This division is so depressing Frank McCourt should be writing this preview. This division is like being killed by high cholesterol: not so much acutely painful as tediously difficult to endure. Hurriedly, to spare us thinking about these assholes for too long:
Boston: I'm guessing it will be somewhere around the tail end of this season that Boston fans realize Danny Ainge is the white Joe Dumars. Both were role players that received management jobs with their former teams. Both are exceedingly mediocre basketball executives. And both far outlasted their expiration dates by being gift wrapped championships due to another team's grotesquely inexcusable failure - Dumars by Kobe Bryant presenting the 2004 Finals to the Pistons on a silver platter and Ainge by the Timberwolves spending a solid decade working tirelessly to alienate by far the best player in the history of their franchise. The problem, as Pistons ownership eventually came to realize, and as Boston is going to need to, is that dumb luck will only get you so far. Ainge's plans for rebuilding the Celtics appear to revolve around royally pissing off the team's best player, (including using the 6th pick in a loaded draft to get a replacement whose ceiling is to someday be as good as the player currently on your roster) and building around young players like Jared Sullinger, a big man that shoots 43 percent from the field. Ainge rounded out the roster with moves like signing Evan Turner, whose presence has been demonstrated to subtract ten wins from any team on which he plays. This team will not be bad enough to bottom out for more lottery picks, nor will they be good enough to even vaguely resemble a contender. On the bright side, they will be utterly horrible to watch.
Brooklyn: In Soviet Russia; TEAM spends YOU!! The Prokhorov Nets have been tremendously amusing. Completely unwarranted hubris rarely falls on it's face quite this spectacularly, and almost never this predictably. Five years after the Russian billionaire announced his bold strategy to win games by spending titanic amounts of money for on court has-beens and coaches that hate each other, they are, as they were always destined to be, still ringless and thoroughly mediocre, a default top-four seed in the vomitorium that is the Eastern conference, as threatening as a motorcycle gang of Bronies. LeBron and the Heat barely glanced downward while they stomped on them in the playoffs last year, and LeBron and the Cavs will most assuredly show them the same lack of regard this coming May. This team's third best player was born at the beginning of the Carter administration. That is not a good sign.
New York: I find this amusing and not nearly commented on enough. The Knicks are so desperate for respectability that they threw 12 million dollars a season at someone who is literally fucking the co-owner of another NBA team. As much as I respect the Zen Master's abilities, there is only so much that meditation will do for a roster seemingly constructed to succeed in a video game. Anthony and JR Smith will continue to pursue Enlightenment through the school of Neglected Pass, Iman Shumpert will continue to look like he should be good without actually doing anything, Amare Stoudemire will continue to be paid 18 million (or one million per career knee injury) and the rest of their roster will continue to be NBA players who could not be picked by NBA fans out of a police lineup if the other four suspects were the members of U2.
Philadelphia: Welcome to basketball Siberia. How you ask, can an NBA organization be profoundly and completely certain that they suck? When the league is contemplating rules changes because your team sucks so well that other teams that suck are loudly complaining about their inability to compete with your suckiness - well then you, dear reader are the Philadelphia 76'ers. Philly's well documented strategy of losing their way into winning would be way less offensive if it consisted of anything more concrete than "be profoundly awful every year and hope that you get good by accident." Their young talent pool consists of two big men with serious injury concerns, a 20 year old European who is overseas indefinitely, and a fairly talented sophomore point guard who can't shoot. Describing their odds of turning that into a championship contender as 50/50 would be generous. The Sixers rebuilding plan is so long term, they are scouting Montessori schools.
Toronto: The class of this division is a Canadian team probably most famous for being the franchise Vince Carter was so desperate to leave he started openly shaving points. I wouldn't call this team talented as much as competent. Demar DeRozan is pretty good - Kyle Lowry is very good, the rest of these assholes perform perfectly within reasonable expectations for NBA players. Well, other than Tyler Hanbrough whose ability to be more annoying than any person has been in the history of the universe should never be regarded with anything but awe. I have every expectation this team will put up a good fight as it loses in the second round again.