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ATLANTIC
Chris Mannix
December 05, 2011
BOSTON CELTICS (56--26 in 2010--11)
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December 05, 2011

Atlantic

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Philadelphia showed significant improvement under first-year coach Doug Collins, overcoming a 3--13 start to make the playoffs. Collins's simplified, up-tempo system fits the roster and should lead to even more success in his second season.

NEW JERSEY NETS (24--58)

What they've got

All-NBA point guard Deron Williams and center Brook Lopez give the Nets a formidable inside-out tandem. Free-agent power forward Kris Humphries emerged as a consistent double-double threat last season, while Anthony Morrow is one of the league's most dangerous three-point shooters.

What they need

New Jersey gutted the roster to pry Williams from the Jazz, leaving plenty of holes. Free agent Caron Butler (Mavericks) would fill the need for a scoring swingman, and if Humphries walks, the Nets could make a run at power forward David West (Hornets).

Bottom line

Keeping free-agent-to-be Williams happy is the Nets' top priority—and that will take a major infusion of talent. They have made no secret of their desire to acquire Magic center Dwight Howard and will dangle Lopez and multiple draft picks to get him. Wins and losses will take a backseat to convincing Williams that it is in his best interest to move with the team to Brooklyn next season.

TORONTO RAPTORS (22--60)

What they've got

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