2010-11 Southeast Division Preview
Welcome to the division that brings you all LeBron, all the time! So of course it only makes sense that the team that will win this division is the…
1. Orlando Magic
Surprised? You shouldn’t be. The Magic are as loaded as they were last season and will have the benefit of having played together for another year. Dwight Howard is the best center in the game and he has allegedly worked on his offensive game over the offseason. If he finds a post move or figures out how to hit a decent percentage of his free throws, it won’t even matter that he’s surrounded by some of the best shooters in the game. And they also play defense. What’s not to like about Orlando?
2. Miami Heat
OK, so here’s my rationale for sticking the Heat in the second spot. Dwyane Wade sat out the entire preseason. He’ll need some time to get himself right on the court. Mike Miller is out until the new year. This team won’t be full strength until at least January and they’ll be getting the kinks worked out on the fly. Does this mean they won’t be great come April? Not at all. But it does mean that they’ll get off to a slower start than people are anticipating. It also means they won’t sniff the Bulls’ 72 wins this season. But they’ll obviously be very good. And, because I’m contractually obligated to mention them all whenever I talk about the Heat, LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
3. Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks overpaid massively to keep Joe Johnson around this summer. THey really had no choice, as their franchise would have taken a huge step backward if he’d relocated. As such, there’s not much more money to go around. Which means they’re bringing back pretty much the same team as last year. This would be OK if they hadn’t be beaten into submission in the Playoffs and if the conference hadn’t improved so much. It’s entirely feasible to think that the Hawks might fall from third seed to seventh or eighth without actually getting worse.
4. Charlotte Bobcats
The Bobcats are unimpressive. They’re good defensively, but there aren’t any players that jump out at you offensively. Stephen Jackson is a quality player, but isn’t exactly first rate. I’d like Gerald Wallace more if he were a power forward. The Bobcats have so much faith in Boris Diaw that they tried to trade him in the offseason. And their big free agent signing was Kwame Brown. Yeesh.
5. Washington Wizards
The Wizards have loads of young talent. John Wall is the real deal and probably Rookie of the Year, Javale McGee, Andray Blatche, Nick Young, Al Thornton. There is a veteran presence with Kirk Hinrich, Josh Howard and Yi Jianlian to a lesser extent. And then there’s Gilbert Arenas, so is faking injuries, growing beards and proving to us all that he’s the same guy who thought it was a good idea to bring firearms into the locker room. If he was tradeable– meaning if he wasn’t making a massive amount of money and if teams were willing to deal with the distractions that he brings with him– he’d be gone. He’s not, so the Wizards are stuck with him. Hopefully, he doesn’t mess up a good thing since the roster here could be very good down the road.