Discussing Sports: Past, Present, Future
Ladies and gentlemen: Welcome. Welcome to the worst division in professional basketball! Last year, your Atlantic Division champions were the Toronto Raptors, boasting a 58.5% win percentage and a 16-25 record against teams over .500! But fuck it! They won the division and we got to see a helluvah lot more Drake because of it (which is always a good thing). Plus these dope shirts:
Drake, I know you’ll treat me right. But seriously, this division is trash, and it is quite possible that it will be worse (I know, I’m sorry, I won’t even sugar-coat it). Break out a fifth and let’s evaluate the Atlantic Division and drink until we figure out a playoff team!
In alphabetical order because these teams do not deserve to be recognized on a performance level whatsoever:
Tank-Tank-Tankadelphia! Tank-Tank-Tankadelphia! Introducing your 2015 lottery winners! Just kidding, the lottery is rigged and the NBA would never allow Philly to win the lottery after the new lottery proposition was vetoed. The 76ers starting-five is as follows:
PG – Michael Carter-Williams (Reigning Rookie of the Year)
SG – K.J. McDaniels (Rookie, Clemson)
SF – Hollis Thompson
PF – Nerlens Noel (Technically-Rookie, Kentucky)
C – Henry Sims
If you haven’t scrolled past this analysis after reading the lineup then hello! I commend your mental toughness! This team fucking sucks. This summer they finally traded Thaddeus Young to complete the Kevin Love to Cleveland deal, in exchange for Luc Mbah a Moute, Alexey Shved and a Miami Heat 2015 1st Rounder. This was a great move by Philly considering the fact that Thad Young actually had talent, and was most likely going to leave for greener pastures after this season. So once again the 76ers spend an off-season acquiring assets and assemble enough talent to look like an NBA team but actually just suck enough to lock-down a top draft pick. The one bright spot for the team is finally unveiling Nerlens Noel to the world. He is finally healthy and his high-top fade is going to wreak havoc upon the league! He is a legitimate ROY candidate (yes he still counts), except for the fact he will most likely get benched so Philly can keep sucking.
Best Case Scenario: Your 2015 Lottery Winners! + a Nerlens Noel ROY
Worst Case Scenario: The league somehow manages to change the lottery rules and Adam Silver drinks Sam Hinkie’s sweet, sweet tears.
Somewhere, Rajon Rondo is making a tall adult beverage and counting the days down until he is traded to a playoff contender. Here is your 2014 Celtics starting-five:
PG – Rajon Rondo / Marcus Smart (Rookie, OK ST)
SG – Avery Bradley
SF – Jeff Green
PF – Jared Sullinger
C – Kelly Olynyk
First off, the Celtics actually had a really good draft. Personal ideology is always draft talent first, and the Celts certainly did that. Marcus Smart is an absolute MAN, and yes he will steal your girl. Once Boston inevitably deals Rondo, Smart will be able to grow as a point guard and hopefully tear up the league once he polishes up his rookie mistakes. He has a high basketball IQ, plays great defense, and just plays the game with such a tenacity that is impossible to replicate. He is going to be a special player. The Celtics also snagged the talented James Young out of Kentucky, which strengthens their mouth-watering backcourt even more. Unfortunately, the Celtics aren’t going anywhere this season. Their frontcourt is too raw and not talented enough to stop a nose-bleed and overall there just isn’t enough developed talent to carry this team. I’m afraid this Rondo trade rumor-mill will cast a shadow over their whole season and evidently eclipse their season performance, regardless of how well (or terribly) they are playing.
Best Case Scenario: Someone overpays for Rondo while he is still semi-valuable, giving the Celtics a decent crop of guys to fill the roster and pushing them into the 8th spot of an abysmal Eastern Conference Playoff picture.
Worst Case Scenario: Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk deliver cringe-worthy performances night after night while the team’s young talent struggle to find their sea legs in their transition to the NBA, sucking them back into a high lottery pick.
New York Knicks
Where do I begin? Will I let this team rip my heart out again this year? Most definitely. Will they hopelessly underachieve despite the all the promises they have made me? I don’t know. I just want what was promised! But most importantly, WE RESIGNED MELO!!!! Here are the starting-five for your Knickerbockers:
PG – Jose Calderon
SG – Iman Shumpert
SF – Carmelo Anthony
PF – Amar’e Stoudemire
C – Samuel Dalenbert
Let’s start with the headline here: Phil Jackson is back! Is he playing? No. Is he coaching? No. But he is President of Basketball Operations and that’s good enough for me! With Phil pulling the strings, hopefully he can mold Derek Fisher into a real head coach who can execute the magical Triangle Offense. Can’t be worse than last season! This offseason was pretty crucial for the Knicks. They drafted an absolute steal in Cleanthony Early at pick number 34 and then drafted Greek Freak 2.0 in Thanasis Antekounmpo, who happens to be the older brother of Greek Freak 1.0, Giannis. Even though Thanasis will never see the NBA hardwood, Cleanthony has the potential to be a really special player! The Knicks also traded away the aging Tyson Chandler and not-fan-favorite Raymond ‘Fat Ray’ Felton for those draft picks, along with Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, and gaurds Shane Larkin and Wayne Ellington. Calderon is a great shooter who will hopefully kinda-sorta remedy the Knick’s point guard troubles. One of the other bright spots is the fact that both Amar’e and Andrea Bargnani have expiring contracts this season, which means no matter how they play this season, we will free up a shit ton of cap space next year, although reports say Amar’e has been looking great in camp and he says he feels “19 again.” Dalembert is a serviceable 7-footer that D-Fish and Phil can hopefully squeeze some extra life out of. But the big story is obviously how Melo will handle the Triangle. He just inked his $124 million deal and you have to think Phil will help him bring the Knicks back to relevancy. After all, it’s Melo.
Best Case Scenario: The Triangle is indeed God’s gift to basketball, Melo pockets another scoring title, and the Knicks land a top-4 seed in a weak Eastern Conference, getting knocked out in the 2nd round.
Worst Case Scenario: Derek Fisher proves he is incompetent, the Knicks lack enough all-around talent to execute the triangle effectively, and miss the playoffs for the second year in a row with their tail between their legs. Oh, and I drink myself into a coma.
There is zero hype surrounding this team. Kind of pathetic considering they enter the season with the highest payroll in the NBA for the second year in a row. Let’s see how they are wasting their money! Here are the Brooklyn Nets starting-five:
PG – Deron Williams
SG – Joe Johnson
SF – Andrei Kirilenko
PF – Kevin Garnett
C – Brook Lopez
Father Time is kicking down their door as Brook Lopez struggles to remain healthy, KG will most likely retire after this season, and ‘star’ duo Joe Johnson and Deron Williams have little of their prime remaining. The scary thing is that they could actually win the Atlantic Division this year. I know, right? Deron Williams has not played like we were promised (Again, I just want what was promised to me!), but this roster does have so much talent that any season could be the season they get their act together. Jason Kidd has booked it to Milwaukee, which is probably a good thing for the team because let’s face it, he is kind of an asshole. Lionel Hollins is a good coach and hopefully he can rediscover all of the talent this team has somehow misplaced. Ideally, Joe Johnson will be the offensive Ying to Andei Kirilenko’s defensive Yang, Brook Lopez will remain healthy and shine in the key and Deron Williams will be vintage 2011 D-Will. One can dream.
Best Case Scenario: Your 2014-2015 Atlantic Division Champions, Knock out a top seed to go to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Worst Case Scenario: As the season progresses, more and more players start slowly losing limbs, missing the playoffs and relegating the Nets to the NBA Old-Timers League.
“Fuck all that rap to pay your bills shit. I’m on some Raptors pay my bills shit” – Aubrey “Drizzy Drake” Graham. Wow, powerful words. Let that sink in. Started from the bottom now we’re reigning Atlantic Division Champs, here are your 2014-2015 Toronto Raptors starting-five:
PG – Kyle Lowry
SG – Terrence Ross
SF – DeMar DeRozan
PF – Amir Johnson
C – Jonas Valanciunas
This ain’t your mom’s Toronto Raptors. Biggest move of the off-season was resigning Kyle Lowry who is a bonfide stud. Kid is dripping with talent and allows the Raptors to open up their offense by driving in the lane and either finishing or dumping it off to one of the big men. A lot of their season success hinges on some of the other guys stepping up and making those extra strides from last season. Namely, look for Jonas Valanciunas to put up or shut up. Hes young, tall and clunky but if he can protect the rim this season, the Raptors should be looking to repeat as Atlantic Division champions. Last season DeMar DeRozan flat out BALLED (22.7 PPG) and I expect him and Lowry to drop highlights like nothing skipped a beat. This summer the Raptors did Raptor things by drafting 19-year old Brazilian phenom Bruno “Who?” Caboclo. However, his nickname is the ‘Brazilian Kevin Durant’ so he must be like kind of good. Maybe we will see him in a 2020 All-Star game. Good drafting Toronto!
Best Case Scenario: Repeat as Division Champs while looking for blood in the postseason, snagging a bid into the second round.
Worst Case Scenario: Nets win the division, Toronto loses homecourt in the playoffs and face another early bounce.