Odds to Win the NBA Atlantic Division 2012: Celtics, Knicks, Nets..

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
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Odds to Win the NBA Atlantic Division 2012:  Celtics, Knicks, Nets..

Carrie Stroup here with your odds to win the NBA Atlantic Division 2012 including the Celtics, Knicks, Nets, 76ers and Raptors.  You can place your future bets at Sportsbook.com and receive up to $250 in FREE CASH.



2010-11 record: 56-26, 1st place in the Atlantic Division

Odds to Win 2011-12 Eastern Conference: 5-to-1

Odds to Win 2011-12 NBA Championship: 12-to-1


If there’s one team that stands to benefit most from the lockout-shortened season, it’s the aging Celtics.

Last spring, Boston was run out of the gym by a younger Miami Heat team in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Three of their stars—Paul Pierce (18.9 PPG), Kevin Garnett (14.9 PPG, 8.9 RPG) and Ray Allen (16.5 PPG, 44.4% three-point shooting)—are in their mid-30’s, and Garnett’s health is of particular concern because of his recent history of knee problems and value on the defensive end of the court. Due largely to Garnett’s ability to guard the pick-and-roll, the Celtics have remained one of the NBA’s elite defensive teams.

Point guard Rajon Rondo (11.2 APG) has become an equal—if not a superior—of the Big Three. He was once again the subject of trade rumors during the shortened offseason. But with Chris Paul reportedly unwilling to sign an extension with Boston, Rondo is most likely staying put.

Boston’s Achilles heel will be interior defense and rebounding. GM Danny Ainge rolled the dice when he traded C Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City for PF Jeff Green (9.8 PPG in 26 games with Boston), presumably the heir apparent to Garnett. Perkins was only a part-time player, but he was also the team’s only real interior enforcer. It led to two red flags (and potentially fatal flaws) with this team: They consistently get outrebounded (they were last in the NBA in offensive rebounding rate) and they don’t get to the line as often as their opponents.

The shot-making of Allen and Pierce can make up for it to an extent, but they have to get hot in the playoffs for this team to make a run at superior teams in Chicago and Miami.




2010-11 record: 42-40, 2nd place in the Atlantic Division

Odds to Win 2011-12 Eastern Conference: 14-to-1

Odds to Win 2011-12 NBA Championship: 25-to-1


The Knicks are certainly not short on star power. After signing PF Amar’e Stoudemire (25.3 PPG, 8.2 RPG) two summers ago, they made a blockbuster deal to get SF Carmelo Anthony (26.3 PPG in 27 games with New York) at least year’s trade deadline. They’re also reportedly set to add defensive-minded C Tyson Chandler (10.1 PPG, 9.4 RPG for Dallas).

Not surprisingly, New York struggled to get Anthony acclimated late last season. He was an isolation player in a Mike D’Antoni system that relies heavily on ball movement. But having a training camp (albeit a short one) with its two stars should lead to a nice improvement this season.

Of course, the issue for the Knicks isn’t scoring, it’s defense. D’Antoni can’t bench Stoudemire or Anthony, but they’re liabilities on defense. New York was the least efficient defensive team among last year’s playoff teams, and while the potential addition of Chandler would help, they still have a long way to go. Aside from D’Antoni’s Phoenix teams, there have been few bad defensive teams compete for championships in the modern NBA.

Stoudemire also struggled with a back injury that kept him out for a chunk of last year’s playoffs, still a concern considering his long injury history.

The Knicks might have an issue at point guard as well. PG Chauncey Billups (17.5 PPG in 21 games with New York) will reportedly be cut via the amnesty rule. The only other point guards on the roster are Toney Douglas and rookie Iman Shumpert, both undersized combo guards and fringe rotation players.




2010-11 record: 24-58, 4th place in the Atlantic Division

Odds to Win 2011-12 Eastern Conference: 23-to-1

Odds to Win 2011-12 NBA Championship: 50-to-1


With a move to Brooklyn on the horizon for next season, the Nets are on schedule for one more rebuilding year before crossing the Hudson.

Their main goal is to make PG Deron Williams (15.0 PPG, 12.8 APG in 12 games with New Jersey) happy. They essentially mortgaged the future to get Williams from Utah at least year’s trade deadline, but under the new CBA rules the Nets can’t offer Williams a contract extension big enough to entice him. Williams has hinted he’s willing to sign long-term with the team after the season as long as they make some big improvements.

And that’s exactly what owner Mikhail Prokhorov is looking to do. New Jersey has their sights set on Orlando franchise C Dwight Howard to pair with Williams (C Brook Lopez and a plethora of first-rounders for Howard and the albatross that is Hedo Turkoglu’s contract has been the hottest—and most-logical—rumor making the rounds).

Without Howard, this is an also-ran team that doesn’t defend or shoot well enough to be more than an 8-seed candidate in the East. Lopez (20.4 PPG) and three-point specialist Anthony Morrow (13.2 PPG, 42.3% from three) provide Williams with a serviceable—albeit thin—supporting cast.




2010-11 record: 41-41, 3rd place in the Atlantic Division

Odds to Win 2011-12 Eastern Conference: 50-to-1

Odds to Win 2011-12 NBA Championship: 100-to-1


Give head coach Doug Collins credit. In his first year heading up the Sixers, he got to the playoffs with smoke and mirrors, because this team doesn’t have 40-win talent.

Philadelphia doesn’t do anything particularly well except for take care of the ball. They had the lowest turnover rate in the NBA last year. Combine that with solid defense, and it’s a formula for a playoff berth in the East.

PG Jrue Holiday (14.0 PPG, 6.5 APG) did a solid job initiating the offense a year ago, and at 21 years old, he has room to develop into more of a playmaker. SG Andre Iguodala (14.1 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 6.3 APG) pulled back a little bit, but he became a more effective player in Collins system. Collins also found a way to milk some production out of preposterously overpaid PF Elton Brand (15.0 PPG, 8.3 RPG).

For this team to even think about taking the next step, they must retain promising stretch PF Thaddeus Young (12.7 PPG, 5.3 RPG), a restricted free agent, and get a huge improvement out of second-year SG Evan Turner (7.2 PPG). The No. 2 overall pick of the 2010 draft, Turner is a poor fit in this system as a wing who can’t shoot (42.5% FG) and needs a lot of touches to be effective. He was not an NBA-caliber rotation player as a rookie.




2010-11 record: 22-60, 5th place in the Atlantic Division

Odds to Win 2011-12 Eastern Conference: 100-to-1

Odds to Win 2011-12 NBA Championship: 200-to-1


Two seasons later, the Raptors are still reeling from Chris Bosh’s departure.

They do have some offensive firepower. C Andrea Bargnani (21.4 PPG) is a uniquely skilled big man, even if he doesn’t do a whole lot around the basket on either end of the floor. SG DeMar DeRozan (17.2 PPG) is making the transition from raw athlete to complete scorer. They might have the steal of the draft in Lithuanian power forward Jonas Valanciunas, a skilled power forward with a blue collar approach under the basket. He’ll more likely stay overseas for another year, but if they bring him over he could have an impact in the second half of the season as an excellent complement to Bargnani on the offensive end. Current power forwards Amir Johnson (9.6 PPG, 6.4 RPG) and Ed Davis (7.7 PPG, 7.1 RPG) are primarily defenders and rebounders.

Point guard play continues to be an issue for the Raptors. Jose Calderon (9.8 PPG, 8.9 APG) can effectively run the offense, but he’s one of the NBA’s worst defensive guards. Jerryd Bayless (10.0 PPG, 4.0 APG in 60 games with Toronto) had his moments, but he’s a streaky, combo guard-type.

The Raptors don’t defend or rebound well, and Bargnani (34.5% from three) and Leandro Barbosa (33.8% 3-pt FG) are their only real long-range threats. Toronto took the second-fewest threes in the NBA a year ago (13.3 per game). When you don’t have the three-pointer as an equalizer, it’s tough to beat teams that are better than you. And most nights, the Raptors will be playing teams that are better than they are.

- Carrie Stroup, Gambling911.com Senior Reporter

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