Apr 24, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; A general view of TD Garden prior to the first round of the NBA Playoffs between the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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Despite the facelift that the NBA’s Atlantic Division has taken this offseason, the Boston Celtics are primed to come away as winners.
The Boston Celtics had arguably the best offseason, and not only in the Atlantic Division. However, this young team still has a lot to prove despite their impressive summer.
The offseason addition of big man Al Horford certainly fills the “star” void that seemed to haunt Boston since the departure of the Big Three (Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen). Additionally, the quick emergence of Coach of the Year candidate Brad Stevens, who commands one of the deepest rosters in the NBA, has also helped catapult this team.
Assuming that the Boston Celtics take the next step this season, it’s difficult to deny that this team isn’t primed to win the Atlantic Division in 2016-17.
May 11, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry (7) talks to guard DeMar DeRozan (10) against the Miami Heat in game five of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Heat 99-91. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
The Toronto Raptors have been the only Atlantic Division team who has been able to challenge for the Eastern Conference Title in the past few years.
However, the Raptors had a rather quiet offseason, in which they had to scramble to replace Bismack Biyombo, who one could argue was actually their best – and most consistent – player in last year’s playoffs.
Toronto, though, did re-sign DeMar DeRozan (which was vital) to a max contract and added Jared Sullinger, who they hope can help fill the void left by Biyombo.
Therefore, the Raptors should stick to their guns and continue to foster one of the best backcourts in the league. In doing so, expect Toronto to push the Boston Celtics for this division.
Mar 4, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) hits a go-ahead shot against Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder (99) during the closing seconds of the second half at TD Garden. The Celtics would defeat the Knicks 105-104. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
New York Knicks
The Boston Celtics are not the only team in the Atlantic Division who have added star power this past offseason. The New York Knicks added Derrick Rose, a former MVP and a three-time NBA all-star.
Apr 8, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Injured Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) practices prior to a game against the New York Knicks at Wells Fargo Center. The New York Knicks won 109-102. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports