NBA 2013-2014 Southeast Division Preview

Other than the Miami Heat, this division is weak overall. The Atlanta Hawks lost talent. The Orlando Magic are very young and inexperienced —they will not be a strong team this year. In the future? Yes, possibly. But not now. The Washington Wizards have a lot to prove this year. This is John Wall’s year to break out in the league, and if he wants to do that, he needs to be consistent throughout this season and help lead his team to the playoffs. And then there are the Charlotte Bobcats, who have been consistently bad. It is clear that the Heat will run away with this division.

Miami Heat looking to win a third straight title this year.  Photo courtesy of CBS News.

Miami Heat (Last Season 66-16):

Coming off of back-to-back NBA championships, an Olympic gold medal, two season MVPs, and two NBA Finals MVPs, Lebron James is looking to lead the Heat to a third straight title. All their key pieces remain, and Lebron James is still the best player on planet Earth. Will they buckle under the pressure against all the teams in the league gunning for them? Or will their championship experience lead them to the glorified three-peat?

Key Additions: C Greg Oden, SF Michael Beasley

Key Subtractions: SG Mike Miller, C Juwan Howard

Biggest Question: Which Dwyane Wade can we expect this season? It is clear that the current D-Wade is nowhere close to what the old D-Wade. His body is constantly breaking down and even when he plays, he is not playing at 100 percent. This year he insists that he will be healthy and back to the dominant player he once was, but that remains to be seen. Another question that will be asked throughout this season: does Lebron even need a 100 percent D-Wade to win another ring?

Prediction: 1st seed out of 8 seeds in the East

Atlanta Hawks (Last Season: 44-38):

The Atlanta Hawks are an interesting team in that they are always “decent.” They’ve been a consistent playoff team for six years in a row, yet no team seems to ever be scared of them. Even when they were a top four team, you never heard anyone say, “I think the Hawks are going to win it all this season.” This year won’t be any different.

Key Additions: PF Paul Millsap, PF Elton Brand

Key Subtractions: PF Josh Smith, PG Devin Harris, F Zaza Pachulia

Biggest Question: Is it possible the Hawks are actually better without Josh Smith? Talent wise: no, they are not. However, now without Smith’s more-than-questionable shot selection and poor shooting, switching in Paul Millsap may provide the Hawks with better team play. This is Jeff Teague’s chance to prove himself as an above-average point guard and Al Horford’s chance to finally get recognized as the exceptional player that he is.

Prediction: 9th in East out of 15 teams

Washington Wizards (Last Season: 29-53):

John Wall must take his game to the next level this year. Photo courtesy of Hoopistani.

This Wizards team is good enough to make the playoffs. The question is: “is it worth it?” John Wall has said that it’s his goal to finally be a playoff team, but the fact of the matter is that they will get knocked off in the first round, regardless of who they face. Would it be better to tank and get a high draft pick? Apparently not, according to the Wizards.

Key additions: SF Otto Porter, G Eric Maynor, F Al Harrington, C Marcin Gortat

Key Subtractions: C Emeka Okafor

Biggest Question: Could John Wall continue his progression in this league and lead his team to the playoffs? It will be difficult, but definitely possible. However, I’m not sure that it will get done. I think Wall has what it takes to be a good point guard in this league, but I’m not sold on whether his supporting cast can help him along the way (with the exception of Nene and Bradley Beal).

Prediction: 10th in East out of 15 teams

Orlando Magic (Last Season: 20-62):

This is a very young team that isn’t going to make any noise in the East this year. But with Nikola Vucevic and No. 2 overall pick Victor Oladipo, this youth could give Orlando fans something to cheer about for years to come.

Key Additions: G Victor Oladipo, F Jason Maxiell

Key Subtractions: G Beno Udrih, F Al Harrington

Biggest Question: Will Victor Oladipo live up to the hype? Many experts are predicting that the 21-year-old rookie will be the NBA’s top rookie this coming season. But will his transition from shooting guard to point guard halt his growth as a player, or will it help him flourish in this league? He does not have much talent surrounding him, so it will not be easy, but it will definitely be exciting to see how he leads this young team.

Prediction: 12th in East out of 15 teams

Will Michael Jordan ever turn around this franchise? Photo courtesy of The Best Sports Blog.

Charlotte Bobcats (Last Season: 21-61):

Oh, Bobcats. They can never seem to make the right decisions, from the executive office all the way down to the court. This is a perennial lottery team, and it doesn’t look like that is going to change anytime soon.

Key Additions: C Al Jefferson, PF/C Cody Zeller

Key Subtractions: F Byron Mullens

Biggest Question: Can Kemba Walker continue his development as an underrated guard in the league? How will Al Jefferson’s presence help this young squad?

Prediction: 14th in East out of 15 teams

To Read Our Other Division Preview:

Atlantic Division

Central Division

Southeast Division

Pacific Division

Northwest Division

Southwest Division

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