NBA Futures Predictions
The Toronto Raptors ran away with the NBA’s Atlantic Division a year ago, and they’ve only served to bulk up their roster with the addition of DeMarre Carroll.
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Odds courtesy of Bovada.lv.
While the odds would indicate the Raptors could be in position to again run away with the division, there’s now at least one team in position to challenge them.
Here’s a look at which teams you should keep your handicapping eye on from the Atlantic Division.
Toronto Raptors (NBA Odds -175)
The Raptors enjoyed a fine offseason, bringing in prized free agent DeMarre Carroll to an already strong core. Amir Johnson earned his money while he was in Toronto, but his best days are behind him.
Greivis Vasquez was a solid backup point guard, even if he couldn’t play any defense whatsoever. And Lou Williams had a heck of a season – earning the nod as Sixth Man of the Year.
But general manager Masai Ujiri made up for those losses with the addition of Cory Joseph – who fits the team’s scheme better than Vasquez did – and Delon Wright, and underrated prospect who was one of the most NBA-ready players in the draft.
They’re not going to get away with starting Jonas Valanciunas and Luis Scola at the 4 and 5 on a nightly basis, but beyond that, the Raptors are a legitimate contender for the Atlantic Division crown and homecourt advantage in the East.
Boston Celtics (NBA Odds +175)
If there’s a legitimate contender to the Raptors’ title defense, it’s the Celtics. Boston added some decent talent to its young core, and that group figure to make plenty of noise in what’s now a top-heavy Atlantic Division.
The team wasn’t able to make a splash with its truckload of cap room, but David Lee and Amir Johnson give the team some bodies up front and will help on the boards.
That’s going to help head coach Brad Stevens improve on the team’s surprising playoff run a year ago.
New York Knicks (NBA Odds +1200)
There was nothing sexy about the Knicks’ offseason, but that may be a good thing. The team made a lot of sensible, calculated decisions which will serve it well in the future.
The team signed Arron Afflalo and Robin Lopez to reasonable contracts, and added Kyle O’Quinn on one of the best bargain deals of the summer.
They also decided to roll the dice on Kristaps Porzingis, who admittedly has looked good in summer league, but will need some time before he’s able to contribute regularly.
That doesn’t mean anything good for Carmelo Anthony, and it likely means bettors should stay away from the Knicks for a little while longer.
Brooklyn Nets (NBA Odds +3000)
The Nets are in a lot of trouble at the moment. The team doesn’t have any financial flexibility and will be short on draft picks for a little while longer. Shedding salary was the name of the game this offseason, and that meant buying out Deron Williams.
The Eastern Conference is so weak that Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, and Thaddeus Young are enough to back the Nets into the playoffs, but they figure to win fewer games than they did a year ago.
Philadelphia 76ers (NBA Odds +10000)
What can be said about the 76ers that hasn’t been said already? At some point they’ll come out of this tailspin they’re currently stuck in, but that won’t happen quite yet.
Jahlil Okafor has all the feel of a guy who puts up big offensive numbers on a losing team, and Joel Embiid will go another year without playing a single game.
2016 Atlantic Division Prediction: Raptors -175
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