Kale nachos, obscure electronica bands, artisanal preserves, craft beers, latte art, and the Brooklyn Nets. Welcome to our hipster guide to New York City! After sitting out a season to rehab a blown-out Achilles, Kevin Durant is finally ready to make his NBA debut with the Brooklyn Nets, which is why the Nets are both the hipster and mainstream favorites to win the Atlantic Division at +125 odds.
Out of the six divisions in the NBA, the odds suggest that the Atlantic will be the most competitive in the league. The public’s money is all on the Brooklyn Nets, but don’t sleep on the power trio from the Boston Celtics at +250 odds to win the Atlantic. Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum are arguably the top trio in the Eastern Conference, but their bench is a little thin after Gordon Hayward bolted from Beantown.
|NBA 2021 ATLANTIC DIVISION ODDS|
- Brooklyn Nets +125
- Boston Celtics +250
- Toronto Raptors +320
- Philadelphia 76ers +400
- New York Knicks +25000
The Toronto Raptors won the NBA championship two seasons ago, but they’re still trying to stay competitive after Kawhi Leonard skipped town. Even without Kawhi last season, the Raptors secured their third-straight Atlantic division title. Since the start of the 2013-14 season, the Raptors won six Atlantic titles in a seven-season span.
The Raptors are +320 odds to win their fourth-straight Atlantic division crown.
BKLYN: Shallow Hipsters or the Real Deal?
On paper, the Nets look tough with a projected starting five of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris, DeAndre Jordan, and Caris LeVert. The Nets also have a strong second unit with Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen, Jeff Green, and Landry Shamet. That’s their hedge against Irving or KD getting injured (again).
Steve Nash takes over as head coach. He’s super green and has never coached in the NBA before, but he made a wise move by adding Mike D’Antoni as a bench coach. Nash flourished under D’Antoni when the offensive genius put forth his spread offense in the “seven seconds or less” era.
Irving has already started the season on the wrong foot with the media. He’s flirting with disaster and, if he keeps up his combative attitude with the scribes in Gotham, he’s asking for a world of constant distraction. To quote ex-Knicks coach Pat Riley, “The NYC tabloid media is a beast, and you have to feed the beast every day.”
If KD and Irving both stay healthy, the Nets should win the division. But, that’s a big if in both cases.
The Toronto Raptors have an additional challenge in the age of coronavirus. The Canadian government and public health officials denied the Raptors the opportunity to play home games in Toronto due to COVID-19 concerns. As a result, say hello to the Tampa Bay Raptors.
The Raptors will play their home games in Tampa and share the same arena where the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning play their home games. Despite the relocation to Florida, the Raptors are +320 odds to win the Atlantic division. With the Nets overvalued and the Celtics prone to injuries, the Raptors offer up the best value in the Atlantic.
Pascal Siakim, the Raptors’ top player, struggled in the postseason, but he brings intensity on both ends of the court. Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet are a dangerous backcourt, even before you toss in Norman Powell off the bench. They also added Aaron Baynes to bolster the front line.
The Raptors have our favorite NBA player, OG Anunoby, who is on the verge of a breakout season.
Doc Rivers jumped off a sinking ship with the LA Clippers, but he didn’t exactly land in a secure spot. The Philadelphia 76ers are a team in flux. Are they ready to implode the team and start over with just Joel Embiid? Or will the Sixers make a bold move and trade Ben Simmons and Shake Milton to the Houston Rockets in exchange for a disgruntled James Harden?
In the meantime, Doc Rivers will have his hands full trying to keep up with the Celtics, Raptors, and Nets. The Sixers are +400 odds to win the Atlantic, which they haven’t won since 2001.
Fade the Knicks
Whatever you do, do not fire away at the New York Knicks. If you’re even considering a wager on the Knicks to win the Atlantic division at +25000, then you should consult a shrink or consider joining a local Gamblers Anonymous meeting.
As a lifelong Knicks fan, I can attest that there’s been nothing short of disappointment since James Dolan purchased the team at the end of the 1990s and ruined a perfectly good franchise. There’s a reason why the Knicks won only one postseason series in the 21st Century, and it has everything to do with Dolan’s toxicity that continues to stink up Madison Square Garden.
Knicks fans should be celebrating the triumphant return of Kevin Durant to the hardwood. Instead, KD and the Brooklyn Nets are the favorites to win the Atlantic, while the Knicks are destined to be the division doormat once again.
But hey, at least the Knicks made a smart move by drafting NYC’s native son, Obi Toppin. So, we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.