Jan. 21, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) drives the ball around Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Joe Johnson (7) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Nets won 88-85. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Season Preview: Eastern Conference -- Atlantic Division

 

The Favorite: BROOKLYN NETS

The Nets made the “big” moves this summer in acquiring Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. On paper, they’re going to be the favorites. No one that’s not a Knicks fan is going to argue that. Again, on PAPER. The Favorites.

 

The Tanker: PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

The Sixers have to be one of the league-leaders in the tanking rankings right now. They traded away their best player for a player that won’t even play until December — at the earliest. Philly is going to be bad. They’re just waiting for the NBA Draft Lottery. 

 

Division MVP: CARMELO ANTHONY

Carmelo Anthony is the best player in the division. He’s going to be the best player on the best team (record-wise), so that’s why he’s going to be the MVP. Without him, the Knicks would be terrible. With him, they are going to win the division. M.V.P.

 

The “Real” Division MVP: DERON WILLIAMS

Though, Deron Williams is going to be the deserving MVP of this division. He’s going to be the best player on the team with the most potential heading into the playoffs – the most important part of the season. The Nets are going to start off slow and sooner or later, they’re going to get it. Williams will be a big part of that. He’s going to be the conductor of this train once it gains its stride. Ladies and gentlemen, the real MVP.

 

Team To Watch: TORONTO RAPTORS

The Raptors have talent. They have potential, but they just don’t have that one superstar yet. They don’t have a Carmelo Anthony or a Deron Williams, and until they have one of those game-changing type players this is all they’ll be. A team to watch. With that said, that’s not a bad thing. The Raptors are a team that will have a really good shot at making the playoffs. If they avoid major injuries and play up to their potential, along with develop their young talent; we will be seeing the Raptors in late April.

 

 

Player To Watch: JONAS VALANCIUNAS

Toronto has been a place where players go to die. You don’t really see a ton of players flourish with the Raptors. There are a few exceptions and Jonas Valanciunas could be another one. He is the potential to be an all star one day. Maybe not next season, but one day. He is kind of the face of the Raptors. If Valanciunas has a good season, so will the Raptors. Get to know his name, you’re going to be hearing it a lot more in the coming months.

 

SCIC’s Division Champ: NEW YORK KNICKS

The Knicks should win this division. New York is going to win somewhere between 50-55 games this season and that should be good enough. Yes, the Brooklyn Nets could very well be the last team standing from this division, but they are going to start slow. Plus, Paul Pierces and Kevin Garnett could get games off to save their legs for the postseason run. The Nets are going to be more than happy to let the Knicks go race through the regular season, win the division in exchange for fresh legs in the playoffs. The New York Knicks, back-to-back champs.

Atlantic Division Champs, that is.

Tags: Boston Celtics Brooklyn Nets NBA NBA Offseason New York Knicks Philadelphia 76ers Toronto Raptors

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