Last season I commented on the Southeast Division being the most lacking in talent, but somehow this season they may have gotten even worse.
PG – Trae Young, Jeremy Lin
SG – Kent Bazemore, DeAndre Bembry
SF – Taurean Prince, Tyler Dorsey
PF – John Collins, probably some 6-10 240 white stiff
C – DeWayne Dedmon, Alex Len
A team which has (hopefully) hit rock bottom, but at least they are now stacked almost entirely with youth, so much that they needed to sign Vince Carter to bring the average age up by about 5 years.
They’ve got some nice pieces in 3rd year man Taurean Prince, 2nd year man John “don’t call me Phil” Collins, and rookie Trae Young, who will all get plenty of minutes and opportunity to succeed.
But with youth come losses, and although the Hawks won’t be Antoine Walker and Al Harrington bad, they’ll probably land somewhere in the Jason Terry and Dikembe Mutombo range.
Prediction: 5th (last) in the Southeast: 25-57
PG- Kemba Walker / Tony Parker
SG – Nicolas Batum / Jeremy Lamb
SF – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist / Miles Bridges
PF – Marvin Williams / Frank The Tank
C – Cody Zeller / Willy Hernangomez
A team in the dreaded middle-to-bottom range in the East, who have yet again brought back almost the same team. Last year they brought the band back together, and exactly matched their 36-win total. Anyone surprised?
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. How long before they trade Kemba and start again? Maybe MJ is waiting for the call up to put on a Hornets uniform and be the saviour. Too bad #23 is retired for Tom Tolbert’s one year stint as a rookie. It’s so untouchable, even Tolbert himself had to wear #39 when returning to the Hornets in his final year.
Prediction: 3rd in the Southeast: 36-46
PG – Goran Dragic / Tyler Johnson
SG – Dwyane Wade / Wayne Ellington
SF – Josh Richardson / Justise Winslow
PF – James Johnson / Kelly Olynyk
C – Hassan Whiteside / Bam Adebayo
There is a caveat here that at the time of writing, the Heat does not have Jimmy Butler. With or without him, the Heat should at least make the playoffs in the East, but even that is no lock. And if they get there, they’ll be as threatening as Miami Vice.
Whiteside and Dragic are good players, but not top level. Josh Richardson is still young, and could turn into a Jimmy Butler type, if the Heat don’t turn him into Jimmy Butler first. Otherwise a bit of a ho-hum and expensive roster.
Their claim to fame is as the only team in the division who has not had Dwight Howard. Yet. Wade’s farewell tour should go better than Kobe’s, but the Heat are still only headed for a #7 seed and quick first round exit. Still, good enough to get second place in this pitiful excuse for a divison.
Prediction: 2nd in the Southeast: 42-40
PG – DJ Augustin / JeriAN Grant
SG – Evan Fournier / Terrence Ross
SF – Jonathon Simmons / Melvin Frazier Jr
PF – Aaron Gordon / Jonathan Isaac
C – Nikola Vucevic / Mo Bamba
Well looky here. Another world beater.
Remember the last lockout? The Magic have only topped 30 wins once since then. At their worst this season they’ll be battling the Hawks for last overall in the East, at their best they’ll be around the Knicks-Nets territory, so yet again nothing for fans to get excited about.
Their PF and C positions are well covered, with Bamba’s defense and Vucevic’s offense making one great player between them. And Aaron Gordon is one leap away from being at All Star weekend for Sunday’s game instead of just the dunk contest. But their guard situation is a mess, somehow being uglier than the Elfrid Payton version peak fringe.
With some lottery luck next season, and a smart trade for one of their big guys (Vucevic?) they’ll be a couple of years away from the playoffs. Until then, watch re-runs of Scott Skiles’s 30 assist game for some quality Magic games.
Prediction: 4th in the Southeast: 26-56
PG – John Wall / Tomas Satoransky
SG – Bradley Beal / Austin Rivers
SF – Otto Porter Jr / Kelly Oubre Jr
PF – Markeiff Morris / Jeff Green
C – Dwight Howard / Ian Mahinmi
The team with the biggest floor-to-ceiling range in the East next season, in my opinion.
I can make a case where John Wall and Bradley Beal both have awesome seasons, Dwight Howard is a beast on the boards, the forwards bring it on defense, and Washington end up with the 3rd seed – similar to last year’s Portland.
However, I can also make a case that bringing Dwight Howard into an already tense locker room could be like bringing Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton back in there, and the season falls apart. Wall or Beal demand a trade or miss time through injury, Washington miss the playoffs altogether, and Howard ruins the Wizards as has been a recurring theme with most teams in this particular preview.
Prediction: 4th in the Southeast: 44-38