The NBA is split into conferences and divisions and the NBA division conference league consists of 30 basketball teams. The NBA is split as follows: firstly, there are two conferences – the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. These two conferences each have 15 teams and are split into three divisions – with five teams per division. The Atlantic division is part of the Eastern Conference (previously called the Eastern Division) alongside the Central division and the Southeast division.
The Atlantic division began back in 1970-71 and is one of the older divisions in the NBA. Its inaugural season was when the NBA league expanded from 14 to 17 teams – when the Buffalo Braves, Cleveland Cavaliers and Portland Trail Blazers joined. It was then that the NBA league realigned into two conferences. However, back then there were only two divisions per conference.
The Atlantic Division consists of five top NBA teams:
- The Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia
- Boston Celtics, Boston, Massachusetts
- Brooklyn Nets, Brooklyn, New York
- New York Knicks, New York
- Toronto Raptors, Toronto
The Celtics, Knicks and 76ers all joined from the original Eastern Division, The Toronto Raptors were originally part of the Central Division and the Brooklyn Nets came over from the ABA.
The Atlantic Division is home to one of the historically most successful teams – the Boston Celtics, who have had some incredible successes in the past. However, the division has changed over time. The four inaugural members of the division were The Celtics, the Buffalo Braves, The NY Knicks and the 76ers.
Since 1970, the most Atlantic Division titles have been won by the Boston Celtics, who have won 22 times in all. Despite not being current champions right now, they are considered by many as the best team in the division historically as they have won 6 NBA Championships. However, the division has produced three other NBA champions – the New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors who have all been NBA Champions once. One of their finest moments was in the 1983-84 season when every team in the division qualified for the playoffs. The current division champions are the 76ers – making it their 6th division league title.
The Atlantic Division 2020/21 Season
This was the year of the Philadelphia 76ers, who managed to take the title by getting the best regular season record. This saw them clinching the division NBA championship for the sixth time. By the end of the season, they earned themselves the best regular-season record with a win/loss ratio of 49-23, which saw them edging the Brooklyn Nets into second by just one match… coming in with a win/loss ratio of 48/24. The Knicks managed 3rd place with 41-21. However, it was a disappointing season for the Raptors who finished with a record of 27-45 and a winning percentage of just 0.3
Atlantic Division NBA Results
Atlantic Division Team W L PCT GB (Games Behind)
Philadelphia 76ers (c) 49 23 .681 0
Brooklyn Nets (x) 48 24 .667 1
New York Knicks (x) 41 31 .569 8
Boston Celtics (x) 36 36 .500 13
Toronto Raptors 27 45 .375 22
- (C): Clinched Division title and got home-court advantage
- (x) Clinched playoff berth
- (o) Eliminated from playoff contention teams
History of the Atlantic Division
The Atlantic Division is one of the older divisions of the six divisions in the National Basketball Association. It has been a very successful division, having brought us four NBA champions and a total of 9 NBA Championships. The Boston Celtics have won the NBA Championships 6 times in 1973/74, 1975/76, 1980/81, 1983/84, 1986/86 and 2007/08. The 76ers, New York Knicks and Toronto Raptors have also won the NBA Finals.
This is known for being one of the stronger divisions in the league and it has several all-star players. The 1980s were a very strong period for the teams when the Celtics and 76ers both managed NBA Finals wins. Moreover, in 1983-84, every single team qualified for playoffs and in the season before that, all of the teams managed a winning percentage over 0.500.
In these 50+ years that it has been around, there have been a number of teams that have come and gone from the division. Former teams – team, city, year and current division include:
Team Current Division Joined Left
Buffalo Braves (LA Clippers) Pacific Division 1970 1978
Charlotte Hornets Southeast Division 1988 1989
Miami Heat Southeast Division 1989 2004
Orlando Magic Southeast Division 1991 2004
Washington Wizards Southeast Division 1978 2004
The Atlantic Division Titles
Since the 1970s, there have been many different teams that have come and gone, with Miami Heat and Orlando Magic joining from the Midwest Division and leaving to the Southeast Division, Washington Wizards, Buffalo Braves and Charlotte Hornets all having been central to the division at one point or another. Since 2000, here are the teams that have won the Atlantic Division team titles.
- 2020-21 winners: The 76ers 49-23 Lost conference semifinals
- 2019-20 winners: The Raptors 53-19 Lost conference semifinals
- 2018-19 winners: The Raptors 58-24 WON NBA finals
- 2017-18 winners: The Raptors 59-23 Lost conference semifinals
- 2016-17 winners: The Celtics 53-29 Lost conference finals
- 2015-16 winners: The Raptors 56-25 Lost conference finals
- 2014-15 winners: The Raptors 49-33 Lost conference finals
- 2013-14 winners: The Raptors 48-34 Lost first round
- 2012-13 winners: The Knicks 54-28 Lost conference semifinals
- 2011-12 winners: The Celtics 50-16 Lost conference finals
- 2010-11 winners: The Celtics 56-26 Lost conference semifinals
- 2009-10 winners: The Celtics 50-32 Lost NBA finals
- 2008-09 winners: The Celtics 62-20 Lost conference semifinals
- 2007-08 winners: The Celtics 66-16 WON NBA finals
- 2006-07 winners: The Raptors 47-35 Lost first round
- 2005-06 winners: The Nets 49-33 Lost conference semifinals
- 2004-05 winners: The Celtics 45-37 Lost first round
- 2003-04 winners: The Nets 47-35 Lost conference semifinals
- 2002-03 winners: The Nets 49-33 Lost NBA finals
- 2001-02 winners: The Nets 52-30 Lost NBA finals
- 2000-01 winners: The 76ers 56-26 Lost NBA finals
Atlantic Division Top 5 Players
As you can see, this is a hugely successful division and has seen some of the best players in the entire NBA. At this time, here are the Atlantic Division players that we think are the best right now!
- Joel Embiid – The 76ers Center
- Kevin Durant – Brooklyn Nets Small Forward, Power Forward and Shooting Guard
- Julius Randle – New York Knicks Power Forward and Center
- Jayson Tatum – Boston Celtics Small Forward and Power Forward
- Pascal Siacam – Toronto Raptors Power Forward
Atlantic Division FAQs
Which Were the Playoff Teams in 2020/21?
It was a good year for the Atlantic division in 2020-21, with four of the five teams managing to get into the playoffs – it was the Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, NY Knicks and Boston Celtics that managed to clinch playoff spots. Unfortunately, the Toronto Raptors didn’t manage to get a spot last season.
Which Season Was The Most Successful for Atlantic Division Teams?
The 1982-83 Atlantic Division denotes team successes like no other, with all five member teams managing to reach the playoffs. However, The year before, all of the member teams managed winning percentages over 0.500
Who Has Won the Most in the Atlantic Division?
The most successful team has been the Boston Celtics, who have won the division title 22 times and the NBA finals 6 times.
Which Team Won the Atlantic Division 2020-21?
It was the year of the Sixers. This was the team that managed the best regular-season record and the best winning percentage of 0.681 in the 2020-21 season