2008-09 Prediction: Celtics still the ones in Atlantic

Our collective wisdom: For the second season in a row, the Boston Celtics will rule the Atlantic Division. Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

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.