NBA Preview: Southeast Division
The Heat will look to make it back-to-back-to-back this season and there is no reason to see why they can’t. They don't have much competition in the division and should clinch it maybe in February. LeBron James was sensational once again last season winning yet another MVP Award and there are no signs of looking back. The only Heat loss in the offseason was Mike Miller, but don’t overlook the addition of Greg Oden. If Oden can stay healthy, this team is even more dangerous, which is scary to think after going 66-16 last season. The big three are back and so is the depth that got them to their second straight NBA title. The only problem this season is that they have a lot more competition than last year with the reture of Derrick Rose and the new-look Brooklyn Nets.
2. Atlanta Hawks (42-40)
The Hawks lost their star Josh Smith in the offseason, but the addition of Paul Millsap was pivotal to their frontcourt. He joins Al Horford as well as Elton Brand to form a pretty nice low post presence for the Hawks. A player to watch out for this season alongside Jeff Teague will be rookie German point guard Dennis Schroeder, who has some explosiveness. He could play a big role for this team. Millsap was overlooked in Utah by Al Jefferson, but he should play a pivotal part of the success the Hawks have this season. Look for Atlanta to get into the playoffs, but to get swept in the first round.
3. Washington Wizards (36-46)
With John Wall in the lineup healthy, this Wizards team has a decent chance at having a pretty good season. They were 5-28 without Wall in the lineup and 24-25 when him and last year’s top pick Bradley Beal were on the floor. This team will see a ton of improvement and still have Nene in the paint and recently acquired Marcin Gortat, which makes things very interesting. Gortat is a huge upgrade over Emeka Okafor, who has never been able to carry a team. Gortat is a double-double machine that should make up for the lack of rebounding from Nene. This will be a fun team to watch and Wizards fans should be excited because it is not out of the realm to see this team in the playoffs this season.
4. Orlando Magic (28-54)
The Magic were abysmal last season, finishing worst than the Bobcats with just 20 wins. This team has some solid young talent and could be fun to watch this season. Victor Oladipo was a great lottery pick and could turn out to be Rookie of the Year. Tobias Harris showed signs of promise along with Nikola Vucevic and Moe Harkless. This team is by no means going to the playoffs, but the pieces are starting to come together as they have some quality young players. Oladipo alone is explosive and should get this team a couple more wins singlehandedly.
5. Charlotte Bobcats (26-56)
The Bobcats can’t any worse from their 21-win season last year. They added some much-needed depth in the post signing big man Al Jefferson and drafting Cody Zeller, but that’s about it. Jefferson and Kemba Walker will have to carry this young, inexperienced squad that will continue to go through growing pains. This team will definitely win some more games because of Jefferson alone and Walker's scoring ability. The Bobcats could become more relevant this season, they they are still a couple of moves away from being entered in the playoff discussion.