Amare Stoudamire and the New York Knicks will be looking to Challenge an aging Boston Celtics Team.
In part 3 of our 2010 NBA season preview we will be taking a look at the Atlantic Division. Unlike the other divisions in the Eastern Conference, the Atlantic is pretty much up for grabs. While the Boston Celtics are certainly still the cream of the crop they are aging fast with Garnett, Pierce, and Allen all getting a little long in the tooth. After the Celtics, it’s anyone’s guess as to who will step up and challenge them. The New Jersey Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, and New York Knicks all looked improved but neither of them are likely to put much of a scare into any team. However, if the aging Celtics take a step backwards Amare Stoudamire and the new look Knicks might just be ready to fill the void.
#1 Boston Celtics
Key Additions: Shaquille O’Neal, Jermaine O’Neal, Von Wafer, Delonte West
Key Subtractions: Tony Allen, Shelden Williams
The Celtics cornered the market on the O’Neal’s this summer by acquiring both Shaquille and Jermaine. While both players have seen better days, the combination will allow them to split minutes and stay fresh all season long. The Celtics made the NBA Finals last season and should be an improved team if they can stay healthy with 2 legitimate big men on the team. If they do stay healthy they could give the Miami Heat a run for their money come the post-season.
Ticket Demand: A-
The Boston Celtics have a great team, play in a great sports market, and have some of the biggest names in the NBA on their roster. That said, the teams age and anticipated decline is likely to leave fans complacent.
#2 New York Knicks
Key Additions: Amar’e Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, Anthony Randolph, Kelenna Azubuike, Ronny Turiaf, Roger Mason Jr.,Landry Fields
Key Subtractions: David Lee
The 2010-11 version of the New York Knicks is virtually unrecognizable from their 2009-10 version. Although the Knicks failed to land one of the elite free agents, they did scoop up Amare Stoudemire and Raymond Felton.
Ticket Demand: B+
The New York Knicks have one of the best fan bases in the NBA but lack of recent success has limited their ticket demand. The Knicks should once again be competitive which means ticket interest should rise- especially for games against the Lakers, Celtics, and Heat.
#3 New Jersey Nets
Key Additions: Travis Outlaw, Troy Murphy, Derrick Favors, Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow
Key Subtractions: Yi Jianlian, Courtney Lee, Chris Douglas-Roberts
The New Jersey Nets were absolutely terrible last year going just 12-70. However the Nets core players are pretty solid with Devin Harris, Troy Murphy, and Brooke Lopez. If Derrick Favors can develop into half of what Dwight Howard is this team might surprise some people and be a bubble playoff team. If they can swing the deal to get Carmelo Anthony this team could be really dangerous!
Ticket Demand: B-
The new Knick ownership group and vastly improved team should generate some buzz. Should the Nets land Carmelo Anthony, Nets ticket will be in big time demand.
#4 Philadelphia 76ers
Key Additions: Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes, Andres Nocioni
Key Subtractions: Samuel Dalembert, Willie Green, Rodney Carney
Some prognosticators are excited for this years 76ers team but not me. While they have a solid head coach in Doug Collins, much of the optimism stems from rookie Evan Turner. Many predict Turner will contend for rookie of the year honors. While the 76ers are certainly a young and upcoming team, don’t expect them to push for a playoff spot just yet.
Ticket Demand: C+
The 76ers fans certainly have more to be excited about this year with top pick Evan Turner bring his game to Philly but they still have a ways to go before they become a top ticket draw.
#5 Toronto Raptors
Key Additions: Leandro Barbosa, Linas Kleiza, Julian Wright
Key Subtractions: Chris Bosh, Hedo Turkoglu, Antoine Wright
With Chris Bosh leaving and moving to Miami there is not much to be excited about for Toronto Raptors fans. Is there anyone out there that can name any starters outside of Andrea Bargnani without cheating?
Ticket Demand: D
Toronto has never been a big basketball city and you can’t expect that to change with no marketable players or identity. This team will likely be on the 5 year lottery plan!
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