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July 23, 2009
Offseason Outlooks
Atlantic Division

by Bradford Doolittle

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The Celtics failed in the their quest to repeat as champions last year, but despite a veteran squad, the window of opportunity is still open for Danny Ainge's squad. With Boston's Big Three now more than a century old combined, Ainge went for broke, adding free-agent Rasheed Wallace to the mix. Wallace will play the role Bill Walton filled for the '85-86 Celtics: A once-great big man, now coming off the bench to become a difference maker for the second unit.

That move keeps Boston in the mix for the Eastern Conference title, but what about the rest of the Celtics' division foes? Toronto's Bryan Colangelo made a splash by stealing Hedo Turkoglu out from under Portland at the last minute. Ironically, that move may do more to push the Celtics ahead of Orlando than it helps Toronto morph into a playoff contender.

The Sixers are status quo, still needing a point guard to fill out their '09-'10 starting lineup. The Nets finally ridded themselves of the Vince Carter contract, but now face the task of building around a lineup that is green across the board. And the Knicks? All signs point to a major overhaul, but not until after the coming season.

Here's how the Atlantic shapes up here in the middle of July:

Atlantic Division overview

Team     W  L  Pct Pace   oEFF oRNK   dEFF dRNK eMarg eRnk cRNK  Payroll  OverCap? Pay w/Tax
Celtics 59 23 .714 89.0 106.1 19 100.2 1 5.9 6 2 $77.1 Yes $84.3
76ers 44 38 .532 88.9 107.6 14 106.6 12 1.0 13 6 $60.6 Yes $60.6
Nets 34 48 .411 88.6 101.2 29 103.4 5 -2.2 18 9 $53.0 No $53.0
Raptors 29 53 .359 90.6 105.4 20 109.3 20 -3.9 23 11 $58.9 Yes $58.9
Knicks 27 55 .325 95.0 102.3 28 107.2 14 -4.8 24 12 $58.0 Yes $58.0

The Celtics still shape up as the class of the division. The Sixers' outlook would improve dramatically with a quality point guard. The Nets have some upside. The Raptors? Toronto fans are excited, but right now Colangelo's new mix isn't working out on paper. The Knicks are treading water for one more season.

BOSTON CELTICS

Player           Pos  AGE  EXP  2010$   %MIN  oUSG  dUSG   PC100  PA100   WP  wRNK   W%
Paul Pierce SF 32 11 $19.8 66% 27% 21% 99.7 100.6 9.3 14 16%
Kevin Garnett PF 34 14 $16.4 60% 23% 19% 115.3 94.7 9.1 16 16%
Ray Allen SG 35 13 $19.7 65% 21% 22% 120.0 95.1 8.9 20 15%
Rajon Rondo PG 24 3 $2.1 66% 19% 23% 120.6 96.1 8.6 24 15%
Rasheed Wallace C 35 14 $5.7 55% 20% 15% 105.4 109.4 6.5 48 11%
Kendrick Perkins C 25 6 $4.3 50% 10% 15% 135.7 102.3 4.3 105 7%
Tony Allen SF 28 5 $2.5 34% 23% 21% 86.0 93.6 3.8 116 7%
Gabe Pruitt PG 24 2 $0.8 24% 17% 23% 92.8 88.5 2.5 196 4%
Brian Scalabrine PF 32 8 $3.4 25% 13% 19% 95.8 106.4 1.7 240 3%
JR Giddens SG 25 1 $1.0 25% 27% 22% 53.9 114.1 1.5 254 3%
Lester Hudson SG 24 R $0.7 6% 25% 22% 103.5 104.7 0.8 303 1%
Bill Walker SF 22 1 $0.7 6% 19% 21% 91.6 118.5 0.4 339 1%

OTHERS: Glen Davis (restricted free agent); Marquis Daniels (has verbally committed to sign with Boston)

What they've done: The Celtics' signing of Rasheed Wallace was a bold move and will not only upgrade Boston's bench, but will help keep Kevin Garnett fresh as he recovers from his knee injury and enters the elder-statesman phase of his career. I like second-round pick Lester Hudson. If Doc Rivers will give him some rope, he could fill some of the scoring void created by the departure of Eddie House.

What they've left to do: Rivers still needs his backup point guard and the Celtics need to work out the details on bringing back Big Baby from restricted free agency. The Celtics need all the depth they can get as the big question about this veteran group continues to be the health of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. Can they hold up for another run?

PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

Player            Pos   AGE  EXP  2010$   %MIN  oUSG  dUSG   PC100  PA100   WP  wRNK   W%
Andre Iguodala SG 26 5 $12.2 80% 24% 22% 105.8 104.4 7.2 33 18%
Elton Brand PF 31 10 $14.9 65% 23% 19% 108.3 101.8 6.3 49 16%
Louis Williams PG 23 4 $5.0 55% 26% 23% 102.1 103.6 5.5 68 14%
Thaddeus Young SF 22 2 $2.1 65% 19% 21% 113.6 104.5 5.2 76 13%
Samuel Dalembert C 29 7 $12.1 60% 12% 15% 135.5 113.2 3.9 121 10%
Marreese Speights PF 23 1 $1.7 35% 20% 19% 112.8 110.2 2.9 172 7%
Jrue Holiday PG 19 R $1.3 45% 19% 23% 90.2 109.9 2.8 184 7%
Jason Kapono SF 29 6 $6.2 35% 19% 21% 96.3 107.8 2.3 212 6%
Jason Smith C 24 2 $1.4 25% 15% 15% 99.3 105.1 1.6 247 4%
Willie Green SG 29 6 $3.7 20% 24% 22% 84.3 104.7 1.5 256 4%

OTHERS: n/a

What they've done: Like several teams, the Sixers have turned over the bottom of their roster and still have some work to do to fill in the gaps. Royal Ivey, Kareem Rush, Theo Ratliff and Donyell Marshall all entered free agency, while Reggie Evans was dealt to Toronto for Jason Kapono. Kapono fills a definite need for the Sixers, but that's not really going to matter if Ed Stefanski can't unearth a quality point guard. The only lead guards still on the open market? Andrew Miller and Allen Iverson. Hummmm. A sign-and-trade involving Miller will probably be Philly's best option.

What they've left to do: Point guard. If Stefanski can fill that spot adequately, the Sixers have an interesting mix. Then they just need to add an end-of-the-bench banger and perhaps a shooting specialist. Of course, there's not a lot of money to spend after paying the new point guard.

NEW JERSEY NETS

Player            Pos   AGE  EXP  2010$   %MIN  oUSG  dUSG   PC100  PA100   WP  wRNK   W%
Devin Harris PG 27 5 $8.4 70% 28% 23% 101.1 104.0 6.3 51 19%
Brook Lopez C 22 1 $2.3 63% 18% 15% 122.4 112.2 4.6 97 14%
Courtney Lee SG 24 1 $1.3 65% 19% 22% 95.0 93.4 4.0 116 12%
Yi Jianlian PF 22 2 $3.1 65% 19% 19% 98.5 108.4 3.9 125 12%
Terrence Williams SF 21 R $1.7 60% 18% 21% 90.6 90.9 3.6 140 11%
Rafer Alston PG 34 10 $5.5 45% 25% 23% 89.0 99.4 3.4 156 10%
Keyon Dooling SG 30 9 $3.5 35% 23% 22% 90.1 105.0 2.2 219 7%
Josh Boone C 25 3 $2.0 30% 11% 15% 144.7 114.6 1.6 250 5%
Bobby Simmons SF 30 7 $11.2 25% 20% 21% 98.3 113.4 1.4 266 4%
Tony Battie PF 34 11 $6.6 30% 16% 19% 94.6 111.2 1.4 262 4%
Sean Williams C 23 2 $1.6 2% 12% 15% 120.8 109.6 0.1 420 0%
Chris Dg.-Roberts SG 23 1 $0.7 2% 20% 22% 93.5 101.6 0.1 411 0%
Jarvis Hayes SF 28 6 $2.1 2% 19% 21% 96.8 109.0 0.1 416 0%
Eduardo Najera PF 34 9 $3.0 2% 10% 19% 132.9 113.8 0.1 434 0%

What they've done: The Nets closed the last chapter from Jason Kidd era by dealing Vince Carter to Orlando, along with second-year forward Ryan Anderson. In return, New Jersey got Courtney Lee and a pair of veteran backups. More importantly, Kiki Vandeweghe cleared up a bunch of cap space going forward. For the moment, the Nets will have a starting lineup that could feature 27-year-old Devin Harris and four players in their third year or less.

What they've left to do: Sit tight. Rod Thorn has talked of signing a pair of max-contract players in 2010. Meanwhile, this year's team has 14 players under contract, with Bobby Simmons bringing home the biggest chunk of a $53 million payroll. His contract comes off the books after the coming season.

TORONTO RAPTORS

Player            Pos   AGE  EXP  2010$   %MIN  oUSG  dUSG   PC100  PA100   WP  wRNK   W%
Chris Bosh C 26 6 $15.8 74% 26% 15% 107.3 112.6 4.5 98 21%
Hedo Turkoglu SF 31 9 $10.6 71% 23% 21% 104.2 99.7 3.7 129 17%
Jarrett Jack PG 26 4 $5.0 60% 20% 23% 101.5 110.3 3.1 165 11%
Andrea Bargnani PF 24 3 $6.5 62% 19% 19% 118.6 110.6 3.0 170 14%
Jose Calderon PG 28 4 $8.2 60% 16% 23% 139.0 107.6 2.8 181 13%
DeMar DeRozan SG 19 R $1.9 60% 17% 23% 93.7 116.3 1.6 246 8%
Reggie Evans PF 30 7 $5.0 36% 14% 20% 122.8 112.0 1.3 269 6%
Roko Ukic PG 26 1 $1.3 30% 26% 23% 72.8 107.6 1.2 276 6%
Antoine Wright SG 26 4 $1.8 35% 19% 22% 77.6 105.6 1.0 283 5%
Devean George SF 32 10 $1.6 27% 18% 21% 74.1 100.5 0.8 296 4%
Patrick O'Bryant C 24 3 $0.8 24% 23% 15% 65.1 125.3 0.7 303 3%
Marcus Banks PG 28 6 $4.6 4% 22% 23% 92.3 107.1 0.2 386 1%
Quincy Douby SG 26 3 $0.8 4% 22% 22% 86.4 110.6 0.1 405 1%

OTHERS: Joey Graham (restricted free agent), Pops Mensah-Bonsu (restricted free agent), Carlos Delfino (restricted free agent)

What they've done: The Raptors began a major makeover after the conclusion of last year's disappointing 33-win season. In doing so, they hope to satiate Chris Bosh, who can become a highly-desired free agent after the coming season. Hedo Turkoglu was the big fish who will ostensibly take the place of Shawn Marion, who went to Dallas in a sign-and-trade extravaganza. Andrea Bargnani was signed to a $50 million extension. Restricted free agent Jarrett Jack was picked up from Indiana. He'll back up Jose Calderon but may also end up playing the two-spot a lot of the time in lieu of better options.

What they've left to do: The Raptors still have to deal with their own restricted free agents. Of those, Delfino would probably provide the biggest boost. However, Toronto only has about $5 million left before hitting the luxury tax limit. It's an awfully expensive roster for what projects to be a not-very-good team.

NEW YORK KNICKS

Player            Pos   AGE  EXP  2010$   %MIN  oUSG  dUSG   PC100  PA100   WP  wRNK   W%
Danilo Gallinari PF 21 1 $3.1 60% 19% 19% 121.6 89.9 3.9 125 16%
Chris Duhon PG 27 5 $6.0 65% 18% 23% 117.5 102.8 3.4 153 14%
Larry Hughes SG 31 11 $13.7 60% 25% 22% 87.4 102.7 3.1 167 13%
Wilson Chandler SF 23 2 $1.3 60% 23% 22% 92.0 110.6 2.8 176 12%
Al Harrington PF 30 11 $10.0 60% 19% 19% 124.7 120.7 2.8 174 13%
Eddy Curry C 27 8 $10.5 50% 22% 15% 99.1 114.8 2.7 185 11%
Toney Douglas PG 23 R $0.8 50% 22% 23% 95.7 116.3 2.3 215 9%
Darko Milicic C 25 6 $8.7 50% 16% 15% 106.9 112.1 2.2 218 9%
Jordan Hill PF 21 R $2.1 35% 22% 19% 89.6 116.3 1.6 250 6%
Jared Jeffries SF 28 7 $6.5 34% 13% 21% 111.1 110.0 1.1 279 4%
Joe Crawford SG 23 1 $0.7 20% 21% 22% 91.4 96.4 1.0 288 4%
Chris Hunter PF 26 1 $0.7 5% 19% 19% 89.3 101.7 0.2 384 1%
Mouhamed Sene C 24 3 $0.9 3% 19% 15% 106.5 133.8 0.1 411 1%

OTHERS: Nate Robinson (restricted free agent), David Lee (restricted free agent), Cuttino Mobley (medical retirement)

What they've done: The Knicks have continued to position themselves for next summer and their refusal to take on anything more than a one-year contract has more or less consigned them to getting worse in '09-'10. Gone from last year's team is Quentin Richardson. Restricted free agent Nate Robinson has an enormous offer from a European team and the Knicks are still far apart in their dealing with David Lee.

What they've left to do: New York is still said to be interesting in bringing back and has also been linked to Andre Miller in numerous rumors and, more recently, restricted free agent Ramon Sessions. After this season, Hughes and Harrington come off the books, as can Milic, Duhon and Jeffies. Even if Eddy Curry is not traded. the Knicks should the flexibility they've long desired. Unfortunately, they've got another season to play before then. The Knicks probably need to add at least one more player to their roster, but they should be able to avoid paying the luxury tax. After Isiah Thomas, who would have thought that would be possible so soon?

--

KEY

oEFF/oRNK - projected offensive efficiency and ranking; dEFF/dRNK - projected defensive efficiency and ranking; eMarg/eRnk - projected efficiency margin and league ranking; cRNK - conference ranking in efficiency margin; Payroll - projected 2009-10 payroll in millions.

%MIN - projected percentage of available minutes played; oUSG - projected offensive usage; dUSG - projected defensive usage; PC100 - projected points created per 100 possessions used; PA100 - projected points allowed per 100 possessions used; WP -- wins produced; wRNK - ranking in wins produced among all players; W% - percentage of team wins credited to player.

NOTES ABOUT THIS SERIES

Our offseason overview series attempts to take a point-in-time snapshot of each team's roster. We listed players currently under contract or who were taken in the draft, but not restricted free agents. Projected team records and efficiencies are based on projected player stats for the coming season. Playing time and possession usage is adjusted to balance at the team level. Team pace is projected to equal last season. Contract information was found at storytellerscontracts.info and in various media reports.

Bradford Doolittle is an author of Basketball Prospectus. You can contact Bradford by clicking here or click here to see Bradford's other articles.

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