Atlantic Division Champion Also Likely Will Be East’s Best Team

Tuesday, October 2, 2018 5:21 PM UTC

Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018 5:21 PM UTC

The Atlantic Division looks loaded for the coming NBA season as quite easily the East’s three best teams reside there. Let’s break it down.

<p>Our first NBA division preview for the coming season focused on probably the league’s worst, the Southeast, which has mediocre Miami and Washington and three bad teams in Charlotte, Orlando and Atlanta. Now, we transition to what likely will be the NBA’s most interesting division race in 2018-19: the Atlantic.</p><p>Last year, the Toronto Raptors were Atlantic champions again and finished with the East’s top seed at 59-23. The Boston Celtics (55-27) were second in the Atlantic and second in the East. The Philadelphia 76ers (52-30) were third in both. With LeBron James leaving Cleveland for the Lakers and the Western Conference, there’s now no question that the Atlantic winner this season should again be the East’s top seed come playoff time and that the top three could all reside there.</p><p>Here’s a quick look at each club and their <a href=";book=BetOnline" rel="nofollow">BetOnline odds to win the division.</a></p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;Is the Atlantic Division the deepest in the &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;@NBA&lt;/a&gt; this season? My main man &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;@johnschuhmann&lt;/a&gt; and I examine that and more in our &lt;a href=\";amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#HangTimePodcast&lt;/a&gt; preview. Three contenders in the &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;@celtics&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;@sixers&lt;/a&gt; and &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;@Raptors&lt;/a&gt;, in whatever order you like. &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— Sekou Smith (@SekouSmithNBA) &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;September 17, 2018&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;\n"}[/]</p><p><strong>Boston Celtics (-120): </strong>That the Celtics won 55 games last year is awfully impressive considering big free-agent addition Gordon Hayward was lost for the season to that gruesome opening night injury and fellow All-Star Kyrie Irving was limited to 60 games due to two knee surgeries that also cost him the entire postseason. Some believe that Irving will leave after this season to play for his hometown Knicks (well, he’s from New Jersey). No team has a better collection of talent, when healthy, east of Golden State than these Celtics. They were even able to re-sign Marcus Smart.</p><p><strong>Toronto Raptors (+275):</strong> The Raptors made the biggest splash of any Eastern Conference team this offseason in landing Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green from San Antonio for DeMar DeRozan. The latter is a fine player and multiple-time All-Star, but Leonard might be the NBA’s second-best all-around talent when he’s healthy. With free agency on the horizon, I have a feeling Leonard will be duly motivated. Toronto also did well in re-signing young guard Fred VanVleet. Lot of pressure now on first-year head coach Nick Nurse.</p><p><strong>Philadelphia 76ers (+300):</strong> In a way, the Sixers were big losers this offseason because they had eyes on a third star to go with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid but missed out on LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard. The Bryan Colangelo Twitter fiasco didn’t help matters. Philly was largely quiet other than re-signing JJ Redick and trading for Denver’s Wilson Chandler. Rookie first-round pick Zhaire Smith could miss the season with a foot injury.</p><p><strong>Brooklyn Nets (+5000): </strong>The Nets finally are done with that franchise-gutting payment to the Celtics for the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce deal. So Brooklyn will keep its first-round pick in 2019. And it will be in the lottery. The Nets added some decent veterans in Ed Davis, Jared Dudley and Kenneth Faried. Meh.</p><p><strong>New York Knicks (+5000):</strong> Yep, it will be another long NBA season in the Big Apple. The Knicks might have hit a home run in drafting Kentucky’s Kevin Knox at No. 9 overall this year as he was fantastic in the Summer League. However, this year is all about whether Kristaps Porzingis can make it back from his torn ACL. Even if he does, realistically we won’t see the true Unicorn until 2019-20. At least there’s some hope now.</p><h2 style="text-align:center">Free NBA Pick: Celtics</h2><h2 style="text-align:center">Best Line Offered: <a href=";book=BetOnline" rel="nofollow">BetOnline</a></h2>
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