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The Southeast Division has endured one of the more tumultuous offseasons in the NBA. With the NBA season growing nearer, we’ll take a look at how competitive the teams are looking amongst each other.
The Miami Heat won the Southeast last year, but their lack of improvement this offseason can be considered an issue. Meanwhile, their main competition, the Atlanta Hawks, have bolstered their roster by acquiring an All-Star. That isn’t enough to rule out the other teams from taking the division crown though!
Let’s take a closer look at the Southeast Division!
Odds taken from Caesars Sportsbook
It may be hard to see Atlanta winning the division now, but their improvement over the summer can’t be overlooked. With the unique combination of youth and talent on their side, they have an excellent chance at overtaking the aging Miami Heat.
Atlanta Hawks to Win Southeast Division (+350)
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Coach: Erik Spoelstra
2021-22 Record: 53-29 (1st in Southeast, 1st in East)
2021-22 Result: Lost in NBA Eastern Conference Finals (2-4 vs. BOS)
Key Additions: (F) Nikola Jovic
Key Losses: (F) Markieff Morris, (F) P.J. Tucker
He didn’t have the greatest postseason but Kyle Lowry’s impact for the Heat when he was on the court was significant. He did this in G6 at BOS on one hamstring. Imagine a Lowry next season healthy, without the personal troubles, and in Heat shape. His demise has been exaggerated. pic.twitter.com/q3mslEhoAE
— Naveen Ganglani (@naveenganglani) September 15, 2022
The Miami Heat are coming off of a season where they failed to reach the NBA Finals. While the Conference Finals is certainly an accomplishment, time is not on the side of Pat Riley’s win-now roster. Their outlook this offseason isn’t quite as bright as last year.
Usually a wizard in the offseason marketplace, Pat Riley hasn’t had one of his most notable summers. With few draft picks, Miami didn’t acquire many young prospects. Notably, their free agency period ended in the loss of key players P.J. Tucker and Markieff Morris.
The re-signing of Caleb Martin and Victor Oladipo will help, but Miami haven’t yet replaced what they lost in the offseason. If the likes of Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo can’t reach All-Star levels, the Heat may tumble down the rankings.
Coach: Nate McMillan
2021-22 Record: 43-39 (2nd in Southeast, 9th in East)
2021-22 Result: Lost in NBA Eastern Conference First Round (1-4 vs. MIA)
Key Additions: (G) Dejounte Murray, (G) A.J. Griffin, (G) Aaron Holiday
Key Losses: (F) Gorgui Dieng, (G) Kevin Huerter, (F) Danilo Gallinari
First time playing together on the court and they put on A SHOW!!! ?
Dejounte Murray: 39 PTS | 9 REB | 7AST
Trae Young: 37 PTS | 13 AST
John Collins: 27 PTS | 17 REB
Can the season start already?? pic.twitter.com/DX8BtiiNfN
— ❆ (@TraesMuse) August 1, 2022
The Atlanta Hawks struggled last season, failing to make improvements on the positives of their recent playoff run. However, General Manager Landry Fields has made some significant improvements to the Hawks roster that makes them potential Eastern Conference contenders.
When looking at the losses on the Hawks side this offseason, it’d be fair to think they’ve become weaker. To combat their losses, Dejounte Murray, Aaron Holiday, and A.J. Griffin have joined the Hawks – significantly bolstering their talent a the expense of depth.
The key for Atlanta will be whether or not they can put it all together. Already a scoring-capable side, the Hawks will need to solve the defensive issues that plagued them all of last season. If head coach Nate McMillan can make their defence even half as good as their offence was last year, the Hawks will be a real threat for the Southeast Division.
Coach: James Borrego
2021-22 Record: 43-39 (3rd in East, 10th in East)
2021-22 Result: Lost in NBA Eastern Conference Play-In (vs. ATL)
Key Additions: (C) Mark Williams
Key Losses: (F) Miles Bridges, (C) Montrezl Harrell
NUMBER ONE ? @MELOD1P | @ashahahmadi pic.twitter.com/9vPwAgdPIn
— Bally Sports: Hornets (@HornetsOnBally) September 12, 2022
The trajectory of the Charlotte Hornets hasn’t been as promising as initially thought since the drafting of LaMelo Ball. While Ball has developed into a splendid player, the Hornets front office has struggled to put a competitive lineup around him.
After losing Montrezl Harrell in free agency and Miles Bridges to off-court issues, the Hornets are significantly lacking in talent. The addition of Mark Williams to the roster is a benefit, but for another straight season Charlotte will be looking to their Ball and Rozier backcourt to produce.
With a significant lack of reinforcements in one of the East’s more improved divisions, the Hornets don’t look like challengers for the division title. Miles Bridges’ off-court issues may define whether or not Charlotte can make another run for the Play-In.
Coach: Wes Unseld
2021-22 Record: 35-47 (4th in Southwest, 12th East)
2021-22 Result: Failed to qualify for NBA Playoffs
Key Additions: (G) Will Barton, (G) Johnny Davis, (G) Monte Morris
Key Losses: (C) Thomas Bryant, (G) Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, (G) Raul Neto
end of summer hoops ? pic.twitter.com/RdqspjZx5Y
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) September 13, 2022
The Washington Wizards are hoping to get back in the playoff race this season. After a year off from post-season play, Washington has taken steps toward surrounding Bradley Beal with the necessary role players to compete with the best in the conference.
The Wizards have done well to shore up their guard depth, in order to not rely on Bradley Beal as much on the offensive side of the ball. Monte Morris and Will Barton are excellent players, but the performance of Kristaps Porzingis will determine the level of success that they can reach.
Beal is the man for Washington in the long haul. After signing a five-year $251 million contract, there’s nowhere else for the Wizards front office to turn. They won’t be winning the division or going on a deep playoff run, but they have more than enough get back in the playoffs.
Coach: Jamahl Mosley
2021-22 Record: 22-60 (5th in Southeast, 15th in East)
2021-22 Result: Failed to qualify for NBA Playoffs
Key Additions: (F) Paolo Banchero, (F) Caleb Houstan
Key Losses: (C) Robin Lopez, (F) Ignas Brazdeikis
Paolo Banchero is the best player in the draftpic.twitter.com/IcUqW1ZznB
— The Brotherhood (@BrotherhoodCBB) April 20, 2022
The Orlando Magic are still very much in the rebuilding stage, but after using the number one overall pick to select Paolo Banchero they look to be taking steps in the right direction. While a playoff spot would be nice, their season is surely focused on helping the growth of their young core.
After settling on an impressive group of young guards and wings, Banchero was the biggest change to the Magic roster. He’ll slot in immediately as a scoring option while being flanked by versatile scorers and defenders like Franz Wagner and Mo Bamba.
The Magic could prove the public wrong by making a massive jump and challenging for the Eastern Conference playoffs, but their offence is still a work in progress. The Southeast Division crown is not in their reach.
Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.
Email: [email protected]More info on Christian Jope
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