November 30, 2021 | 7:49 am
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The Baseline: Atlantic Division Preview

While the Atlantic is not the sexiest division in the NBA it’s still one of interest. We take on this preview tackling all the story lines of a division that is rich in history.

  • The Knicks changed their personnel more than any other team in the league but their success starts with the health of Carmelo Anthony. Rookies Jerian Grant and Kristaps Porzingis will have key roles but the additions of veterans Arron Afflalo and Robin Lopez also loom large. Will Phil Jackson help his protege Derek Fisher this season or will it be another year of unintentional building?
  • Philly’s situation is a confounding one but the future is dependent on Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor. Nobody knows when or if Dario Saric will join the fold and it’s beginning to look like Joel Embiid is a lost cause. Brett Brown is a good coach but he needs more than Robert Covington, Tony Wroten and Kendall Marshall as complimentary pieces to the budding bigs on the block.
  • It seems like ages ago when the mantra was “Hello Brooklyn” for the Nets. Gone is Deron Williams leaving the core of Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson to pick up the pieces from a failed attempt at elite status. Thaddeus Young is a solid slasher and Brooklyn has the warm body that is Andrea Bargnani but is there anything to get truly excited about?
  • Boston surprised many a season ago behind the great coaching of Brad Stevens. There aren’t any superstars on the roster but Isaiah Thomas, David Lee, Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder and a few others make up a team that looks to improve on their 40 wins from last season.
  • The Raptors haven’t had the need to make too many improvements over the last two seasons as a result of the weaker competition in the Atlantic. DeMarre Carroll joined the roster over the summer marking the biggest free agent acquisition the team has had since Kyle Lowry. DeMar DeRozan is in a contract year but will he put the team’s overall success over his quest for a new deal?

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