PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
4. NY Knicks
5. New Jersey
COACH: DOC RIVERS
LAST SEASON: 62-20
BEST ADDITION: F/C RASHEED WALLACE
WORST LOSS: F LEON POWE
The biggest issue surrounding the Celtics will be KG’s knee. There seems to be a lot of silence, but the truth will be known soon. Will we get the same-old KG, or a lesser version? The Celts have a nice insurance policy in Rasheed Wallace, who can no longer go 40 minutes a night, but can certainly offer a solid 25-30. Rajon Rondo is an emerging star at PG, and all the pieces are in place to make another run at a Championship – even if KG takes 40 games to become entirely healthy.
COACH: EDDIE JORDAN
LAST YEAR: 41-41
BEST ADDITION: G JASON KAPONO
BIGGEST LOSS: G ANDRE MILLER
The Sixers made it to .500 last year, a step in the right direction. The good news is that Elton Brand, who was limited to 29 games a year ago with a shoulder injury, should be healthy and he is a very productive player. They will miss Andre Miller unless Jrue Holiday or Lou Williams can keep the PG spot stabilized. It looks like another breakeven season for the Sixers, which in the end, could be enough to make the playoffs, but not much more.
COACH: JAY TRIANO
LAST YEAR: 33-49
BEST ADDITION: F/G HEDO TURKOGLU
BIGGEST LOSS: F SHAWN MARION
The Raptors have been a huge disappointment the last couple seasons as their young talent just never emerged. The roster will have seven new faces this season and it will be an important year because it is Chris Bosh’s walk year. If he doesn’t see progress in Toronto, he will probably be elsewhere next year. I don’t see this team making a whole lot of progress, but if the new talent finds some chemistry there is enough to make the playoffs.
NEW YORK KNICKS
COACH: MIKE D’ANTONI
LAST YEAR: 32-50
BEST ADDITION: C DARKO MILLICIC
BIGGEST LOSS: G/F QUENTIN RICHARDSON
Mike D’Antoni added some excitement to the Knicks with his fast-paced, wide-open offense, but he didn’t do much for the win column. The Knicks didn’t lose much from a year ago in terms of personnel, but they didn’t add much either, meaning this team should once again be mired in another losing season, falling short of the playoffs.
NEW JERSEY NETS
COACH: LAWRENCE FRANK
LAST YEAR: 34-48
BIGGEST ADDITION: F TERRNECE WILLIAMS
BIGGEST LOSS: G/F VINCE CARTER
The Nets were never gonna win with Carter and have started the retooling process. Terrence Williams should get a shot right away at the No. 3 position. Courtney Lee is an emerging two-guard and should pay immediate dividends. The Nets have a lot of questions elsewhere, and the chances of this team improving on their 34 wins a year ago are 50-50 as they probably fall short of the playoffs again.