The NBA’s Titanic Division

When NBA analysts started referring to the NBAs Atlantic Division as the "Titanic" division around the All-Star Break, Allen Iverson might have taken notice. After the trade deadline, however, the only Titanic references around the Atlantic might come because of the Leo DiCaprio "I'm the King of World" smile on face.

From the moment the Philadelphia 76ers acquired Chris Webber from the Sacramento Kings, Iverson's smile cannot be contained. He has also spoken highly of his desire to show up for practice. Yeah — not just the games, he's talking about practice. While Iverson's sudden change of heart may be surprising to many who found amusement in Iverson's practice tirade, it is conceivable given the type of player that Iverson now has around him.

Webber is not Jerry Stackhouse, he is not Toni Kukoc or Tim Thomas or Larry Hughes or Keith Van Horn. He is, most definitely, not Glenn Robinson. None of these players meshed well with Iverson, and really, the writing was on the wall in every instance. For the first time in his time with the Sixers, other than when Dikembe Mutombo was in the frontcourt, Iverson has a player that is not going to take away from what Iverson brings to the table.

Webber is not young anymore. That's for sure. There was a moment in the game against Sacramento Saturday where Webber made an outlet pass, softly flicked his hand in the general direction of the game's flow, then stood there for eight seconds and watched the Sixers play four on five. The knees just didn't want to get up the floor. That's going to happen and the Sixers will have to accept that.

It might have hit them like a ton of bricks on Saturday night, as everyone on that Sixer team was energized by Webber's insertion into the lineup, but they'll get used to it.

Through practice. Through games.

Webber and Iverson are both intelligent players that also know that their careers are fragile and winding down. They both know that if they want to find a way to win a championship, they are going to have to come together as a tandem. They know this.

Maybe the biggest thing out of the Webber trade isn't what Webber provides scoring wise. In the past, all of the second mates to Iverson's number one haven't commanded a double team. Webber will get that from teams. The court will open up for Iverson as well as the secondary players that have already shown that they are capable of contributing. Kyle Korver will get more open looks from the perimeter, Andre Igoudala will get to slash to the basket more, and Samuel Dalembert will be allowed to roam a little bit more.

All that said, another team in the Atlantic might have something to say about the Sixers and what they plan to do in the Atlantic.

Obviously, the team in question doesn't play in New York. The Knicks' deadline deals are just a hair above the New Orleans Hornets in terms of making that playoff push. At least they unloaded Vin Baker, though.

The Boston Celtics, however, got better with the trade deadline. Putting aside whether or not the Atlanta Hawks cut Gary Payton and he comes back to the Celtics, Boston did get better with this deal. They get better rebounding the basketball and get a guy back who knows how to play with Paul Pierce in Antoine Walker. Alleviating some of the pressure put on Pierce's shoulders this season is huge for Boston.

The move also allows for Boston to find better minutes for Tony Allen, Delonte West, and Marcus Banks. West has received significant minutes the past two Celtics games and has had solid games in both. With Allen and West both impressing in Boston and with Ricky Davis providing good scoring, something had to give in the Celtics' backcourt.

Walker certainly wasn't Danny Ainge's first choice at the trade deadline. Sure, they brush off the bitter words from the past, but they still linger in the air. However, this is a business. It was better for the Celtics to add a player like Walker and to help out their frontcourt. It is also good for Walker to get out of Atlanta, because seriously, who wants to play there right now?

Boston and Philadelphia had one thing in common at the trade deadline, and that was to get better right away and also keep the young players around. This allows both teams to stay competitive and keep their fan bases happy, while also rebuilding for the future.

The Sixers got through the deadline without parting ways with Dalembert and Willie Green. This is something that was important to Sixers General Manager Billy King. It was also important to Iverson.

When rumors of Iverson wanting out of Philadelphia to a contender began to swirl before the trade deadline, Iverson made it clear that he wanted to stay in Philly and that he liked the young talent around him. He needed support and King found him that support.

Neither the Walker deal for Boston or the Webber deal for Philadelphia makes either team better than the Detroit Pistons or the Miami Heat right away. Those two teams are still the class of the East that will likely be playing for the right to go the NBA Finals. The deals were designed to make both teams better. To put them in a position where they have a shot to face those teams.

Before the deadline, this division was dead. The chances of Boston or Philadelphia winning a playoff series were slim at best. Iverson probably could have led the Sixers to a series win over the Baby Bulls or the Magic, but other than that, there wasn't much opportunity for them in postseason play.

To top all of this off, the New Jersey Nets will likely try and grab a piece of the Atlantic action with Vince Carter playing well. It is unlikely that three teams from the Atlantic will make the playoffs, but all three teams have shown that they care and will not quietly slip away.

It's more than what can be said about most NBA franchises.

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