By Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson
Key Additions: Patrick O’Bryant, Bill Walker
Last yearâ€™s team is pretty much the same except for James Poseyâ€™s departure. That is a big loss for them. This team loses mental toughness and a premier perimeter defensive stopper (think an East Coast Bruce Bowen, but coming off the bench). I do like the addition of Patrick O’Bryant. The former Golden State Warrior is a great fit for this team and their shared belief of team defense. Additionally, look for Paul Pierce to continue to be a great scoring threat, but also look for him to become an even greater defensive player. Also look for Ray Allen to have a solid year. He is the type of player that is routine-oriented. He is now comfortable with his teammates and will have excellent chemistry. Kevin Garnett will have a solid all around year, as usual, which is a tribute to his dedication and passion to the game. New Orleans Hornets big man Tyson Chandler may be his only competition for Defensive Player of the year honors at the end of the year.
All things considered, the Celtics will have a great year. Perhaps the biggest sleeper move of the off-season was nabbing Bill Walker in the draft. He is a skilled and athletic wing man. Perhaps he can spell Allen and Paul Pierce in games. Will the Celtics repeat this year? In the words of the poetic Kevin Garnett, “Anything is POSSSSSIBBBLLLEE.”
Vince Carter is in quite a familiar situation in the Garden State. He is the man again, similar to his tenure with the Toronto Raptors. Gone are swing man Richard Jefferson and future hall of fame point guard Jason Kidd. The only remnants from the team that showed up to training camp last year are Josh Boone, Sean Williams, and Carter. This means that chemistry is very important. The team gelled during preseason play overseas and they seemed to build camaraderie. Bobby Simmons, a former NBA Most Improved Player (and a DePaul baller) may have a decent year. Devin Harris is quite impressive. The former Wisconsin Badger is deceptively quick and plays hard. They are a young work in progress and will be exciting to watch.
New York Knicks:
Key Additions: Chris Duhon, Danillo Gallinari
Nate Robinson is going to surprise a lot of people this year. No, really, I mean it. Coach Mike D’Antoni’s offense fits him perfectly. The offense does not necessarily encourage defense, which is not necessarily a Knickerbocker strong point anyway, but it does show that the team on Penn Plaza has some life in them. It will be interesting to see how well Eddy Curry adapts to this team. He is struggling on offense. I hope he pulls it together. Look for David Lee to have an under the radar stellar season. He is truly the energizer on that team. Coach D’Antoni’s playbook and his affable personality will allow his team to win more games. Will it equate to a playoff appearance? It may.
Key Additions: Elton Brand, Donyell Marshall, Karem Rush, Royal Ivey
Philadelphia fans will have more opportunities to stop at Wawa, buy hoagies and celebrate Sixers’ wins. This team is stacked. The Sixers really shocked a lot of doubters last year by persevering and clawing their way into the playoffs. They also convinced doubters by playing the Pistons tough in the playoffs last year. Ed Stefanski is doing a great job of putting together a stellar team together from positions 1-5. Andre Miller is a solid point guard, might I add, and Iguodala finally got his pay day. The biggest aquistion was Elton Brand. He’s an east coast guy, from Peekskill, NY in Westchester County, perhaps he can get some home cooking and family support. The Sixers are one of the top four teams in the Eastern Conference. It is time for Philadelphia to do some damage.
Key Additions: Jermaine O’Neal
This team is an interesting group. Contrary to how many people feel, the Jermaine O’Neal acquisition was a good one. O’Neal is in a new environment and hungry to do well. Chris Bosh is going to have a great year as well. Any team that has a Colangelo at the helm will succeed. There has been talk that Andrea Bargnani will move to the small forward positionâ€¦that would be interesting to see.