Sunday, October 22, 2006

NBA Preview 2006-2007: Atlantic Division

Click for each preview:
Awards and Playoffs

Each team is scored on a 1-10 scale based on its projected starting lineup, bench, head coach and general manager. The maximum score possible is 80.

Overall scores, brief summaries and franchise outlooks will predict how a team performs this upcoming season.

A final preview article will predict regular-season awards, playoff results and the eventual NBA champion.

Boston Celtics
C: Kendrick Perkins (7)
PF: Al Jefferson (6.5)
SF: Paul Pierce (9.5)
SG: Wally Szczerbiak (7.5)
PG: Sebastian Telfair (7.5)
Bench: Delonte West, Rajon Rondo, Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Michael Olowokandi (6.5)
Coach: Doc Rivers (7.5)
GM: Danny Ainge (7)
Overall: 59
Summary: Ainge is clearly emphasizing a youth movement in Boston, which bodes well for the Celtics’ future. Rondo, Green, Perkins, Jefferson and Telfair will make a solid core in two or three years. Unfortunately for Pierce that means this year is all about growing pains. Wally is the prototypical white guy in the league: decent shot, no D. He’s worth a hell of a lot in Scrabble though.
Outlook: Two small steps toward contention, one giant step back into the lottery.

New Jersey Nets
C: Nenad Krstic (7)
PF: Jason Collins (6.5)
SF: Richard Jefferson (8.5)
SG: Vince Carter (9)
PG: Jason Kidd (9)
Bench: Marcus Williams, Jay Williams, Eddie House, Clifford Robinson (6.5)
Coach: Lawrence Frank (8)
GM: Rod Thorn (8.5)
Overall: 63
Summary: There’s very little front-court depth on this team. Krstic is more of a perimeter guy and Collins is more of a stiff. The bench is very thin. Both Marcus and Jay Williams have question marks as to whether they can excel in the NBA. Carter and Kidd aren’t getting any younger, and with Vince being a free agent after the season, this may the last hurrah for this group.
Outlook: The outside-inside game will carry them to the division title, but not much further.

New York Knicks
C: Eddy Curry (7.5)
PF: Channing Frye (8)
SF: Jared Jeffries (7.5)
SG: Jamal Crawford (7.5)
PG: Stephon Marbury (8)
Bench: Steve Francis, Jalen Rose, Quentin Richardson, Nate Robinson, David Lee, Renaldo Balkman (7.5)
Coach: Isiah Thomas (7)
GM: Isiah Thomas (0.5)
Overall: 53.5
Summary: On paper this team isn’t that bad. Unfortunately for fans in Gotham, the games unfold in real-life. Losing Jeffries early on is a big blow for a team that needs role players. A healthy Richardson will put up good numbers. Jerome James is probably a lost cause. It’s easy to assume Zeke will make another horrendous trade mid-season.
Outlook: They’ll be bad, but not 59-losses bad.

Philadelphia 76ers
C: Samuel Dalembert (7)
PF: Chris Webber (8)
SF: Andre Iguodala (8)
SG: Kyle Korver (7)
PG: Allen Iverson (9.5)
Bench: Willie Green, Steven Hunter, Rodney Carney, Alan Henderson (6)
Coach: Maurice Cheeks (7)
GM: Billy King (7)
Overall: 59.5
Summary: Dalembert and Iguodala might bust out this year, and Carney might have been the best athlete in the draft. There’s not a single defensive stopper on the team. Webber puts up deceptively productive numbers on the stat sheet and gives up his share on defense. AI might jack up shots like never before -- and that’s saying something.
Outlook: Philly will do a lot more entertaining than winning.

Toronto Raptors
C: Radoslav Nesterovic (7)
PF: Chris Bosh (9)
SF: Morris Peterson (7.5)
SG: Anthony Parker (7)
PG: TJ Ford (8)
Bench: Andrea Bargnani, Fred Jones, Joey Graham, Jose Calderon (7.5)
Coach: Sam Mitchell (6.5)
GM: Bryan Colangelo (9)
Overall: 61.5
Summary: Colangelo, the architect of Phoenix’s resurgence, hopes to mimic that success in Canada. Trading for Ford and drafting Bargnani was a great start. Bosh is the rock of the franchise. Too bad the rest of the team isn’t so hot. There is the possibility having so many international players on the roster will backfire, considering all the unknown commodities involved.
Outlook: Year One of the Colangelo Project will show glimpses of promise.

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