The deal with ... Atlantic Division

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:52 AM ET

Steve Buffery breaks it down in order of predicted finish:

- New Jersey Nets: Whether this team jells or not, there's no denying that there is plenty of talent on the roster, starting with Vince Carter, Richard Jefferson and Jason Kidd. New Jersey is a team with question marks on the frontcourt, but GM Rod Thorn no doubt has a move or two up his sleeve. Jeff McInnis and Kidd at the guard position could be a awesome 1-2 punch.

- Boston Celtics: The big question in Beantown is whether Paul Pierce remains content. There are rumours floating around that he is not long for New England. This is a young team with two well- thought-of rookies in Gerald Green and Ryan Gomes. Picking up Dan Dickau in the backcourt was a good move.

- New York Knicks: The addition of head coach Larry Brown cannot be taken lightly. Last season, the Knicks finished tied with the Raptors (33-49) but ought to move up given the fact that they are not in the midst of a Toronto-style youth movement. Brown likes Allan Houston and the long-time Knick wants to keep playing despite constant injury woes.

- Toronto Raptors: The Raptors are one of the biggest question marks in the league. This team can compete if Jalen Rose remains committed and plays hard on both ends of the court, if Chris Bosh continues to develop, if Rafer Alston keeps it together, if rookies Charlie Villanueva and Joey Graham pan out ...

- Philadelphia 76ers: One of these years, Allen Iverson is going to start breaking down. And it could be this season. New coach Mo Cheeks really needs The Answer to continue his offensive artistry as well as to see improvement from Samuel Dalembert and Andre Iguodala.


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