Thursday, October 25, 2012

2012-13 NBA Preview: Atlantic Division Wrap-Up

Wins Produced Projected Standings
1. New York 57-25
2. Boston 46-36
3. Toronto 46-36
4. Philadelphia 39-43
5. Brooklyn 37-45

Wins Produced All-Atlantic Team
PG Rajon Rondo, Boston
SG Landry Fields, Toronto
SF Gerald Wallace, Brooklyn
PF Kris Humphries, Brooklyn
C Tyson Chandler, New York

Eyeball Test All-Atlantic Team
PG Rondo, Boston
SG Joe Johnson, Brooklyn
SF Carmelo Anthony, New York
PF Kevin Garnett, Boston
C Chandler, New York

While I have confidence that Wins Produced gets most things right, there are certain things that stats tell us that our eyes have trouble believing.  Landry Fields and Gerald Wallace being better than Joe Johnson and Melo, respectively, is one of those things.  Most would probably even take Paul Pierce and Jason Richardson over Fields and Wallace, and I could not blame them.  Chandler beats out Andrew Bynum as the top pivot man in the division, based on Chandler's edge on the defensive end as well as Bynum's inconsistent behavior, health, and effort.  Kevin Garnett is technically a center, but it's tough to leave him off an all-Atlantic team, so there he is.  Keeping KG at center, the eyeball test would probably go with Humphries, as well, although I'm sure a few of you misguided souls out there are screaming Amare's name right now.

Wins Produced All-Bargnani Team
PG Tyshawn Taylor, Brooklyn
SG Nick Young, Philadelphia
SF DeMar DeRozan, Toronto
PF Andray Blatche, Brooklyn
C Fab Melo, Boston

Named in honor of Andrea Bargnani continued ineptitude in the eyes of Wins Produced (career average of -3.2 WP; twice the lowest rated player by WP), this team is a motley collection of those players Wins Produced sees taking the most away from their teams.  Taylor and Melo can be excused since they are rookies, but there isn't much to suggest they will ever be above-average pros (although I have a personal, irrational b-ball crush on Taylor, stats be damned, and believe he can be a poor man's Russell Westbrook).  I touched on DeRozan's shortcomings in my Raptors preview, while Nick Young is the deadly double threat of a gunner who can't shoot.  Andray Blatche's place on this team should need no explanation, but if you need evidence, here you go.  I have no idea why the Wizards struggled so badly when Young and Blatche were two of their building blocks.

Wins Produced Atlantic MVP: Tyson Chandler, New York
Canaan's Atlantic MVP: Kevin Garnett, Boston
I love Chandler, and believe he is a true difference-maker in this league, but the truth is that if the Knicks perform at their projected level, there is no way anyone but Melo gets the bulk of the credit.  While Garnett is no longer even the player he was when he first came to Boston, his defense, intensity, and ability to still hit midrange jumpers at will make him the most crucial member of his respective team in the division.

Wins Produced Atlantic LVP: Nick Young, Philadelphia
Just a reminder: the Sixer amnestied Elton Brand, a 6.4 WP player last year, to sign Young, meaning that a player who took away 2.2 wins last year will cost Philly nearly $22.1 million this season.  Add in that Young was signed to replace super-sub Lou Williams and the palm cannot hit the face fast enough.

Atlantic DPOY: Tyson Chandler, New York
It's hard to beat the defending NBA DPOY.

Atlantic Matador of the Year: Andrea Bargnani, Toronto
Last year, Bargnani had a worse block rate than Anthony Carter and a worse steal rate than Aaron Gray.  Bargnani is as active as a bean bag chair on defense, and you would have to think that won't fly with Dwane Casey very much longer.

Wins Produced Atlantic ROY: Terrence Ross, SG, Toronto
Ross should get the playing time and score enough to get himself at least a mention as a successful rookie (there's really no competition when it comes to who is winning the big prize, is there?).  If the Raptors do indeed make the playoffs, it makes his case that much stronger.

Canaan's Atlantic ROY: Jared Sullinger, PF, Boston
This is probably some hometown bias, but I really believe Sullinger will be a very effective pro on offense if his back is right.  He's short, but sturdy, and he has a rare gift for getting himself into the right position every time he is on the block.  Late last season, he also started flashing a perimeter post game similar to Dirk's, which would be a potent addition to an already full offensive arsenal.  Defensively, things are probably going to be ugly, especially when Sully finds himself switching onto the likes of Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook in the pick-and-roll.  Still, I think his offense will outweigh his lack of defense, and also that Doc Rivers and the wily vets on the C's are savvy enough to effectively hide Sullinger on defense.

Wins Produced Atlantic Rookie Bust: Jonas Valanciunas, C, Toronto
Wins Produced don't think that highly of Valanciunas, and I think even less of him.  This is probably bitter eggs on my part (or whatever that saying is; sour beans? tart grapes?), since I've hated Valanciunas ever since the Cavs passed on him in favor of Tristan Thompson.  I don't personally hate him, of course, but my fear that the Cavs passed on the next Zydrunas Ilgauskas drove me to wish the younger Lithuanian nothing but the worst.  The fact that he projects to struggle so much has me breathing a sigh of relief (at least for now).


  1. Great Atlantic Division breakdown, Canaan - can't wait to read more!

    Here are my 2013 projections and picks:

    Atlantic Regular Season Standings
    1. Celtics
    2. Nets
    3. Sixers
    4. Raptors
    5. Knicks

    All-Atlantic Team
    G - Rajon Rondo
    G - Deron Williams
    F - Carmelo Anthony
    F - Kevin Garnett
    C - Andrew Bynum
    Coach: Doc Rivers

    All-Atlantic MVP: Rajon Rondo

  2. Knicks in last place? Wow! If injuries hit hard, I could see it happening, but if they can get an average of 70 games from their top rotation players, I think they'll find themselves at least in the playoffs.