Its new home, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn is finally unveiled for a regular season contest, against New York, with a revamped roster and the most important ingredient entering this: optimism.
Equipped with a pair of All-Stars in the back court, Brooklyn is seeking a division crown.
The Nets haven’t reached the playoffs in five years, as Boston has reigned supreme in the division and are hoping for a quick recovery after finishing with the sixth worst record in the NBA last season.
Brooklyn resigned three starters, brought in one of the most promising European players and completed a blockbuster trade to add a perennial All-Star at shooting guard.
Boston broke up its superstar trio, with the best 3-point shooter in league history fleeing South Beach to join the reigning champions.
The Knicks are still trying to figure out if their two superstars can coexist on the oldest roster in the league.
Philadelphia overhauled its roster by trading its best player in the post Allen Iverson era for an All-Star center.
The wait is over in Toronto as the fifth overall pick in the 2011 draft is ready to make his debut in a Raptors uniform.
Even with the departure of Ray Allen, the 2012-13 season is supposed to mark continuity in Boston.
Kevin Garnett has adapted to the center position and hopes to provide a defensive anchor to a team that desperately needs consistency.
Boston trotted out 19 different starting lineups in 66 regular season games last year, the fourth most in the league.
Smart Move: The Celtics were the worst rebounding team in the league last season, pulling down 38.8 rebounds per game. The team was able to address the need with the 21st pick in the 2012 NBA Draft by selecting Jared Sullinger. The former Ohio State star was one of the top rebounders in the nation and can provide a much needed scoring impact off the bench.
Questionable Move: With offensive talent available in free agency and in the draft, the only player expected to provide an impact is Jason Terry. Boston averaged just 91.9 points per game, the fifth lowest scoring average in the league.
Watch Out For: Exception ball movement. 66.5 percent of Boston’s field goals were assisted, the highest total in the NBA. As the team continues to become Rondo’s team, the entire roster should benefit, as he averaged a league high 11.7 assists per game.
The team recovered nicely after being on the brink of disaster.
Smart Move: The Nets quietly added Bosnian forward Mirza Teletovic to their bench. Teletovic averaged 16.3 points (on 46.3 percent field-goal shooting and a 36 percent mark from 3-point range) and 6.9 rebounds in 31.1 minutes per game last season for Caja Laboral of Spain’s Liga ACB, the country’s top league.
Questionable Move: After heavily pursuing Howard for months, the Nets backed out and decided to sign Lopez a four-year $60 million deal, more money than what Indiana resigned Roy Hibbert. Lopez played just five games because of a broken foot, but the 7-footer averaged just six rebounds per game his last full season in the league.
There is no more time for excuses.
Anthony thrives off running isolation plays, while Stoudemire needss to run the pick-and-roll and to have his shots set up for him.
Instead of trying to carry the team offensively, Anthony announced he was willing to take a step backin the offense as the Knicks posted a 31-40 record when he was in the starting lineup with Stoudemire and just 1-7 in the post season.
Smart Move: The Knicks have to wait until at least December for Iman Shumpert to return from injury, so the team signed Ronnie Brewer as a free agent. Although Brewer has to wait until the end of the month as he recovers from surgery, New York added a defensive specialist for the veteran’s minimum.
Questionable Move: The 2012-13 Knicks will be the oldest team in NBA history. Five players signed during the summer are over the age of 35 while the team let 23-year-old Jeremy Lin sign with Houston for financial reasons.
Watch Out For: Technical fouls. The Knicks already had a penchant for collecting the ire of referees, as Tyson Chandler tied for third in the league with 12 technicals while Stoudemire drew nine. Rasheed Wallace ended his retirement to join New York, once drew 41 technicals in a year, the all-time record.
Coach Doug Collins was able to maximize all of the talent he could out of Philadelphia’s roster.
The 76ers were just one victory away from reaching the Eastern Conference finals, even without a player averaging 15 points a game last season.
With a new focal point on the franchise, Philadelphia is hoping to put together an impressive enough season to convince Bynum, an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year, to resign with the team.
Smart Move: By moving Iguodala, the 76ers opened up more playing time and a larger role in the offense for Evan Turner. The former No. 2 overall pick hasn’t been the dominant all around player he was expected to become following an impressive career at Ohio State. With an increased role in the offense, Philadelphia will be able to determine if Turner can become a cornerstone of the franchise.
Questionable Move: Philadelphia exercised its amnesty clause on Elton Brand and immediately signed Kwame Brown. Brand’s contract would have expired at the end of this season, making him an attractive bargaining chip at the trade deadline. The 76ers will have plenty of money to pursue free agents this summer, but haven’t been able to sign an All-Star caliber player in decades, to trading Brand could have been a way to add talent to the roster.
Watch Out For: Rumors. Bynum was forced to sit out for three weeks following a knee procedure, limiting his time in training camp. If Philadelphia is unable to put together a successful season, Bynum, a two-time NBA champion, could easily walk away from the team at the end of the season and could be moved at the trade deadline.
Seven times in nine years, the Raptors ended their season by preparing for the NBA draft lottery.
Last season, Toronto selected Lithuanian power forward Jonas Valanciunas, a player believed to be the best prospect in the 2011 NBA Draft class other than Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving, with the fifth overall pick, but he remained in Europe last season.
The Raptors suffered, scoring just 90.7 points per game, the third fewest in the NBA.
Valanciunas is expected to become a legitimate low post threat, something Toronto has lacked for years and his presence could have an effect on the rest of the offense, opening up the perimeter, allowing open looks from 3-point range, a luxury the team didn’t have last year.
Smart Move: The Raptors landed Kyle Lowry by dealing away Gary Forbes, a player with just 13 career starts and a future first round pick. Lowry has the potential to become the first player to represent Toronto in the All-Star game since Chris Bosh in 2009-10.
Questionable Move: During the Raptors failed pursuit of Steve Nash, they signed Landry Fields to a four-year $20 million contract to prevent the Knicks from acquiring the All-Star point guard. Neither team landed Nash, but the Raptors for a player that significantly regressed during his sophomore season.
Watch Out For: Pressure. The Raptors averaged 6.5 steals per game, the third worst average in the league. Lowry averaged a career high 1.6 steals per game in Houston and the team selected Terrence Ross with the eighth overall pick. Ross is a 6-foot-6 guard is already making a push to become a starter for the Raptors.