2008-09 Prediction: Celtics still the ones in Atlantic
Our experts predict which team will win the Atlantic Division.
Editor's note: We asked our panel of NBA experts, "Who will win the Atlantic Division?"
1. Boston Celtics: 18 votes (unanimous)
Henry Abbott, ESPN.com's TrueHoop: It's very hard to pick against KG and his ridiculous motor, though this team is a year older and sorely missing James Posey.
J.A. Adande, ESPN.com: They put the "defend" into defending champs.
Maurice Brooks, ESPN.com: With the addition of Elton Brand, the Sixers will be better, just not as good as the defending champs.
Chris Broussard, ESPN Mag: Still the class of a much-improved division.
Ric Bucher, ESPN Mag: Losing James Posey and the Raptors' getting Jermaine O'Neal doesn't result in a 25-game swing.
Chad Ford, ESPN.com: Philly has a chance to give the Celtics a run for the division title, but barring a major injury in Boston, the Celtics have too much star power.
John Hollinger, ESPN.com: You were expecting New Jersey?
Scoop Jackson, ESPN.com
Mark Jackson, ESPN: They are the returning champions and still feature the big three.
Tim Legler, ESPN: They have everything they need to repeat. Maintaining their hunger won't be an issue with KG's leadership and intensity.
Keith Lipscomb, ESPN.com Fantasy: No need to try to get fancy here.
Jackie MacMullan, ESPN: KG has turned them into defensive
Chris Palmer, ESPN Mag: No reason to believe the C's won't show that rock-solid team chemistry and pressure D that got them their first title since Bird & Co.
Jack Ramsay, ESPN Radio:
The same team, less Posey. Expect improved play from Rondo, Powe, Davis and Tony Allen, a little help from O'Bryant, the same leadership and game input from KG, and the same D by Tom Thibodeau.
Jalen Rose, ESPN: The defending champs will not be content or satisfied, knowing they have a legit chance to repeat.
David Thorpe, Scouts Inc.: I don't believe the Celts will grind out every possession just as intensely as last year, but it'll be close. If Pierce continues what he started in the Finals, they'll have the best record again.
Chris Sheridan, ESPN.com: No temptation here to pick Elton Brand and Philly, especially after watching how Kevin Garnett shut down EB three weeks ago. If Tony Allen can fill James Posey's shoes, complacency is their only concern.
Marc Stein, ESPN.com: No one cracks Titanic Division jokes any more, but the major upgrades in Philadelphia and Toronto aren't major enough to worry the Celts.
MORE NBA HEADLINES
- Judge rules for S. Sterling in sale of Clippers
- NBPA taps 1st big league female union chief
- Sources: Clippers' Griffin has back fracture
- Bulls' Rose: Confidence 'through the roof'
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
2008-09 NBA PREDICTIONS
Let the games begin. And for that matter, the story lines, too. The 2008-09 NBA season is here, and our experts make predicitons. Titles | Awards
TITLES• Atlantic Division champ
• Southeast Division champ
• Central Division champ
• Southwest Division champ
• Northwest Division champ
• Pacific Division champ
• Eastern Conference champ
• Western Conference champ
• NBA champ
AWARDS• Rookie of the Year
• Defensive Player of the Year
• Sixth Man of the Year
• Most Improved Player
• Coach of the Year
• Most Valuable Player
PREVIEWS• East Dime previews
• West Dime previews
• ESPN The Mag preview
• Simmons: Fantasy preview
• 2008-09 Preview index
SPORTSNATION• Vote: Over/Under East
• Vote: Over/Under West
• Vote: NBA season predictions
• Vote: NBA awards
• Fans: Season predictions