solidify the bench behind Tyson Chandler.  Ronnie Brewer likely will take over the starting 2 guard spot while Iman Shumpert recovers from knee surgery.  Steve Novak & J.R. Smith are back and J.R. brought his brother Chris from Louisville with him.  The high-flying James White will provide some excitement off the bench while Chris Copeland, if he sticks, could provide the big scoring that made him the MVP of Belgium's Ethias League last year.  New York dumped many of it's younger players to acquire a much needed veteran presence and health will be a major concern for next year's team.  The bigger concern is whether or not Hakeem Olajuwon can help Amar'e Stoudemire rebound from a quiet year.  The division will be a lot tougher from a year ago and the Knicks will need everyone to click right away.

CURRENT ROSTER
  • Carmelo Anthony (28) - SF
  • Ronnie Brewer (27) - G/F
  • Marcus Camby (38) - C
  • Tyson Chandler (29) - C
  • Chris Copeland (28) - F
  • Raymond Felton (26) - PG
  • Jason Kidd (39) - PG
  • Steve Novak (29) - PF
  • Pablo Prigioni (35) - PG
  • Iman Shumpert (22) - SG
  • Chris Smith (24) - G
  • J.R. Smith (26) - SG
  • Amare Stoudemire (29) - PF
  • Kurt Thomas (39) - F/C
  • James White (29) - G/F
PROJECTED DEPTH CHART
  • C - Chandler, Camby, Thomas
  • PF - Stoudemire, Novak, Copeland
  • SF - Anthony, White
  • SG - Brewer, J. Smith, C. Smith, Shumpert
  • PG - Felton, Kidd, Prigioni
PLAYERS ARRIVING
  • Ronnie Brewer - CHI
  • Marcus Camby - HOU
  • Chris Copeland - Aalstar (Belgium)
  • Raymond Felton - POR
  • Jason Kidd - DAL
  • Pablo Prigioni - Caja Laboral (Spain)
  • Chris Smith - Louisville
  • Kurt Thomas - POR
  • James White - Pesaro (Italy)
PLAYERS LEAVING
  • Mike Bibby - FA
  • Baron Davis - FA
  • Toney Douglas - HOU
  • Landry Fields - TOR
  • Dan Gadzuric - FA
  • Josh Harrelson - HOU
  • Jared Jeffries - POR
  • Jerome Jordan - FA
  • Jeremy Lin - HOU
FUTURE DRAFT PICKS ACQUIRED
  • 2014 2nd rd pick from SAC (top 55 protected)
FUTURE DRAFT PICKS OWED
  • 2013 2nd rd pick to WAS
  • 2014 1st rd pick to DEN
  • 2014 2nd rd pick to HOU
  • 2015 2nd rd pick to HOU
  • 2016 1st rd pick to DEN (DEN has right to swap picks)
  • 2016 2nd rd pick to POR (top 37 protected)
RIGHTS HELD
  • Ahmad Nivins (25) - F - played for Mons-Hainaut (Belgium) last year
PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

BREAKDOWN

The Sixers were being questioned as to what direction they were heading after letting Lou Williams go to Atlanta and amnestying Elton Brand.  They had brought in Nick Young, Dorell Wright & Kwame Brown but that still seemed to be a downgrade.  Andre Iguodala was still the 'star' of a team that's had success but likely would never get over the hump.  Enter Andrew Bynum.  Philly suddenly became instant contenders in a day by throwing themselves into the Dwight Howard trade.  Obviously, it won't be that simple and they are a relatively young team but the future certainly seems brighter now on Broad Street.  After years of Iguodala rumors, the Olympian was finally sent off to Denver.  Bynum now becomes the superstar and highlights a group with huge potential.  Jrue Holiday is an emerging point guard.  Evan Turner has been inconsistent but has shown flashes of why he was the number 2 pick.  Thaddeus Young has a high ceiling but the team needs to determine whether he's going to be a SF or PF going forward.  Lavoy Allen showed flashes during the playoffs that he was a 2nd round steal a year ago.  Arnett Moultrie is the next raw developmental big man that Philly hopes can become what Marreese Speights did not.  They even plucked summer league sensation and hometown kid Maalik Wayns to possibly contend for the backup point guard spot.  The addition of Jason Richardson will give the Sixers another 3 point threat off the bench and will help spread the floor when paired with Bynum.  Philly certainly will miss the leadership and perimeter defending of Iguodala but the excitement is back with Bynum in town.  They'll be a very entertaining team to watch and we'll just pretend the looming free agency of Bynum & Holiday doesn't exist for now.

CURRENT ROSTER
  • Lavoy Allen (23) - PF
  • Kwame Brown (30) - F/C
  • Andrew Bynum (24) - C
  • Spencer Hawes (24) - C
  • Jrue Holiday (22) - PG
  • Royal Ivey (30) - G
  • Arnett Moultrie (21) - F/C
  • Jason Richardson (31) - SG
  • Evan Turner (23) - G/F
  • Maalik Wayns (21) - PG
  • Dorell Wright (26) - SF
  • Nick Young (27) - SG
  • Thaddeus Young (24) - F
PROJECTED DEPTH CHART
  • C - Bynum, Moultrie
  • PF - Hawes, Brown, Allen
  • SF - Turner, T. Young, Wright
  • SG - N. Young, Richardson
  • PG - Holiday, Wayns, Ivey
PLAYERS ARRIVING
  • Kwame Brown - MIL
  • Andrew Bynum - LAL
  • Royal Ivey - OKC
  • Arnett Moultrie - Mississippi State
  • Jason Richardson - ORL
  • Maalik Wayns - Villanova
  • Dorell Wright - GS
  • Nick Young - LAC
PLAYERS LEAVING
  • Tony Battie - FA
  • Elton Brand - DAL
  • Andre Iguodala - DEN
  • Jodie Meeks - LAL
  • Xavier Silas - FA
  • Nikola Vucevic - ORL
  • Lou Williams - ATL
  • Sam Young - FA
FUTURE DRAFT PICKS ACQUIRED
  • 2013 2nd rd pick from NO
FUTURE DRAFT PICKS OWED
  • 2013 1st rd pick to MIA (top 14 protected through 2015)
  • 2015 1st rd pick to ORL (top 14 protected through 2016, top 11 in 17, top 8 in 18)
RIGHTS HELD
  • None
TORONTO RAPTORS

BREAKDOWN

The Raptors weren't able to lure Steve Nash to Toronto and everyone else in the division seemed to make a big splash this off season but the Raptors certainly will be improved next year.  They gave up next year's number one pick to bring in point guard Kyle Lowry & they overpaid Landry Fields in a backfire move to keep Nash off the Knicks.  Both moves were questionable but both moves will make the Raptors better now.  Last year's 5th overall pick Jonas Valanciunas joins the team as well. Valanciunas has been racking up accolades in Europe including the Lithuanian league player of the year award plus a gold medal & MVP honors in the FIBA U19 world championships last year in Latvia.  He was also a member of Team Lithuania at this year's Olympics and is a likely Rookie of the Year candidate for the 2012-13 season.  Toronto also brings in Terrence Ross, the number 8 pick in this year's draft, who has potential to be the starting SG or SF by the end of the year.  The Raptors still may be last in the Atlantic come the end of next year but they certainly have a foundation to build on going forward with a young nucleus of high ceiling players.

CURRENT ROSTER
  • Quincy Acy (21) - F
  • Alan Anderson (29) - SF
  • Andrea Bargnani (26) - F/C
  • Jose Calderon (30) - PG
  • Ed Davis (23) - F/C
  • DeMar DeRozan (22) - G/F
  • Landry Fields (24) - SG
  • Aaron Gray (27) - C
  • Amir Johnson (25) - PF
  • Linas Kleiza (27) - SF
  • Kyle Lowry (26) - PG
  • John Lucas III (31) - PG
  • Terrence Ross (21) - G/F
  • Jonas Valanciunas (20) - F/C
PROJECTED DEPTH CHART
  • C - Bargnani, Davis, Gray
  • PF - Valanciunas, Johnson, Acy
  • SF - Kleiza, Ross, Anderson
  • SG - DeRozan, Fields
  • PG - Lowry, Calderon, Lucas
PLAYERS ARRIVING
  • Quicy Acy - Baylor
  • Landry Fields - NY
  • Kyle Lowry - HOU
  • John Lucas III - CHI
  • Terrence Ross - Washington
  • Jonas Valanciunas - Lietuvos Rytas (Lithuania)
PLAYERS LEAVING
  • Solomon Alabi - FA
  • Gary Forbes - HOU
  • James Johnson - SAC
  • Jamaal Magloire - FA
  • Ben Uzoh - FA
FUTURE DRAFT PICKS ACQUIRED
  • None
FUTURE DRAFT PICKS OWED
  • 2013 1st rd pick to HOU (top 3 protected, top 2 in 14/15, top 1 in 16/17 )
  • 2016 2nd rd pick to MEM
RIGHTS HELD
  • DeeAndre Hulett (31) - F - last played in 2010
  • Tomislav Zubcic (22) - F/C - Cibona (Croatia) 

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