ATLANTIC DIVISION 2010
The Celtics have not had much comp in this division for a few years now. With an aging roster and other teams getting better, the C's will only win the division by about 5 or 6 games this year and not the usual 10+.
Drafted: Avery Bradley & Luke Harangody
Key gains: Von Wafer, Jermaine O'Neal
Key loss: Tony Allen
The Celtics surprised a lot of people last season by making the Finals after a poor regular season. They lacked depth and their Big 3 were looking old. Rajon Rondo's emergence as a top 4 PG led them to their great playoff run. Had Kendrick Perkins not blew out his knee and missed game 7 where the Lakers pounded them on the glass, and Ray Allen hit a jumper, they very well might be entering this season as defending champs.
So going into the 2010-11 season they added a badly needed backup point guard in Avery Bradley who was highly rated coming into Texas as a freshman, and 2 bigs with the rookie Harangody and veteran Jermaine O'Neal. Bradley most likely won't see much time early on since they re-signed Nate Robinson, but he's athletic and a good defender. Harangody showed in the Orlando Summer League that he could really stretch the floor with his outside shooting and we all know about his toughness down low so you'll know he'll fit in nicely. Jermaine O'Neal was mainly brought in to spell Perkins who's out until January 2011 with the knee. J.O. hasn't looked good over the past few years but if he can stay healthy (huge if) he brings more offense than Perkins which should help KG and he can still block shots with the best of them. Wafer returns to The League after spending last season overseas. He is an explosive player coming off the bench, I see Nate and him doing some damage in the regular season.
Defense will be an issue in the backcourt with this team because they lack size but they are pesky and will rack up the steals with Rondo leading the way. Tony Allen is gone and he was the main guy slowing the Kobe's and D-Wade's down.
In conclusion: They did they best they could this off-season, they had to re-sign Pierce and Allen. They got potential steals in the draft (Avery could be Russell Westbrook-like, Harangody was 2-time Big East P.O.Y.). They overpaid for O'Neal but he should fit in nicely to this veteran unit.
NEW JERSEY NETS
Drafted: Derrick Favors & Damion James
Key gains: Travis Outlaw, Johan Petro, Jordan Farmar, Quinton Ross, Anthony Morrow
Key losses: Tony Battie, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Yi Jianlian, Keyon Dooling
So the Nets sucked last year, really bad. Injuries, no veteran leadership and coaching were the main issues, oh yeah the leagues worst defense too. This team does have some building blocks, a new owner, new coach, new arena in Newark and in the east anything is possible and the 7th and 8th seeds are always up for grabs. But main guys like Brook Lopez and Devin Harris have to have borderline All-Star seasons for them to even think playoffs?!?! (Jim Mora voice).
By getting Derrick Favors in the draft, these Nets could have the best 4-5 combination in the East in the very near future. Lopez is getting 20-n-10 on most nights and he plays D, Favors is raw but athletic as shit, and has a great motor (what every franchise wants from their bigs). The Nets are set in the paint and not even the contenders in The League have that. However (Stephen A. Smith voice), they need help on the perimeter to be able to compete at a high level, they got solid bench guys in their starting line-up. The additions of Outlaw and Morrow will open the paint up even more for their young bigs which will speed up their development. None of those guys are really known for their defense but at least they'll get buckets. The key player for the Nets on the perimeter may be 2nd year SF Terrance Williams, who is an elite athlete even by NBA standards, this is a guys who can start your offense, find the open man and cause havoc in the paint, POTENTIALLY, he has shown flashes and if he can put it all together the Nets will have their version of Andre Iguodala. With all this said the Nets need Devin Harris to return to his form of a couple years ago, he is injury prone with his attacking style of play but they need a top PG especially with the NBA now being PG heavy. They got Jordan Farmar for the inevitable injury, and he's a borderline starter in the NBA so the Nets should be ok here.
In conclusion: I really like the Nets to at least be SportsCenter highlight worthy on a nightly basis. They will be battling for 3rd in this division and the future actually looks bright in the swamps of Jersey.