The Atlantic Division was expected to be the strongest in the Eastern Conference, and perhaps even in the NBA, this season. So far though, only the 21-10 Knicks have exceeded expectations. The Nets, Sixers, Celtics, and Raptors are a combined 56-68, putting the division one game below .500 as a whole. Here's the latest out of the underachieving Atlantic:
- As we've heard before, the Nets are targeting Phil Jackson for their head coach opening, and are expected to launch their pursuit of Jackson soon. However, if they can't persuade the Zen Master to come to Brooklyn, the Nets may wait until the offseason to find a permanent solution for the position, according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein (Twitter links).
- Current Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo doesn't want to see struggling point guard Deron Williams put so much pressure on himself, as he tells Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News: "I think a lot of it is the reality of what has happened to our franchise
this year. It would be hard to overstate how dramatically different the
franchise, the team, the expectations, the focus, everything is this
year compared to last year. And he’s in the middle of the whole thing.
So it’s been a big challenge. I think it’s important for me to not let
him think it all revolves around him."
- Asked whether there had been any progress in Andrew Bynum's recovery, Sixers GM Tony DiLeo told reporters, including Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News, that there was no news at the moment. Cooney expects an update from the team next week.
- Lang Greene's NBA AM piece at HoopsWorld is particularly Atlantic-heavy, focusing on Avery Bradley's return to the Celtics, Amare Stoudemire's 2012/13 debut for the Knicks, and Jrue Holiday's All-Star chances.
- Ken Berger of CBSSports.com also takes a look at Stoudemire's first game back with the Knicks, including Carmelo Anthony's assertion that he and Stoudemire have to focus on "not listening to what everybody has to say" about the duo's ability to play together.