Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Southeast Division NBA Preview

Atlanta Hawks - 40-26 last season. 5th seed in the playoffs. Lost to the Boston Celtics in the 1st Round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Ideal Rotation: Jeff Teague, Devin Harris, Anthony Morrow, Josh Smith, Al Horford / Lou Williams, DeShawn Stevenson, Kyle Korver, Anthony Tolliver, Zaza Pachulia

Storyline/s: The IsoJoe is no more, as the Nets sent assets down the dirrrty south to acquire the All-Star. They also rid themselves of the disappointment of Marvin Williams. Now, Larry Drew can reshape the team to what he'd like to envision. With the East being reshaped, they have a chance.

X-Factor/s: Lou Williams came home after leading the Sixers in scoring as its top offensive option of the bench.

Prognosis: Exiting the 1st round of the playoffs.

Charlotte Bobcats - 7-59 last season. Missed the playoffs.

Ideal Rotation: Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bismack Biyombo, Byron Mullens / Ramon Sessions, Ben Gordon, Reggie Williams, Tyrus Thomas, Brendan Haywood

Storyline/s: They were clearly the worst team in the NBA last year. How bad they were last season can be described as at an all-time worst. The new coach in Mike Dunlap will look to Kidd-Gilchrist to set the tone for everyone to follow.

X-Factor/s: Will Tyrus Thomas ever gain the maturity needed to be a positive influence for the team. Is Kemba ready to handle the playmaking chores full time?

Prognosis: Missing the playoffs.

Miami Heat - 46-20 record last season. Division Champions. Conference Champions. NBA Champions

Ideal Rotation: Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade, Shane Battier, Lebron James, Chris Bosh / Norris Cole, Ray Allen, Mike Miller, Rashard Lewis, Udonis Haslem, Joel Anthony

Storyline/s: They won the title. Can they do it again? How will Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis fit the Spoelstra scheme? Can Lebron handle his new-found role as a post presence. Is Chris Bosh fit to play slotman minutes? Wade's dynamic with James was made possible given his health status. With both healthy, it will be interesting what the structure turns out to become.

X-Factor/s: How Ray Allen adapts to his new role would probably determine how far the Heat go.

Prognosis: Division Champions. Eastern Conference Champions. NBA Champions.

Orlando Magic - 37-29 last season. 6th seed in the playoffs. Lost to the Indiana Pacers in the 1st Round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

Ideal Rotation: Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo, Hedo Turkoglu, Glen Davis, Gustavo Ayon / E'Twaun Moore, JJ Redick, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic

Storyline/s: Life after Dwight Howard begins for the Magic. Just as it was in life after Shaq. Former Orlando playmaker Jacque Vaughn returns to the Magic, this time as its head coach. Schooled under the Popovich line, the Magic are hoping they find a coaching gem the way Doc Rivers became for them years ago.

X-Factor/s: Will Big Baby step up to the plate and be the go-to-guy?

Prognosis: Missing the playoffs.

Washington Wizards - 20-46 last season. Missed the playoffs.

Ideal Rotation: John Wall, Martell Webster, Trevor Ariza, Nene, Emeka Okafor / AJ Price, Bradley Beal, Chris Singleton, Jan Vesely, Kevin Seraphin, Jordan Crawford

Storyline/s: Randy Wittman replaced Flip Saunders, with the Wiz setting up a good finishing kick to the season. That removed Randy's interim tag. They traded away malcontents and acquired character guys to surround Wall with, in spite of the Kentucky alum's injury that is to linger awhile.

X-Factor/s: Since John Wall will be unavailable to start the season, can either Jannero Pargo or AJ Price mitigate the expected drop-off? Can Emeka Okafor provide the maturity, stability and leadership that this team clearly lacked last season?

Prognosis: Missing the playoffs.

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