Atlantic Twine is getting into the holiday spirit. As this is a time for giving, it is only right to have a wish list for the Atlantic Division teams. So without further or due let’s get right to it!
Boston Celtics- Big man:
Celtics are in desperate need of rebounding, and rebounding equals a big man down low. Kevin Love would be the desired present but he would cost too much for the Danny Ainge and company to handle.
Whether it is through a trade or free agency, Boston’s front office must make a run for a player who can give them a defensive minded and rebounding presence. Even though the Celtics don’t have enough assets to pull off a big trade, they can target other teams for a three-team trade for possibly a player like Anderson Varejao, DeMarcus Cousins, or Andris Biedrins.
Varejao leads the league in rebounding with 14.4 rebounds per game this season.
Biedrins on the other hand, has been quiet in thus far averaging 3.1 boards per game but history transcribes him into a stat sheet stuffer.
While he does bring a lot of baggage with his game, DeMarcus Cousins can flat out play out basketball, and with the Sacramento Kings suspending him indefinitely due his behavior. Danny Ainge should start dialing those numbers and look into what it would take to obtain the two-year center. In the 2012-13 season, Cousins is averaging 16.6 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 0.6 blcoks per game.
The Celtics haven’t had a big man since Kendrick Perkins was around the franchise. With that, they need to find another down low figure before the soon to be 2013 season is far from reach.
Brooklyn Nets- Cohesiveness within Deron Williams and Joe Johnson:
Avery Johnson’s team is struggling through adversity right now losing eight of their last 10 games. and it starts off at the top with their leader Deron Williams.
Williams is having complications anticipating and reading where players want the ball. Granted, the Brooklyn Nets have not been together for a while, they still need to find that rhythm and momentum before it’s too late.
Currently, the Nets are ranked 22nd in the NBA in points scored per game with 95.3. This is uncharacteristic for Williams and company as they have showed in the past they can score in bunches. But as Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers has stated “this is a make or miss league.”
With the new year arriving on the doorsteps, I expect Jay-Z’s club to start meshing and adding a little continuity in their offensive schemes.
The complication on the offensive side is too much one-on-one type of sets instead of the traditional passing the ball and find the easy baskets.
Defensively, they are among the stoppers in the league in allowing only 94.0 points per game. If they can work on their ball movement, Brooklyn will rise up when it is all said and done.
New York Knicks- Road victories:
New York’s victories have been tremendous in Madison Square Garden. Part of the reason for their success is chemistry. Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler had a connection in Dallas and now renew their success in the city that never sleeps.
The combination of these two and Carmelo Anthony really make their team scary against opponents. Mike Woodson’s team has established a 11-2 stamp at home but where they need to improve is on the road–the Knicks are 8-5.
You may say that’s a pretty record but that just shows how dominant New York has been this season. It is evident this team has a limited number of weaknesses with their best start since Allan Houston days.
New York will look to progress their road game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas day at 3 p.m. on ABC. Carmelo Anthony and company will look to lock up their second win vs. Lakers.
Philadelphia 76ers- Andrew Bynum:
Philadelphia’s 13-14 record should not come to a surprise to anyone. Despite not having Andrew Bynum in their lineup, Doug Collins has done an astonishing job holding the ground until Bynum makes an appearance.
The complications the Sixers have are the inability to score the basketball and rebounding. That is why their newly acquired power forward will make a tremendous impact for Jrue Holliday and Evan Turner. The Sixers score 93.4 points per game.
In the other category, Sixers are ranked 20th in 41.1 rebounds per contest. Bynum will bring a down low post presence and having center Spencer Hawes and forward Thaddeus Young. The five-year player in Young has tallied 7.3 rebounds per game.
Bynum’s stature among his seven-year career is known. He has posted 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game throughout his career.
Toronto Raptors-healthy team (Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas):
Toronto Raptors are a troubling franchise because they have the talent but don’t show it on the hardwood. It is evident injuries have played a major factor this season including Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas.
Lowry, signed as a free agent, has been unable to show his true skills on the basketball court due to a nagging right triceps tear. The six-year guard has posted 15.8 points, 5.8 assists, and 5.6 rebounds per game in this season.
Valanciunas (easier to spell than say) suffered a fractured metacarpal (doctor’s note: bones that make the knuckles) on the right ring finger in Friday’s game against the Orlando Magic. The rookie center has recorded a 7.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game this season.
For the Raptors to be successful in the second half of the season, these two need to be healthy. Lowry and Valanciunas have been able to contribute on a consistent basis. This is a big hit for the 9-19 team, but the action these players take coming back from the minor injuries will be prominent.
When it is all said and done, the Celtics need to assess the rebounding complications, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson need time to correlate, New York has to bring it on the road, not just at home, Andrew Bynum needs to get healthy for the Sixers to excel, and Toronto needs to have a healthier 2013 season.