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Raptors leading the way, while young Celtics on the rise

Atlantic Division 2015-16 Preview

POSTED: Oct 13, 2015 10:48 AM ET

By Lang Whitaker

BY Lang Whitaker

NBA.com

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2014-15 Toronto Raptors Top 10

Here are the top 10 plays of the season.

ATLANTIC DIVISION

Welcome to the Atlantic Division, a.k.a. the Atlantis Division, a.k.a. the main reason that winning a division no longer means an automatic top-four playoff seed. Sure, Toronto nearly won 50 games last season, but the Celtics managed to finish second and still were two games under .500. The good news? The Atlantic Division has nowhere to go but up!

DIVISION PREDICTION

1) Raptors*
2) Celtics*
3) Nets
4) Knicks
5) 76ers

* Playoff team

SUPERLATIVES

Team on Rise: Boston Celtics -- A late-season spurt gave them a playoff berth, as well as a look at what their future could be.

Team on Decline: Brooklyn Nets -- The Nets wanted to win a title by 2015; instead they're treading water in the middle of a bad division.

Top Player: Carmelo Anthony -- When healthy, Anthony is one of the best scorers in the game. The Knicks may be in flux, but they have a franchise player ready to go.

Top Coach: Brad Stevens -- The young Boston coach has endured losses without losing hope, and the Celts seem ready to turn a corner with a terrific young coach at the helm.

Coach on Hot Seat: Lionel Hollins -- To be clear, I don't really think Hollins is on the hot seat. But, considering everyone else is committed to rebuilding and Dwane Casey just got an extension in Toronto, it's process of elimination.

Top Rookie: Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia 76ers -- He was nearly the top pick, but fell to Philly at the three spot. Could end up being the steal of the Draft.

-- Lang Whitaker