2015-16 NBA Atlantic Division Capsules
Team capsules for the NBA’s Atlantic Division, listed in AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds’ predicted order of finish:
LAST SEASON: 49-33, lost to Washington Wizards 4-0 in first round.
STARTING FIVE: G Kyle Lowry (17.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 6.8 apg), G DeMar DeRozan (20.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.5 apg), F DeMarre Carroll (12.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.7 apg with Atlanta), F Patrick Patterson (8.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.9 apg), C Jonas Valanciunas (12.0 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 0.5 apg, 1.19 bpg).
KEY ADDITIONS: F Anthony Bennett (free agent, Timberwolves), F Bismack Biyombo (free agent, Hornets), F Carroll (free agent, Hawks), G Cory Joseph (free agent, Spurs), F Luis Scola (free agent, Pacers), G Delon Wright (draft).
KEY LOSSES: F Tyler Hansbrough (free agent, Hornets), C Chuck Hayes (free agent, Clippers), (F Amir Johnson (free agent, Celtics), C Greg Stiemsma (free agent, Magic), G Greivis Vasquez (trade, Bucks), G Lou Williams (free agent, Lakers).
COACH: Dwane Casey, fifth season with Raptors, seventh overall; 207-227.
EYES ON: Valanciunas. The fourth-year big man signed a four-year, $64 million contract extension in August after a season in which he averaged a career-best 12.0 points per game. Casey called the extension ”a great investment.”
OUTLOOK: Carroll and Joseph should help shore up a shaky defense, with Carroll’s strong outside shooting another helpful addition. Toronto will expect to compete for a third straight Atlantic Division title but true success will be measured by what happens in the playoffs.
LAST SEASON: 40-42, lost to Cleveland Cavaliers 4-0 in first round.
STARTING FIVE: G Marcus Smart (7.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.1 apg), G Avery Bradley (13.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.8 apg), F Jae Crowder (7.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg), F David Lee (7.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.7 apg), C Tyler Zeller (10.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg).
KEY ADDITIONS: Lee (trade, Warriors), G R.J. Hunter (draft, No. 28), F Amir Johnson (free agent, Toronto), G Terry Rozier (draft, No. 16).
KEY LOSSES: F Brandon Bass (free agent, Lakers).
COACH: Brad Stevens, third season with Celtics and overall; 65-99.
EYES ON: Lee. After falling out of the starting lineup for the NBA-champion Warriors, Lee will attempt to return to the form that made him a two-time All-Star. On this roster, he should get plenty of minutes and plenty of shots.
OUTLOOK: After winning 24 of their last 36 games to make a surprise trip to the playoffs – as the No. 7 seed – the Celtics are hoping to take the next step. And, at any point, GM Danny Ainge could package some of his 17 draft picks (through 2018) for a star that would turn Boston into a contender.
NEW YORK KNICKS
LAST SEASON: 17-65, missed playoffs.
STARTING FIVE: G Jose Calderon (9.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.7 apg), G Arron Afflalo (13.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.7 apg), F Carmelo Anthony (24.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 3.1 apg), F Kristaps Porzingis (rookie), C Robin Lopez (9.6 rpg, 6.7 rpg, 1.4 bpg).
KEY ADDITIONS: Porzingis (draft, No. 4), G Jerian Grant (draft, No. 19 by Atlanta, then traded to Knicks), Lopez (free agent, Trail Blazers), Afflalo (free agent, Trail Blazers), F Kevin Seraphin (free agent, Wizards), F Kyle O’Quinn (free agent, Magic), F Derrick Williams (free agent, Kings), G Sasha Vujacic (free agent, Europe).
KEY LOSSES: F Andrea Bargnani (free agent, Nets), F Jason Smith (free agent, Magic), G Tim Hardaway Jr. (trade, Hawks).
COACH: Derek Fisher, second season with Knicks and overall; 17-65.
EYES ON: Porzingis. There are high hopes for Phil Jackson’s first first-round pick, a 20-year-old Latvian who the Knicks list at 7-foot-3. But there’s also the fear of the bust factor from a fan base that remembers the Knicks getting little or nothing from Europeans Frederic Weis and Bargnani.
OUTLOOK: Didn’t get enough with their offseason moves to make themselves a championship contender, but probably got enough to easily improve off the worst season in franchise history and perhaps compete for a playoff spot.
LAST SEASON: 38-44, lost to Atlanta Hawks 4-2 in first round.
STARTING FIVE: G Jarrett Jack (12.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.7 apg), G Bojan Bogdanovic (9.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 0.9 apg), F Joe Johnson (14.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.7 apg), F Thaddeus Young (14.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.3 apg), C Brook Lopez (17.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.8 bpg).
KEY ADDITIONS: F Thomas Robinson (free agent, 76ers), G Wayne Ellington (free agent, Lakers), F Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (trade, No. 23 by Trail Blazers, then traded to Nets), G Shane Larkin (free agent, Knicks), F/C Andrea Bargnani (free agent, Knicks).
KEY LOSSES: G Deron Williams (bought out, signed with Mavericks), C Mason Plumlee (trade, Trail Blazers), F Mirza Teletovic (free agent, Suns), G/F Alan Anderson (free agent, Wizards).
COACH: Lionel Hollins, second season with Nets, ninth season overall; 252-245.
EYES ON: Robinson. The No. 5 pick in the 2012 draft is already on his fifth NBA team, and the Nets appear ready to be the first to give him a long enough look to see if he can ever reach his potential.
OUTLOOK: Following years of splashy moves and huge payrolls, the Nets are younger, more fiscally responsible, and they hope still good enough to reach the postseason after doing so in all three seasons in Brooklyn.
LAST SEASON: 18-64, missed playoffs.
STARTING FIVE: G Tony Wroten (16.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 5.2 apg), G Hollis Thompson (8.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.0 apg), F Robert Covington (13.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.5 apg), F Nerlens Noel (9.9 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.7 apg), C Jahlil Okafor (rookie).
KEY ADDITIONS: G Nik Stauskas (trade, Sacramento); Okafor (draft, No. 3).
KEY LOSSES: G Thomas Robinson (free agent, Brooklyn), G Jason Richardson (retired), F Luc Mbah a Moute (free agent, Sacramento).
COACH: Brett Brown, third season with 76ers and overall; 37-127.
EYES ON: Okafor. Won an NCAA championship in his lone season at Duke and was the No. 3 overall draft pick. How well he handles the transition from the college game to becoming the centerpiece of a team still buried in a lengthy rebuilding process is one of the team’s many question marks.
OUTLOOK: Grim: The 76ers are again primed to become one of the worst teams in the league, and have little hope of becoming competitive any season soon. At best, the Sixers could hit 20 wins if Okafor and Noel become rising stars.