The Atlantic Division has lost 14 straight games.— Michael Levin (@Michael_Levin) November 20, 2013
Because the Sixers play the Raptors tomorrow, someone in the Atlantic Division is guaranteed to win a game!— Michael Levin (@Michael_Levin) November 20, 2013
Sheesh. And I thought the NFC East was bad.
Heading into this season, it seemed like there was a clear dichotomy between the organizational philosophies of the Atlantic Division's five teams. On one end of the spectrum, the Brooklyn Nets and New York BARGS eschewed the future and made moves toward contention this year. On the other end, the Sixers and Boston Celtics seemed to be in full-on rebuilding mode.
Somewhere in the middle sat the Toronto Raptors, a team with too much veteran talent to outright tank, but also not enough to be anything more than first-round fodder. The man who inherited this murky Raptors situation over the summer, GM Masai Ujiri, isn't tied to most of the current Raptors. Many in Canada have speculated that the highly respected Ujiri would (wisely) be willing to trade his best players for a chance to enter Tankapalooza.
Here's the rub, and mind you, it's still very early: The 4-7 Raptors, as constituted, might very well be the best team in the division. So far this season, if you look at things like point differential, it honestly hasn't been that close. The problems for Toronto are still very real, as they're led by two low-efficiency chuckers in Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan. Even so, they still might be the best team.
What Ujiri decides to do in the next couple of weeks will be very interesting. His team is clearly good enough to win the Atlantic Division and receive a charity top-four seed. But is that pursuit ultimately worth it in the long run?
The Sixers, on the other hand, had a horrible road trip that wouldn't be all that much fun to recap. The good news is that after practicing today, Michael Carter-Williams will likely return to the lineup after missing four games with a bruised arch in his left foot. Guarding pugnacious Philly product Kyle Lowry, arguably the Raptors' best player so far this year, will be another tough test on the Point Guard Merry-Go-Round.