With the start of the NBA season right around the corner, we are going to start looking at each division. We’ll take a look at every team in that division and then provide a prediction as to who will win the division. First up is the Eastern Conference- NBA Atlantic Division. All odds listed are from BetOnline.
Odds to win Division: +140
Season Win Total: 50.5
Key Losses: Ray Allen, Mickael Pietrus
Key Newcomers: Jeff Green, Jason Terry, Jared Sullinger, Courtney Lee, Fab Melo
The Celtics once again start the season as the favorite in the Atlantic Division. Ray Allen left for Miami, but the Celtics return most of the core of their team from last year. Getting Jeff Green back will help the team have a lot more versatility in the frontcourt. Sullinger fits into the system very well. Rajon Rondo is probably the MVP of this division because of his skills. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are obviously not what they used to be, so the younger guys will need to carry more of the load. The Celtics must get back to playing great defense, something that they didn’t do as much last season.
Odds to win Division: +200
Season Win Total: 47
Key Losses: Jeremy Lin, Landry Fields, Toney Douglas
Key Newcomers: Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, Raymond Felton
The Knicks were one of the bigger disappointments in the NBA last year. They did end up sneaking into the playoffs, but for all the hype about Carmelo and Amar’e playing together, it wasn’t a good year. Mike Woodson seems to be an upgrade at the coaching position, if for no other reason than he actually makes the team play some defense. Team chemistry was an issue last year, and that will need to improve this season. Jeremy Lin was let go, but the team did pick up Jason Kidd and Ray Felton at the point guard spot. Marcus Camby is still a great defender, and teamed with Tyson Chandler the Knicks will have a very good interior defense. This team has the potential, but they’ll have to prove it on the court.
Odds to win Division: +300
Season Win Total: 44.5
Key Losses: Gerald Green, Anthony Morrow
Key Newcomers: Joe Johnson, Andray Blatche, Tyshawn Taylor
The long-awaited move to Brooklyn is finally here. The team has clearly upgraded in a big way after last year’s 22-44 campaign. A healthy Brook Lopez would go a long way toward making this team competitive. Joe Johnson was one of the biggest offseason acquisitions, and he should take some pressure off Deron Williams in the backcourt. Williams is one of the top three or four point guards in the NBA, and he should be a great leader for this team going forward. Gerald Wallace is a defensive leader, and Andray Blatche gives the team much improved depth in the frontcourt. This team’s youth and high-energy style will definitely be fun to watch this year.
Odds to win Division: +390
Season Win Total: 45.5
Key Losses: Andre Iguodala, Lou Williams, Elton Brand, Jodie Meeks
Key Newcomers: Andrew Bynum, Jason Richardson, Nick Young
Few teams in the NBA saw a bigger turnover in their roster over the offseason than the Philadelphia 76ers did. Andre Iguodala had been a fan-favorite for years, but he was part of the huge trade that brought in Andrew Bynum. There is little doubt that this team will look completely different this year. Doug Collins did a great job getting the most out of this team last year, and they were one of the best teams in the league defensively. The team lost a lot of offensive firepower when Williams, Iguodala, Brand, and Meeks left. It will be up to guys like Evan Turner, Jrue Holiday, and newcomer Jason Richardson to pick up the scoring slack. If Bynum stays completely healthy this team could be dangerous, but that is a big if.
Odds to win Division: +7,500
Season Win Total: 33
Key Losses: Leandro Barbosa, Jerryd Bayless
Key Newcomers: Kyle Lowry, Landry Fields, Terrence Ross, Jonas Valanciunas
The other four teams all have a legitimate shot of winning the division, but it’s hard to see Toronto competing. Andrea Bargnani must stay healthy for this team to gain real ground this year, but he has had injury troubles constantly over the last couple years. Newcomer Jonas Valanciunas should help the team quite a bit on the defensive end. Still, this is a team that really can’t dictate the style of play because they don’t have a clear identity on either end of the floor.
NBA Atlantic Division Winner Free Prediction: New York Knicks (+200)
The Knicks should be much better defensively this year, and I think that might be enough to top a Boston team that appears to be on the downhill slide. There are clearly risks to taking a team with so many question marks, but getting the Knicks at +200 looks like a solid value. Look for a second year in the system of a solid coach to help this team quite a bit.
is full-timesports writer and sports handicapper. You simply won’t find someone who loves sports more than Kyle. Kyle considers college football and college basketball his two favorite sports. Kyle has earned many accolades for his highly successful handicapping, and he writes full-time for many top sports websites. Keep an eye out for high quality free sports analysis from Kyle!