The 2021 season is just around the corner so today we break down what the Southeast division standings may look like at the season's end. Let's jump right into it.
I feel like the top of the division can go either way between Miami and Atlanta but I'm going to give the edge to the boys from South Beach. Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo, and Duncan Robinson are the core that got this thing going but now you add in Victor Oladipo and Kyle Lowry to the mix...whew. This team is talented enough to not only win the division but make a seriously deep run in the playoffs. There are not enough people talking about how good this Heat team is. If all things go right, this should be a 50-win team.
Trae Young helped lead the Hawks to the division title a year ago and that turned into a nice run in the playoffs making it all the way to the Eastern Conference finals before falling to the eventual champion, Milwaukee Bucks. Much of that team returns including center John Collins who agreed to stay with the organization on a 4-year, $125 million deal. The Hawks also added another offensive playmaker this offseason by drafting Auburn's Sharife Cooper in the 2nd round. With Young, Kevin Huerter, Lou Williams, Delon Wright, and De'Andre Hunter, Cooper may see limited minutes early in the season.
The star-studded talent is there for the Hornets, but not the depth. LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward, and Terry Rozier are all going to have to carry this team and stay healthy if they want a shot of making the postseason. Hayward's injury issues over the last four seasons are a bit of a concern, meaning someone like Miles Bridges will need to step up in production. Charlotte may have the most exciting team in the NBA but they are still a few pieces away from being a legitimate contender in the east.
After just one year, the Wizards traded Russell Westbrook to the Lakers in exchange for Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Montrezl Harrell. In my opinion, the Wizards got the better end of the deal. That's no slight to Westbrook because we all know the caliber of player he is but he is 32-years old. Now, you've got three guys in their mid-late 20s that can potentially build a winner around Bradley Beal. That said, they still need more of a presence on the inside. Once the Wizards acquire that missing piece, they'll be ready to take the next step. For now, I've got them checking in at 4th in the division.
The Magic have one of the younger teams in the NBA but have some potential stars in the making. Cole Anthony and Mo Bamba have shown flashes of their game that make you think they could turn out to be really good. Those two along with Wendell Carter Jr. and Jonathan Isaac give Orlando a good headstart on their rebuild. The one guy that may be able to right the ship is Jalen Suggs who was taken 5th overall in this year's NBA Draft. His college numbers at Gonzaga won't jump off the page but that team was loaded with talent. Head coach Mark Few leaned on Suggs in big moments when the Zags needed to get a bucket and Suggs often delivered. The Magic aren't ready to win right now but they could arrive sooner than expected.
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