New York Knicks Hold Five-Game Lead in Weak Atlantic Division

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

30 games into the regular season, the New York Knicks find themselves in a surprisingly weak Atlantic Division with a five game lead over the second-place Brooklyn Nets.

The Knicks boast a 21-9 record, but are 3-4 in their last seven games. Injuries to their two best scorers in Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton have made life harder for the Knicks, but with Amar’e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert returning soon, the Knicks should be able to maintain their lead toward the end of the season.

The Nets have a 16-14 record and have won two straight games after firing former head coach Avery Johnson. Whether interim coach P.J. Carlesimo or another person is the head coach for the rest of the season, they need to figure out a system that works for Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez because this team is underachieving so far.

The Boston Celtics are 14-15 and have struggled to find another big man to pair with Kevin Garnett in the frontcourt. They also can’t figure out whether it’s in their best interest to start Jason Terry or Courtney Lee at shooting guard. Avery Bradley will return next week, so that might solve one problem, but Jason Collins is not the answer at center.

The Philadelphia 76ers are 14-17 this season after acquiring Andrew Bynum, who has yet to play this season. This team is struggling to find an identity without a go-to-scorer. Jrue Holiday is currently their best player and is averaging a team-high 18.2 points and 8.9 assists. This will be a much different team when Bynum returns.

The Toronto Raptors are 11-20, but have won seven of their last eight games without Andrea Bargnani and Kyle Lowry. Jose Calderon has done a better job of distributing the ball, but the Raptors have yet to beat a good team this season. They’re 3-12 vs teams with a .500 record or better.

Follow A.J. Speier on Twitter @Ajbisons for articles, news, and all things NBA

Around the Web