2012-13 NBA Southeast Division Season Preview
2012-13 NBA Southest Division Season Preview
My 2012-13 NBA Season Previews roll on and today I will focus on in my opinion what is the weakest of the six divisions in the Association, the Southeast division. Even though this is the division where the defending NBA Champions reside there really aren't any other high quality teams here especially with the departure of two superstars during the off-season. Unfortunately in the Southeast the race for last place will be much closer and exciting than the race for first will be. I truthfully only see one team in this division reaching the Eastern Conference Playoffs maybe two, but it could very easily be just the one and I'm quite sure everyone knows which team that is.
#5 Charlotte Bobcats (12-70)
Last season: (7-59), fifth place in the division
It may be a new season but for the Charlotte Bobcats the results will be eerily similar to the horrific nightmare of a season which they endured last year. The pieces which they added during the off-season (Brendan Haywood, Ben Gordon and Ramon Sessions) aren't nearly enough to turn around the losing culture that has been built in Charlotte over the past few years. Fear not though Bobcats fans owner Michael Jordan has vowed to changed things around by letting his front office handle things from now on which means with the couple of pieces of young talent (last year's first round picks Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo along with this year's first round pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist) the team does have along with a few more pieces over the next couple seasons means that in a few years you guys could be mediocre or maybe even slightly better.
#4 Orlando Magic (25-57)
Last season: (37-29), third place in the division
Now that the Dwight Howard drama is finally over and done with the Orlando Magic can now go ahead with their plans of losing gracefully and eventually rebuilding. Remember they've been here before when Shaquille O'Neal left the Magic Kingdom for Hollywood, oh wait at least they had Penny Hardaway before he left and got hurt, so let me re-phrase that maybe that haven't been as bad off as they're about to be this season. It's now Glen Davis' team; huh......wait.........really did I just write that? Big Baby is the main focal point on an NBA franchise? Apparently it is and newly hired head coach Jacque Vaughan is in for a rude awakening (so are Orlando fans) in his first season as a lead guy in the NBA. I still can't believe that all the magic got in the Howard trade was Aaron Afflalo, Al Harrington and a bunch of draft picks which may or may not result in good players one day. Geez can you say, fleeced?
#3 Washington Wizards (30-52)
Last season: (20-46), fourth place in the division
This season the Washington Wizards will win 10 more games this season and that's not because they have improved but just simply because this year there will be the full 82 games and not 66 like last year and since the Magic got worse; so John Wall and company will be the beneficiaries of that ordeal, as a matter of fact if you want to fins a winner in this division from that trade its the Wiz. Seriously though Washington's first round draft pick Bradley Beal is going to be a big time player in the NBA and if he and Wall can gain some chemistry when Wall returns from his stress injury in his right knee then Washington might have a decent season. The Wizards also picked up Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza who should bring more of a defensive presence to the team.My biggest question about this team is; is Nene done or can he resurrect his career?
#2 Atlanta Hawks (43-39)
Last season: (43-39), second place in the division
The Atlanta Hawks a team that I have affectionately called the 6'8"'s for nearly four seasons (due to the fact that every player in starting lineup was around the height of 6'8" besides the point guard) are no more with the trades of Joe Johnson to the Brooklyn Nets and Marvin Williams to the Utah Jazz; so is this a new day in the A.T.L.? Probably not, at least not yet because the Hawks failed to replace these guys with players who were better or as good as them. Who knows what the front office was thinking when they decided to break up the 6'8"'s? Oh I know probably we can't have four of our four starters at pretty much the same height, the only problem with what Atlanta's brass did is that they kept the center and power forward (Al Horford and Josh Smith) who they should have traded for bigger players or at least traded someone for a center and moved Horford to the four and Smith to the three or something similar to that. As result to their negligence they will finish second in a terrible division and could still easily see themselves missing out on the postseason. P.S. why trade for Devin Harris when you already have Jeff Teague? Isn't Teague a more athletic, younger version of Harris???
#1 Miami Heat (56-26)
Last season: (46-20), first place in the division
The Miami Heat have already won the Southeast division before a single game has even been played; Atlanta and Orlando gave away any chance that they had at challenging the defending champs with the moves which they made in the off-season. LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris (I never need to drink champagne on camera again in my life) Bosh can put it on cruise control until about late March (so they can tune up for the postseason) because they should have no fear of losing this division. The two additions which Miami made during the off-season (Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis) will be interesting to see how they gel with the core of the team and if they will be apart of a repeat champion or the reason why they couldn't repeat, because clearly the monkey is off of Mr. James back now. It will also be interesting to see how much more Wade regresses following his off-season surgery and James continued dominance of the team. Will Mario Chalmers be able to hold off Norris Cole in the starting lineup, that's something else to watch for as well.