Nov 3, 2013; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens talks to his team during the game against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Detroit won 87-77. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Four games into the Sixers season, we dive into our first breakdown of the Atlantic Division.
Despite being just a week into the NBA season, the way that the division currently stands has shocked the basketball community. Philadelphia, dubbed the worst team in basketball and tanking in favor of getting a high draft pick in the loaded 2014 draft, started off their season with three consecutive wins, including shocking the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls. Toronto sits at 2-1 while the two favorites, Brooklyn and New York are both under .500.
This is how the Atlantic Division standings look as of now.
- Philadelphia : 3-1
- Toronto : 2-1
- New York : 1-2
- Brooklyn : 1-2
- Boston : 0-4
Philadelphia : The Sixers started the season off with an improbable victory over the two-time defending champion Miami Heat, followed by wins over the playoff hopeful Washington Wizards and Eastern Conference juggernaut Chicago Bulls. Golden State then came to Philly on Monday and put the fire out with a 110-90 rout of the Sixers.
Rookie Michael Carter-Williams was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week and has established himself as the early favorite to win Rookie of the Year. Despite struggling against the Warriors, Carter-Williams made good decisions with the ball in his hands in the first three games of his NBA career. MCW kicked off his professional career with 22 points, 12 assists, 9 steals, and 7 rebounds against Miami, finishing with one of the best debuts in NBA history.
Toronto : Although the Raptors have not played the toughest schedule to date, they have racked up wins over both the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks while falling to the Atlanta Hawks on the road.
Rudy Gay has averaged 17 points per game through three games despite struggling from the field. However, Gay has made up for his lack of efficiency early on with his work on the boards, averaging 9 per contest from the small forward position.
DeMar DeRozan leads the team in scoring with over 20 points per night.
New York : The Knicks have failed to live up to the lofty expectations in the Big Apple thus far after dropping games to the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves.
While both are quality, playoff-caliber teams, the lack of offense is a reason for concern for Spike Lee and company. In the loss to Chicago, Melo and the Knicks managed just 81 points, and in the loss to the Wolves, they scored 100 for the first time after beating the Bucks despite scoring just 90 points.
Three games into the season, and Melo has cleaned up the glass for the Knicks so far. However, the MVP candidate of a year ago has looked like a shell of himself on the offensive end. Shooting less than 40% and averaging just 21 points per game are numbers that the Knicks can not succeed with from their best player.
Brooklyn : The Nets have done the impossible; they beat the Miami Heat and lost to the Orlando Magic in the same week. After dropping their season opener to the Cleveland Cavaliers, they scored 101 points and beat Miami, and then scored just 86 and allowed Orlando to score 107.
Brooklyn is viewed as one of the teams with the potential to take the Eastern Conference away from the Miami Heat. The additions of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce among others clearly has not panned out yet. Garnett has struggled early on, averaging single digits in points and rebounds, while Pierce and Brook Lopez are both shooting above 52% from the field. Look for Brooklyn to get it turned around, and fast.
Boston : With the departures of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry, and head coach Doc Rivers, the Celtics were expected to struggle in 2013-2014, and they have done just that.
Brad Stevens’ squad has dropped four consecutive to the Toronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons, and Memphis Grizzlies. Jeff Green has led the way for the C’s with 16.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest.