Since the NBA switched to a three-division format (the expansion in 2004), the Southeast has been the shallowest in terms of talent. They’ve never really had more than one good team compared to the Western and Eastern divisions, which have had more than one great team for many years. While there were some good teams (Heat of 2005-06 and the 2008-09 Magic) they were more imposters than contenders.
Duh, but they do have the Miami Heat now.
Last year, the division also managed to have three .500 teams (that’s only happened thrice in nine years) but it’s going back to it’s usual lacklustre history this season, with Miami favourites to win this season and no one really challenging them or any other team at all.
Still with Washington improving and the new look Hawks and Magic, the division might get a little interesting. Let’s take a look:
And oh about the Bobcats? Well, the less said about them the better. Sorry, can’t get over these Bobcats jokes.
Players Added: Lou Williams, Kyle Korver, Anthony Morrow, James Anderson, Devin Harris
Players Released: Joe Johnson, Kirk Hinrich, Marvin Williams
This off-season Hawks hired former San Antonio Spurs player & assistant coach Danny Ferry as their GM and the first move he made was to dump off Joe Johnson massive contract. Johnson was kind of a franchise-face who didn’t played in the recent All-Star game, who was earning like a franchise-face but couldn’t perform like one (see Kobe Bryant & Kevin Durant). I actually liked Joe Johnson but that doesn’t mean his absence will do Hawks any harm.
They replaced him with speedy guard Devin Harris, assertive Lou Williams and probably got the best two 3-point shooters in the league in Kyle Korver & Anthony Morrow.
They’ve still got an all-star front-court in Josh Smith & Al Horford; with Jeff Teague to run the point. So they are probably a lock-on for the playoffs. How far they will go that still a question?
Prediction: 4-8 in East and then I’m betting on a first round exit.
Players Added: Michael Kidd Gilchrist (via Draft), Ramon Sessions, Brendan Haywood, Ben Gordon
Players Released: DJ Augustin, Corey Magette
The Bobcats are the Bobcats and I think for a few seasons they’ll remain the same. They missed out on Anthony Daviswith, the Draft lottery and then drafted MKG, who is probably the most hard-working of this year’s class and has amazing potential. Still with Ramon Sessions running your point and Brendan Haywood as your starting centre, you can’t see a lot of wins, but the team looks way better than the one the last year.
Prediction: Will fight with Magic for second last place in both Southeast & East #Lotterybound.
Players Added: Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, Josh Harellson
Players Released: Juwan Howard, Ronny Turiaf, Eddy Curry.
The Miami Heat is where my money is on for winning the Eastern Conference unless Boston goes old-school and Derrick Rose’s comeback is Michael Jordan-esque. Heat winning the Southeast is pretty much 100 %.
The players they released this season were probably the ones that were getting the least time on their roster, so it isn’t much of a loss. Put into perspective who’ve they replaced that lot with: probably the greatest 3-point shooter in Ray Allen, another triple-threat in Rashard Lewis and a decent big-man in Josh Harrellson, who is younger than the released trio.
Then there is LeBron James, the greatest basketball player in the league right now, coming off a championship win. Only good things can happen from here.
Prediction: Wins Southeast, #1 in East; into NBA finals and kills it.
Players Added: Andrew Nicholson & Kyle O’Quinn (via draft), Arron Affalo, Gustavo Ayon, Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless, AL Harrington.
Players Released: Dwight Howard, Jason Richardson, Ryan Anderson.
Confusing.That pretty much sums up Orlando’s past off-season. They signed 30-year-old Jameer Nelson for a $20 million on a 3-year contract and then traded Ryan Anderson because they want to rebuild.
I mean, who signs a 30-year guard for $20 millions when you want to rebuild? You need experience; you can get it on the cheap.
But the bad thing is that it doesn’t even end here.
They had to trade Dwight and they were never going to get an replacement as capable as D-12. And then they didn’t unload Hedo Turkoglu contract with it. Something is really wrong with their boardroom.
However, I don’t think their season is going to be that bad (like the Bobcats 2011-12, sorry I couldn’t help myself.)
Prediction: 13-15 in East, definitely lottery bound and if not, they’ll trade someone to make them for obvious rebuilding reasons.
Players Added: Bradley Beal (via draft), Martell Webster, Trevr Ariza, Emeka Okafar
Players Released: Rashard Lewis, Andray Blatche
The Washing Wizards are looking way better than last season. Bradley Beal is certainly a good pick-up and he’ll fit in well for them. Plus Webster, Ariza & Okafar are decent players off the bench if not starters.
John Wall will have better team-mates (minus Javale Mcgee) so he might have a career year. Their defense (Okafar- Nene- Ariza) looks pretty solid and putting into fact that Randy Wittmann is an old-school coach only helps the cause.
This season will definitely be something totally different in recent years. Gone are the likes McGee, Blatche & Young, their locker room will be a lot more professional this year.
It’s set up perfectly for the Wizards to show some magic, this season.
Prediction: 9-11 in East