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Boston Celtics v Toronto Raptors

That’s A Rap #189: Atlantic Division Preview

The toughest division in basketball got even tougher during a roller-coaster off-season. Boston, Brooklyn, and Philadelphia all have legitimate claims to the throne. Toronto lurks as the darkhorse contender from the North. There’s a fifth team in the division, I think.

Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images

Now that the Kevin Durant saga is over (for now), the rest of the NBA can finally start moving on with the 2022-23 season.

This also gave us a chance to start our season previews for each division — starting, of course, with the Atlantic Division!

As a whole, the biggest departures were Kemba Walker and Bruce Brown, while the notable additions included Jalen Brunson, Malcolm Brogdon, and T.J. Warren. It certainly appears that the strongest division from 2021-22 (highest win percentage among all 6 divisions) got stronger!

In This Episode:

5:45 — Boston bolsters with Brogdon

The defending Eastern Conference champions did not sit on their laurels. After falling two wins short of an NBA record 18th championship, the Celtics shored up their depth by acquiring Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari — all while keeping their core intact. Expectations will be very high in Bean Town. Have they done enough to get over the top?

14:20 — Can’t knock the (Nets’) hustle

If this were any other city, the Nets roster would be championship favourites. Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, and Durant make up the best trio in the NBA. Add in the outside shooting of Seth Curry and Joe Harris, the two-way versatility of Royce O’Neale, and the microwave scoring of Warren, and Brooklyn should scare every opponent that shares the floor with them. However, with all the drama surrounding each of their Big 3, plus each of their own shortcomings with staying on the court, it’s fair to wonder if Brooklyn can keep it together enough to hoist the Lary OB.

26:25 — Philly’s finest

The Sixers now have a (De’Anthony) Melton to pair with their (Shake) Milton, plus a pair of former Rockets (Danuel House and PJ Tucker) to bolster the core. James Harden literally put his money to his mouth by taking a discount on his contract to allow for some of these moves to happen. At worst, they’ve kept up with the Joneses and are positioned well to compete again in 2022-23. Can they break into the championship tier?

36:00 — The Big Apple takes a big bite with Brunson

The Knicks made a great Free Agent pickup — oh, and they also overpaid for Brunson! New York better trade for Donovan Mitchell soon because I don’t know if there’s ever been an effective starting lineup (or any) with three left-handed starters. While I am a fan of the Isaiah Hartenstein signing, it’s hard to see New York finishing anywhere but the basement in this division.

46:30 — Raptors running it back

Toronto had the least amount of off-season movement but that’s just fine for Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster. The Raptors were one of the strongest teams post-All-Star break last season and have carried over that momentum into the Rico Hines runs. Scottie Barnes has beefed up and also looks more comfortable shooting the ball. Pascal Siakam is taking full advantage of his first healthy off-season in years and is looking like he’s ready to add a third All-NBA spot to his growing resume. I could go on with promising tidbits for almost every Raptor. Suffice to say, the front office is leaning in on internal development and the results have Raptors fans justifiably excited.

Brutal third quarter spells doom, Raptors fall 116-110 to Celtics

Toronto Raptors vs. Boston Celtics Matchup: Raps face their biggest test to date

The Rap-Up: Manipulating the All-Star ballot