NBA News and Notes 30 Teams, 30 Questions: Atlantic Division

By | September 17, 2022

The Atlantic Division shall be one of the talked about divisions this season. The Boston Celtics need to return to the NBA Finals after a terrific second half final season. The Philadelphia 76ers need to make a deep playoff push with Joel Embiid and a wholesome James Harden. The identical may be stated for the younger Toronto Raptors who shocked everybody with their fifth seed final season. After which there are the New York groups. The Brooklyn Nets had a troublesome 2021-22 season adopted by a worse 2022 offseason, however managed to come back out the opposite finish with out dropping Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving. The Knicks have had a troublesome season adopted by an offseason that fell in need of expectations, however need to bounce again this season. With the East enhancing within the offseason, these are an important questions for Atlantic Division groups for the 2022-23 season.

Boston Celtics: Can they win all of it?

The Boston Celtics had an NBA season like no different. The workforce struggled at first, wanting like they may break the core of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Not solely did they flip issues round and end because the second seed within the East, however they went to the NBA Finals for the primary time in 12 years. Boston swept the Brooklyn Nets within the first spherical and eradicated the Milwaukee Bucks in a hard-fought seven-game sequence earlier than knocking out first-seeded Miami Warmth in one other grueling seven-game sequence. Boston would lose in six video games to the Golden State Warriors, however confirmed they may compete with one of the best.

Can they make it again to the ultimate although? Boston has had a stable offseason, including items equivalent to Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari. Whereas Gallinari will miss a lot of the season by way of damage, Boston nonetheless has the most effective groups within the league and is rumored to be taken with a number of veterans. Boston may have harder competitors this season than final season. Milwaukee ought to have a wholesome Khris Middleton, Philadelphia may have a more healthy Harden alongside Joel Embiid, Brooklyn has determined to revive him, and Miami appears to be getting sturdy once more. It is simply 4 Jap groups that can provide Boston a troublesome competitors. If Boston can have a wholesome season and Jayson Tatum can have an MVP-like season, the chances of them making it again to the NBA Finals are excessive. If a 2022 NBA Finals rematch occurs, will the Celtics have the solutions to carry a championship again to Boston?

Brooklyn Nets: How will this season go?

Final season was a large number for Brooklyn. Kyrie’s determination to not play, commerce Harden for Simmons and get swept within the playoffs. The offseason seemed like an entire catastrophe with Kyrie wanting to depart Brooklyn, Kevin Durant asking for a commerce and giving possession the ultimatum of both him or head coach Steve Nash and basic supervisor Sean Marks. Each gamers shocked everybody by opting to stick with the workforce, however many imagine issues will not be all rosy for Brooklyn. The workforce ought to have a wholesome Ben Simmons after lacking a complete season. Brooklyn made a number of small strikes within the offseason, retaining key bench gamers and including new gamers. Patty Mills and Nic Claxton returned to short-term contracts, whereas veterans TJ Warren and Markieff Morris signed one-year contracts. What can followers count on from Brooklyn? It is doubtless that Kyrie shall be gone after this season and Kevin Durant might ask for a commerce once more throughout the season. It is unclear what the Nets will get out of Simmons or the bench this season. With the teaching employees, Steve Nash might be out relying on the beginning of the season. Many nonetheless see the Nets as a competitor, however others see the Nets imploding as soon as once more. Solely time will inform what sort of season the Nets have.

Philadelphia 76ers: Can James Harden get again into form?

The final two seasons have not been one of the best for James Harden. The Houston Rockets fell aside in Harden’s last season, though he had his finest seasons there. Traded to Brooklyn, Harden shared the goal-scoring load with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, however playoff accidents would finish their NBA championship hopes. Final season, Harden could be traded to the Philadelphia 76ers after frustrations in Brooklyn. Within the 21 video games he performed in Philadelphia final season, Harden averaged 21.0 PPG, 10.5 APG and seven.1 RPG, the bottom common for the reason that 2011-12 season.

In the course of the offseason, Harden confirmed indicators of enhancing well being whereas taking much less cash in free company to assist enhance the workforce. Enhancing the bench helps the Sixers, however James Harden is essential for Philly to go all the best way. Joel Embiid is on the peak of his profession, however with a historical past of accidents, it is unclear how lengthy that would final. If Harden can carry out at a stage like his MVP season the place he averaged 30.4 PPG, 8.8 APG and 5.4 RPG, the Sixers wouldn’t solely be a scary workforce however a severe contender for the championship. With the East solely going from energy to energy, a return to kind for Harden shall be key to Philly’s success.

Toronto Raptors: Will subsequent season be a step ahead or a step again?

Regardless of dropping a number of members of the 2019 championship workforce, together with Kyle Lowry forward of the 2021-22 NBA season, the Toronto Raptors have exceeded workforce expectations. The workforce completed with a 48-34 report, fifth within the Jap Convention. Fred VanVleet had certainly one of his finest seasons, averaging 20.3 PPG, 6.7 APG, and 4.4 RPG and making his first All-Star look. Pascal confirmed why he is without doubt one of the most underrated forwards within the sport, with 22.8 PPG, 8.5 RPG and 5.3 APG. Gary Trent Jr. and OG Anunoby additionally had sturdy seasons. Toronto additionally had one of the dependable benches within the league.

One of many largest surprises and success components for Toronto was rookie Scottie Barnes. Barnes would finally earn Rookie of the Yr after an incredible first season averaging 15.3 PPG, 7.5 RPG and three.5 APG whereas dealing with a number of the finest forwards within the sport. The Raptors would lose to the 76ers in Philadelphia in six video games, however the season was a hit general. However what is going to this season seem like? The Raptors have had a busy offseason re-signing a number of position gamers and signing new gamers, together with Otto Porter Jr. and Josh Jackson. Though they’ve improved, many Jap groups have improved. Though that ought to be a priority for the Raptors, the workforce had report towards the remainder of the Jap Convention. In 52 video games towards the East final season, the Raptors went 30-22. It is unclear how the Raptors’ season will pan out, however Toronto has proven they’ll show doubters incorrect.

New York Knicks: Is one other disappointing season inevitable?

Within the shortened 2020-21 NBA season, the New York Knicks completed with a 41-31 report, fourth within the Jap Convention. Final season, the Knicks took a step again by ending with a 37-45 report, eleventh within the East. 2021 Most Improved Participant of the Yr Julius Randle has stepped again, with many pointing the finger at him for the Knicks’ setback. RJ Barrett had an awesome season, averaging over 20 PPG whereas enjoying 70 video games. Veteran Evan Fournier had a stable season with the Knicks that trusted him at instances. On the level of guard, the workforce struggled. Derrick Rose solely performed 26 video games, lacking a lot of the season with an ankle damage. Kemba Walker had points with the best way he was used and solely ended up enjoying 37 video games.

The offseason hasn’t been a lot better for Knicks and Knicks followers. The workforce missed a number of superstars, together with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Zion Williamson and Donovan Mitchell. The Knicks signed Jalen Brunson who has ties to the workforce, in addition to signing RJ Barrett to an extension. With the workforce seeking to construct round Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett, there might be much more strikes on the best way for the Knicks. Based on sure rumors, Julius Randle would participate in a number of business negotiations in addition to Evan Fournier. One other individual within the sizzling seat might be Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau. Focusing extra on the gamers he is coached prior to now, Thibs and Knicks administration generally did not get alongside. Now in its third season, a disappointing season for New York might imply Thibs’ exit. With many Jap groups enhancing and plenty of seeing the convention playoff spots already stuffed, the Knicks may have one other uphill battle this season.


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Jordan Riha