Likely to turn out as one of the worst divisions in the NBA, the Southeast Division, the group already has their 2012-13 Division Champions, and that is the Miami Heat. There is no way the Hawks, Magic, Wizards and the Bobcats can compete with the Defending NBA Champions let alone the Eastern Conference.
The one team that has a decent shot in making the post-season are the Atlanta Hawks, and that’s because they traded their horrible contract of Joe Johnson to the Nets. They have great talent on the court, but I do see the Hawks struggling throughout the year. They should still be able to win over 40 games, but the bottom seed teams that I predict that will be there like the Bucks, Sixers and the Bulls may give them a hard time to reach the post-season and end up in 9th place instead. Devin Harris, Al Horford, DeShawn Stevenson and Josh Smith should all be able to compete for a shot at the 7th or 8th seed. Time will only tell. One thing is for sure though: the Hawks will have a lot of cap room to add the right pieces to compete in the coming seasons if they are able to add that piece.
The Washington Wizards may have the same up and down season like the Hawks with players like Nene, Ariza Treveor, Emeka Okafor, Jordan Crawford and John Wall. The Wizards are on the right path to become a playoff contending team, but Okafor has been slipping in pretty much in all categories since being drafted by the Bobcats in 2004. I believe that will continue as he has not been the player that we all thought he could be. However, both Crawford and Wall may be the key pieces for the Wizards this year and years to come. The past two years Crawford has averaged 15.5 points a game and 3.5 assists a game while Wall averages 16.4 points, 8.2 assists and 4.6 rebounds a game during his first two years in the NBA. Wall and Crawford are clearly the future of the Washington Wizards being the two guards that can lead this team. They are going to need help from their big man Nene who averaged 14.5 points and 7.5 rebounds last year in his first year with the Wizards after coming from Denver. Nene is going to need to help as being the big man for this team as I do believe Okafor will keep declining as I mentioned before. If the Wizards are able to keep both young Crawford and Wall then the Wizards should have great success in the future.
Everybody should know what to expect from the Orlando Magic this year. With the horrible drama of Dwight Howard all last season and throughout this off-season, the Magic have finally let the big man go. Since they did trade Howard, they have begun the early stages of rebuilding. There’s no doubt that the Magic will be in a rebuilding mode for more than couple of seasons. I expect that the Magic may end up trading Jameer Nelson before the trade deadline in February and doing so they may be able to get more draft picks for next June. The Magic are hoping that the same scenario will happen to them like with the Oklahoma City Thunder and that’s gathering all these draft picks in hoping to draft a player like Russell Westbrook or a James Harden. Expect the Magic to be on the bottom of the standings this year and a few more years to come.
The worst team last year, the Charlotte Bobcats, will be looking to forget the history making season they had. Last year, the Bobcats put up the worst winning percentage in the league’s history only winning 7 out of 66 games (10.6%). Don’t worry, Bobcats fan, your team will not break that record this year, but they should still be one of the worst teams in the NBA this season. They have made some improvements by getting Brendan Haywood, Ben Gordon and Ramon Sessions, but that’s all they really have. Do not expect the Bobcats to reach over 20 games this season because, honestly, I would be very surprised if they do. Personally, I would hate to see this franchise fold and see the greatest player of all time, Michael Jordan, become one of the worst owners of all time.
As for the Defending Champions of the NBA, the Miami Heat, there is really not much to say about them except that they should be a team that dominates all year long and throughout the post-season. LeBron James is not the best player of all time (yet), but he is the best player on the planet right now. There’s no doubt that the combination of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh that they will add another ring in their near future and with the addition of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis to go along with Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers, Shane Battier and Udonis Haslem, the Heat have added great dept to their roster and this year’s defending champs will be the favorites to win it all again.
1. Miami Heat 65-17
2. Atlanta Hawks 42-40
3. Washington Wizards 35-47
4. Orlando Magic 21-61
5. Charlotte Bobcats 15-67
ALL DIVISION RANKINGS: