The Atlantic Division placed just ONE team in the playoffs last year....and that was the New Jersey Nets who won the division by 11 games. Now, the Nets haven't done much in the offseason...save for a possible steal in the Draft, but did they really need to?
The big mover and shaker has been the Toronto Raptors who are bringing in the #1 overall pick and have made a bevy of trades and free agent signings. Not many of the names are big....but they could be changing the recent losing culture in Canada's lone NBA squad.
So enjoy the offseason update:
ADD: PG Sebastian Telfair, C Theo Ratliff, PG Rajon Rondo, PF/C Brian Grant, F Leon Powe, PF Kevin Pittsnogle, PG/SG Allan Ray
LOST: PG Dan Dickau, C/PF Raef LaFrentz, PG Orien Greene
Boston gained two point guards in Telfair and Rondo. Interesting, since neither is a good shooter. Telfair is a poor chemistry guy as well. This may lead to a possible deal for Allen Iverson down the road. Ratliff shaves a year from dealt Raef LaFrentz. Powe could be a sleeper as an undersized power forward. Grant just adds some experienced frontcourt help. Pittsnogle, who went undrafted, gives the C's a cheap replacement for LaFrentz [read: a big guy that plays on the perimeter].
NEW JERSEY NETS:
ADD: PG Marcus Williams, PF Josh Boone, C Mikki Moore, SG Hassan Adams.
LOST: PG Jacques Vaughn, SF Scott Padgett
Clifford Robinson was let go...then resigned him. The Nets had to have been shocked to see Williams fall in their laps. He was labeled a "Jason Kidd type" of player...and now he gets to work with Kidd. So he should fit with what the team is trying to do. Boone is a risk, but when his mind is right, he can rebound, block shots, score around the basket and defend well. The Nets need that badly. Adams is a highlight dunker who brings gritty defense. Moore is a veteran center that brings some depth to the front court.
NEW YORK KNICKS:
ADD: SF Jared Jeffries, PF Renaldo Balkman, PG Mardy Collins.
LOST: C Jackie Butler
I don't like the Jeffries signing, aside from the fact that he will play defense. He just isn't worth that money. I just hate the picks. Balkman isn't worth the #20 pick in the draft. He could've been had later in the draft. Collins is a defensive combo guard....now on a team with four combo guards. Sigh. This was the one area that most hoops people felt that Isiah Thomas was really good at. Not anymore.
ADD: SF Rodney Carney, SF Bobby Jones, C Edin Bavcic.
LOST: SG/SF John Salmons
The biggest story of the offseason was one that never happened. Allen Iverson was all over the trading floor...but nothing came of it......again. The draft picks, to me, were rather interesting. They got an athletic swingman in Carney and a very tough defender in Jones [Bavcic is a project]. Carney was a very good pick, especially at the 16th spot. However, they still failed to get a point guard.
ADD: PG TJ Ford, PF Andrea Bargnani, PG/SG Fred Jones, PF Jorge Garbajosa, C Rasho Nesterovic, SG/SF Anthony Parker, SF PJ Tucker, PF Kris Humphries, PF Uros Slokar.
LOST: SF/PF Charlie Villeneuva, PG Mike James, PG Alvin Williams, SF Eric Williams, SF Matt Bonner, C Raphael Araujo, C/PF Pape Sow, SG Andre Barrett
In an offseason full of movement for Toronto, the biggest catch was signing Chris Bosh to an extention. For the first time, they get to keep their big young star. Getting Ford means Toronto gets a real point guard to run their show [they let James walk]. It cost them Charlie V, but with Bosh signing an extension and Bargnani as a draft pick...someone had to go and Villeneuva was the odd man out. The Raptors added some depth there by getting combo guard Freddie Jones [who could be a starting 2-guard]. Boy....Bargnani is a very risky pick. I think he'll be solid...but it is a risk to take him #1. Especially when most anyone in the top 6 wouldn't have wanted him. Toronto coulda/shoulda dealt the pick back and got him and some other stuff. Still, they wanted him and got him. Tucker is a nice player, but they drafted Joey Graham last year who does the same things. They also got Nesterovic in a trade...which gives them a serviceable center and all it cost them was a couple of guys that didn't want to be there anyways. Toronto also brings swingman Anthony Parker over from Israel...meaning that they have some depth at the swing position with Parker, Tucker and Graham. The Arajulo-Whaley/Humphries trade won't be a major one, as Whaley was already waived and picked back up by Utah. Garbajosa was the Spanish Cup Finals MVP. With these point guard moves, the Raptors bought out Alvin Williams...who had played just one game in two years and was the longest tenured Raptor.