The NBA's Atlantic Division is filled with a few historic franchises, one new franchise trying to make things work in Brooklyn, and another which sits in a whole other country. This division is filled with big names, such as Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo, Deron Williams, and Kevin Garnett. However, it lacks big production. The division has become a surprise this year, with Toronto overachieving and Philadelphia fumbling even more than last year. It's time to break down the division and take a look at how teams are doing.
1. Toronto Raptors (19-6)
The Toronto Raptors lead the division by a comfortable nine game lead. Toronto hasn't been competitive in the past. It is recently where the Raptors have emerged as actual threats in the Eastern Conference, and most of that has to do with the maturation of their young players DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross. Toronto nearly knocked Brooklyn out of the playoffs in the first round last season, and they seemed poise to go deeper into the playoffs this season. Big man Jonas Valanciunas has come into his own and is averaging a near double-double at 12 points and nine rebounds per game.
2. Brooklyn Nets (10-12)
Brooklyn lost a huge veteran presence in Paul Pierce during the summer and although Kevin Garnett elected to play out his contract instead of retiring, the Nets need some help. The team has struggled much more than expected this season, and they've already made most of their roster available for trade. With a very inconsistent Brook Lopez and lack of chemistry, Brooklyn is still looking for answers and might find some around the trade deadline.
3. Boston Celtics (8-14)
Boston is an interesting team to look because they're built for the future, but they have very talented young guys in the present. With Captain Rajon Rondo, who is averaging eight points and 11 assists, at the helm, Boston has made some strides so far this season compared to last. With rookie Marcus Smart making a much bigger impact than anticipated and Jared Sullinger performing at a high level, this Celtics team is a player or two away from back on top of the Eastern Conference.
4. New York Knicks (5-21)
Possibly the biggest surprise in this division is how poorly the Knicks have performed in the new triangle offense that head coach Derek Fisher is trying to implement. The Knicks made huge moves earlier this year by signing Phil Jackson to their front office, as well as re-signing All-Star Carmelo Anthony. Anthony has been averaging 23 points and seven rebounds so far this season, but he cannot do it by himself. New York came into the season with high hopes, but after opening the season in such a poor manner, they are scrambling for answers.
5. Philadelphia 76ers (2-22)
The 76ers organization has been in flux for the past few years and if possible, the team has struggled more this season than last. With a roster made up of very young draft picks and costless agents, the season so far has been far less than glamorous. The silver lining is that by picking up Joel Embiid in the 2014 NBA draft and finally having Nerlens Noel play, the Sixers are slowly building back into contention. Although their fans will need to be patient, as they accumulate draft picks and work the phones for various trades.